“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:
Gordon Ramsay Cooking Hardware
Basics With Babish
My Preferred Equipment:
I like the Basics with Babish budget pick with the Wusthof Pro Chef’s knife around $45 (https://www.amazon.com/Wusthof-Pro-Cooks-Knife-8-Inch/dp/B008GRUNOC)
or even a little bit cheaper I chose the Victoronix Chef’s knife for about $30 (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000638D32/ref=twister_B07NQDY7GF?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1).
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.
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.
Babish recommends these (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009NELBHA/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_dp_T1_vTtvzbQ5Y2E4W)
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. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0179OY596/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_dp_T1_mEtvzb2E732Y3. 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.
I prefer wooden which requires a lot more care. My choice is the Boo’s Block wooden cutting board: https://www.amazon.com/John-Boos-Chop-N-Slice-15-Inch-Cutting/dp/B00063QBKY/ref=sxin_3_osp24-e47adcb3_cov?ascsubtag=e47adcb3-a699-4911-abf6-cae51f6dc5e3&creativeASIN=B00063QBFE&cv_ct_id=amzn1.osp.e47adcb3-a699-4911-abf6-cae51f6dc5e3&cv_ct_pg=search&cv_ct_wn=osp-search&keywords=boos%2Bblock&linkCode=oas&pd_rd_i=B00063QBFE&pd_rd_r=0191122d-6f0c-4c4b-a6a0-0ab560eb2308&pd_rd_w=rm1u8&pd_rd_wg=vT2DC&pf_rd_p=4ba5fbe3-1d1a-4339-9600-c9708eb9301d&pf_rd_r=ZSZRXKJBBWHBYD09XK9X&qid=1567434106&s=gateway&tag=atkamznsearch-20&th=1
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.