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If there's anyone you should take cooking advice from, it's Chopped winner Chef Steve Benjamin. After his win on the famous Food Network show, the acclaimed chef opened up his own restaurant, Espelette at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, where he fuses Mediterranean flavors with European influences. Needless to say, Chef Steve knows his stuff. Now, he's dishing out cooking tips and kitchen essentials that will make you feel like you run your very own Michelin Star restaurant.
One thing he attributes his Chopped win to? Organization. "I recommend thinking big picture before you start cooking, envisioning each step in your head, and process each material and each ingredient," he says. "This is half of the job and with a clear head and goal in mind, you can better succeed in a timely manner." Not to mention organization makes clean up much quicker and "is the key to have a really nice result in any kitchen," says Chef Steve.
If you're just starting out, Chef Steve has some advice. "For a new chef, I recommend always working with the proper tools," he says, like sharp knives, lots of different spatulas, and of course, a sanitized towel to wipe down your workspace. But like all of us, Chef Steve loves a good deal, which is why he recommends waiting for a hot sale to buy top-quality pots and pans from brands like Le Creuset, Staub or Tefal.
Kitchens are about so much more than stocking it up with tools for cooking, says Chef Steve. "There is always action in the kitchen," he tells us. "The kitchen is where everyone comes together, both our family and friends and I say it is where all the magic happens in our home."
From must-have kitchen gadgets to tools that will help you cook like a Chopped winner, keep reading to shop Chef Steve Benjamin's top kitchen essentials whether you're an expert or a novice.
Musubi Kiln Japanese Chopsticks
"I am very intrigued by the Japanese culture. Chopsticks enable a different set of kitchen skills and I find them very interesting. They look very elegant to me."
Japanese Kitchen Canister Stainless Steel Condiment Containers
"Kitchen organization is very important. I ensure my workspace is organized and set up every time before I start, with these Japanese containers. The various sizes are beneficial and the containers themselves are aesthetically sleek and clean looking."
Staub Cast Iron Dutch Oven
"My culture and family rely heavily on this cast iron [pot] to perfect our cooking. I still have one from my grandmother and my mother and still cooks with it). The diffusion of the heat (for searing, steaming, boiling, etc) with this material is the best of the best."
Garnier-Thiebaut Poivrieres Noir French Jacquard Kitchen Towel
"Towels are indispensable in the kitchen, and I use many towels for distinct purposes, such as to carry a hot pot, cleaning surfaces and wiping dishes, and more. My favorite brand to use is Garnier Thiebaut, as it reminds me where I came from."
"The Thermomix is becoming increasingly popular and used more and more in kitchens, as it is efficient and easy to use. It helps to achieve emulsion (cold or hot)."