FI Cooking School: Equipment on a Budget

“Mise En Place”
Everything in its place

Before learning the basics, you need the tools in place and to prepare your ingredients for cooking. Here is a quick guide for your mise en place to become a great home cook and use this philosophy for your FI future.

Now I can’t promise to turn you into a professional chef, or even an amateur chef, but with my previous post on learning the basics, and this tool guide, I can give you a start on cooking meals that you enjoy and cost a significant amount less than fancy (or even mediocre) restaurants.

My Favorite Resources

Here are the 3 main resources I use when looking for quality cookware on a budget.

America’s Test Kitchen: Equipment Reviews

Gordon Ramsay Cooking Hardware 7 mins

Basics With Babish

My Preferred Equipment:

Chef’s Knife:

I like the Basics with Babish budget pick with the Wusthof Pro Chef’s knife around $45 (
 or even a little bit cheaper I chose the Victoronix Chef’s knife for about $30 (
The knife should be comfortable in your hand. Gordon Ramsay also recommends 2 other types of knives, serrated and pairing knives. Both of these knives can be found in high quality brands for less than $10 each. The chef’s knife is most important as it the tool used most.

Stainless Steel Pots & Pants:

On a budget, Babish recommends Tramontina brand 18/10 grade stainless steel at about $60/pan. I’ve found the Cooks Standard brand (also available at Costco as well as Amazon) for a little bit cheaper at about $40 per pan. I recommend going piecemeal as Gordon Ramsay says all you need is 2 or 3 good pots and pans that will last a lifetime. With Stainless Steel I prefer shopping Amazon for a bigger selection, but the TJX companies also carry high-quality stainless-steel cookware at competitive pricing. They also carry some higher -end and more expensive stainless-steel cookware depending on the store.

Cast Iron:

I LOVE cast iron for burgers and steak. Lodge is a recommended name in cast iron, and I found a 10.25-inch skillet by Lodge for about $12.99. There are a few brands cheaper but cast iron will last a lifetime if you maintain in properly. Homegoods, TJ Maxx, & Mashalls (TJX companies) generally have quality non-stick and cast-iron pans.

Baking Sheets

Babish recommends these (
 baking sheets but someone was nice enough to post a review that these were available at bed bath and beyond for $9.99. Sign up for the bed bath and beyond email list and get 20% off. They also have high quality cookware but sometimes their prices are a bit higher than elsewhere. Make sure you always have a 20% off coupon with you.

Metal Mixing Bowls

These are recommended by Babish, and I don’t have any complaints. Some might think they are a bit filmsy, but I’ve found as long as I don’t push too hard on the bottom when I clean them they seem fine. At $12 they don’t break the bank too much.

Cutting Boards

I prefer wooden which requires a lot more care. My choice is the Boo’s Block wooden cutting board:
The plastic cutting board recommend by Babish from OXO runs about $15 and allows a large surface to work on. Make sure your cutting board surface is big enough for your prep work.