These are the tools that, for me, make a real difference in the kitchen. I use them every day, helping me make tastier food quicker and easier! We will chat more about your personal kitchen essentials during your Kitchen Cleanse consultation.

Everyday knives

At home I have three knives that I use daily, a 20 cm chef’s knife, a bread knife and a small vegetable knife. I would imagine this is a good start. Like shoes, knives are a personal choice and you should never buy any knife without holding it in your hands, as the weight of the knife is very important. There is nothing wrong with cheap knives (they are light and sharp), but just like a cheap pair of shoes, they will need regular replacing. But when you invest in a reputable knife brand, it’s a long term investment. A blunt knife is of no use in the kitchen so I suggest you also invest in a trusty knife sharpener to keep your knives sharp.

Oven thermometer

I can say with confidence that there is hardly any oven on earth that is exactly on temperature! While at chefs school, to improve our skills with different ovens, we were not allowed to use thermometers. For this reason we constantly fought over who gets to bake their cakes in the moderate ones. There is the world of difference between a 1600C, 1800C, 2000C and 2200C oven? Having an oven that is either 20oC warmer or cooler can get you into real trouble. So why guess? I travel with my own oven thermometer! They are cheap and for me an absolute no brainer. Get one, it will change the way you cook forever.

Organic kitchen indispensables

Speed peeler, salad spinner and vegetable brush. Organic fruit and vegetables fresh from the harvest needs a good wash, scrub and peel. A good quality U-shape speed peeler is cheap and a godsend in the kitchen, whether you are peeling veg, shaving Parmesan or finely slicing fennel or asparagus. A good salad spinner is a really important in the kitchen. I use the bowl to wash all my fruit and veg making it possible to recycle the water into my garden. You need to make sure washed herbs and leaves are really dry before storing them – it avoids spoilage, So get spinning!. A good sturdy vegetable brush not only washes dirty roots super quick but the hard bristles will scrub away the first layer which means you don’t have to peel those potatoes or carrots!

Cutting boards

Cutting boards are an everyday essential and I have a few in different shapes and sizes. I would recommend one large heavy wooden board preferably with an edge, a medium light wooden board and a slightly less glamorous red plastic board to cut raw meat on. All professional kitchens use a red board, and if you think about it, why in the world would you cut meat and bread on the same surface?


If I had to choose my favourite kitchen utensil, it would be a spatula. It must have a broad flat flexible silicone top easy for scraping and spreading. Not only is it much easier than using a spoon (you get more out of bowls and containers) but I love the why it glides over surfaces and pics up every last drop. You can use it for anything, but it’s especially useful for scraping and spreading pestos, cake batter, hummus, dips, ice cream, creams, spreads etc (the list goes on for ever).


A microplane is a small handheld grater and I am happy to see the prices have come down a bit. I have them in every shape and size but you only really need one. They are perfect for making curries and salad dressings and are available in most online kitchen shops. The one I use is from Yuppiechef.

Perfect for all your fine grating requirements:

  • garlic
  • ginger
  • citrus
  • hard cheeses
  • chocolate
  • nutmeg

Pestle and mortar

There is a reason that a pestle and mortar has been used for centuries in most cultures around the world. It’s indispensable and I use it daily.

Best for

  • mincing garlic
  • grinding spices
  • grinding herbs
  • making the best pesto

Not all pestle and mortars are made equal. What we are looking for is a large and heavy STONE or GRANITE version with a rough and unpolished interior. The best one in my kitchen is the one which I bought from Woolworths.

TOP TIP: when buying on, give the interior a good rub and scratch. If pieces of black stone come off walk away, black pesto is never a good look.

Lifters and tongs

I use small lifters in my kitchen and have a few wooden ones (slotted and solid) which are inexpensive and versatile as I stir with them too. They look great, are good for any pan or pot surface but don’t put them in the dishwasher. Tongs give you better control when you are grilling veg and meat, great for picking up any hot things and for serving food. Tongs, like knives, like shoes are personal, I find hard to grip tongs frustrating and dangerous in the kitchen, so try them before you buy them.

Wooden spoons

Great, cheap, pretty but wash them by hand. I have a variety of slotted and solid spoons with long handles, thin handles and more sturdy handles.

TOP TIP: I have one especially for curries (easy to spot the yellow turmeric stained one) and another for sweet stuff.

Proper pepper grinder

Pepper grinders are easily overlooked but so important. What we are looking for is a grinder that grinds whole peppercorns finely. There is nothing more unpleasant than biting on a whole peppercorn. This is a difficult one to test though and I think one will have to grind your way through a few. My favourite pepper grider is from Woolworths.

Mixing bowls

Nested mixing bowls can range from cheap and easy to wash metal ones, to Pyrex glass or fancy porcelain. You will use them all the time for mixing, cooking, baking, marinating and storing – if you buy those with lids. They are even more useful if you can find bowls with handy measurements inside the surface. So, you can really “go to town” and get a selection.

Food processor

I love my food processor and it is any busy cook’s best friend. I know it’s expensive but think of it as another pair of hands that helps with chopping, grating, mixing and pureeing. It is single handily the best investment I have made in my kitchen.

Large pot

A large, heavy based bottomed cooking pot is really a must-have. It is good for batch cooking, dinner parties, curries, stews and I even bake bread in mine. We are talking fairly large here, ideally a 28cm pot that has a 6-litre capacity.

Frying pans

The best frying pans have a good non-stick coating, a nice thick bottom and an ovenproof handle. I have one non stick and one cast iron pan in my kitchen which I reserve for high temperatures. When selecting a non stick pan, look for PFOA free.