Tom Kerridge’s nine key pieces of kitchen kit

Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge shares his tips for investment gadgets to take you from amateur home cook to budding professional chef.

Tom Kerridge’s nine key pieces of kitchen kit

Chefs like Tom Kerridge often have a lot of expensive kit in their arsenal, but beyond the professional kitchen, budget and space restraints mean we can’t buy every last gadget and gizmo.  So what should you be investing in? We asked Tom to share the first nine things every budding chef should buy.

Tom Kerridge’s favourite nine pieces of kitchen kit…

1. Digital probe

Digital probeA digital probe is used for gauging the internal temperature of meat and is important for checking when food is cooked. A probe is great for testing meats like rare beef, roast chicken or sausages on a barbecue. But it’s also good for foods like custard tarts – anything where you need an exact temperature. You don’t necessarily need to spend lots of money, you just need one that you’re going to keep clean, neat and tidy. Always sanitise it – you don’t want to be sticking it into raw meat then into an egg custard tart!’s top five meat thermometers

2. Good knives

Spend money on these. Go for nice knives you can keep sharp easily. Professional chefs have lots of different kinds of knives, but as a home cook I’d say you need one cook's knife, one small paring knife, a serrated knife and a slightly flexible filleting knife you can use for both meat and fish. I’d probably spend between £200 and £250 on four very nice knives as they’ll last you a lifetime.

Read our product reviews of cook’s knives and paring knives, plus our buyer's guide to choosing and using knives.

3. Highly conductive pans

PansI’d invest in these as they help to cook things evenly – they absorb heat very quickly and distribute it throughout the pan. We’re talking pans across the board, from frying pans to saucepans, and although they’re expensive, they’re worth it. These types of pans are useful whether you’re cooking on induction, electric, halogen or gas, and as soon as the pan reaches the correct heat you don’t need to raise the temperature any higher, meaning in the long term you might even save money on bills!

4. A fine sieve

Go for an extra fine sieve for making sauces and purées. It’ll help when you're making anything where you need to push out any bits – the process makes liquids smoother, crisper and clearer. In terms of washing sieves, I’d push it upside down so you’re pushing everything back through it, plus use cold water first as hot water actually cooks any solids onto the sieve.

5. Good sturdy baking trays

Baking sheetsGo for metal baking trays of a high quality – some versions you put into the oven and they warp and buckle, and while that’s fine if you’re making cheap oven chips, it’s no good for baking biscuits and such. A lot of domestic trays can be quite flimsy, so it takes a bit of hunting.

Read our review of baking trays by Great British Bake Off finalist Kimberley Wilson

6. A good fridge

Buy the biggest fridge you can get and don’t consider it a fashion statement or status symbol. The reason you want a big fridge is for aeration – if you pack everything into a small fridge, the shelf life will be less as the air circulation doesn’t work as well. A big fridge with less stuff in will mean everything in it will last longer.

7. A good chopping board

Chopping boardWood always looks good aesthetically, and you want a board that's nice and thick and also big enough so you can chop lots of things at the same time. A thin, tiny plastic board isn’t that great to use.

8. A food processor

Food processors come with so many attachments now, but make sure you spend a bit of money on one from a reputable company. It’ll last longer.  

9. Flavour-enhancing oils

They aren't necessary gadgets, but flavour-enhancing oils are a good investment. There are currently some great products on the market – a lot of flavour-enhancing natural oils that have traditionally been used in commercial kitchens can now be found in supermarkets. They add a lot of flavour but they’re totally natural.

More from Tom's series... 

10 steps to being a better cook

Do you agree with Tom’s choices? What was the first piece of kitchen equipment you bought?

Comments, questions and tips

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Rosemary H
12th Jul, 2017
I totally agree with Tom about good quality knives. I still use the ones I had when I worked as a chef in the 1980s. Five years ago I decided to replace my very old mixer but wondered if I'd get more use out of a food processor. In the end I bought both and wouldn't be without them. The mixer is great for mixing bread dough (I no longer have sufficient strength in my hands to knead by hand due to arthritis) and cake batter and the processor is great for too many things to list. I invested in an expensive make because I knew I wouldn't be buying another in my lifetime. Absolutely no regrets there. I wouldn't need the probe because I'm vegetarian so I'd probably go for a jam thermometer instead.
17th Jul, 2016
Knives.. 200 squid? LOL!!! no way. I get by with a couple of 20 squid chef knifves , classic and a santuko and a couple of 5 squid serrated tomato knives, oh and a 5 squid flexible boning knife. Ask yourself... your mum churned out lovely meals........without a chefs knife in sight. or if there was did not cost 200. I would add a good grater, having said that..a .tk maxspecial ...9 squid. a la microplane style :-)
6th Feb, 2015
I would add a food dehyrdator, not so essential during winter months but a boon during the garden/allotment productive months during the rest of the year. Easy to dry herbs, to produce fruit and veg chips and fruit leathers. It's rarely back in it's cupboard and a gift for gluts or taking advantage of store 'whoopsies'.
31st Jan, 2015
I would add a pestle and mortar. Spices are expensive; whole spices keep better and for longer than ground ones. So I buy whole spices and grind them myself. It takes no time at all and the result is considerably nicer than using tired ground spices.
28th Jan, 2015
The one thing I would add is my breadmaker. I am on my second one. We have fresh bread nearly everyday.
28th Jan, 2015
Two things I'd have to add to this. I got a National brand Rice Cooker in KL and it's one of the most used bits of kit in my kitchen. Goes well alongside the other kit I couldn't do without; a really well seasoned round bottomed wok (I've got a couple). Not flash, picked em up pretty cheaply in Chinatown 15 years ago. Use them all the time.
25th Dec, 2016
Bought my partner set of Wusthof knives for Christmas. Was in the middle of preparing the Tom Kerridge stuffing bomb and has already lost two finger tips!!! Any recommendations for cut resistant gloves.
goodfoodteam's picture
29th Dec, 2016
Sorry to hear that. The best way to avoid slicing the tips of fingers is to form the fingers into a claw, tucking the tips off the fingers in. Take a look at our knife skills video to see how.
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