Invented by the Italian Silvio Pacitti in 1708, the mezzaluna (meaning “half-moon” in Italian, due to its curved blade) is a vintage time-saver that should be on everyone’s list of essential kitchen supplies. The shape of its blade ensures what it’s cutting doesn’t move; less resetting your herbs on the chopping board = time saved! Joseph Joseph’s version, sold in the Gousto Marketplace, handily folds away for easy storage.
A relatively modern addition to the world of cooking accessories, the salad spinner was popularised in the 1970s and is a much quicker alternative to hand drying salad leaves. The only downside – they’re bulky, so you’ll need the space to store them.
A stick blender, or hand blender, can be a real game changer for saving time on the more fiddly mixing chores, or when it’s just not worth the nightmare of washing the full-size food processor!
It can be really frustrating and fiddly to pick herbs, and if you’ve got other things cooking at the same time you can easily get flustered. If you’ve ever struggled with stripping the leaves of thyme quickly, a herb stripper is the cooking gadget for you.
OK so this might not really be a time saver, but they are seriously impressive professional chef tools and they allow you to make crème brûlées. They’re also a really unique kitchen gift if you’re ever unsure what to get a cookery-loving friend in need of kitchen supplies.
A Bench Scraper
There’s a reason bench scrapers made it into the list of tools in our kitchen starter kit. They’re certainly useful for baking-related tasks, like portioning dough, but they’re also great for moving piles of chopped vegetables from the board to your skillet or for cutting lasagna into perfect squares.
A Flexible Slotted Spatula
A flexible slotted spatula, a.k.a. fish spatula, is different from your run-of-the-mill spatula: It has a short handle and a sharp, offset metal flipper with large holes. Unlike thicker silicone spatulas, this flipper is specifically designed to easily slip under pieces of food without turning them to mush. This helps enormously if you’re trying to flip a piece of fish or chicken that has stuck to the pan a bit.
A Utility Knife
Of all the knives in a professional cook’s kit, this is probably not the one you expected to see on this list, but utility knives are an essential feature of any restaurant kitchen. Use them to open boxes, slice off a length of painter’s tape (more on that forthcoming!), cut parchment paper rounds, and even mince herbs or create fine dices for a truly professional-looking presentation.