We all have an item in our kitchens that we hold dear to our hearts. This fall, we asked around GP and discovered what these items are for members of the GP family as well as the wonderful stories that go along with them.
Mark Russell, Chef de Cuisine
Both archaic and modern, my all purpose mortar and pestle takes pride of place on my kitchen counter.
Growing up in the food industry as a young man, I collected every electric machine in the market designed to speed preparation. Cuisinarts, hobarts, kitchen aids, robot coupes. Over the years, I’ve had them all.
In 1997 when I moved to New York, from Southern Oregon, I brought what I thought would be the true essential gadgets and machines I would need to cook at home.
Then I discovered the “New York City Home Kitchen.” My first NYC kitchen: a narrow hallway in a tenement remodel from the last century. A fridge in the entry way, an oven in what was once a closet, no ventilation without leaving the front door open. And no counter, cupboard or drawer whatsoever.
Out went the gadgets, the machines, my enormous citrus juicer, and the vintage toaster. In came the base elements.
A good sharp knife, a small heavy pot, a well seasoned saute pan, and my mortar and pestle.
With the mortar and pestle, I can grind spices and purée shallots and garlic. With a bit of salt, a black pepper corn, a clove of garlic, a dollop of mustard, I've got a vinaigrette.
I can pulverize black peppercorns into a bright aromatic floral powder, no acrid stale sharp notes. Garlic is worked into sweet earthy cream by emulsifying with oil and vinegar. A tough late season garlic scape, woody fibers and all, pounded a few times, yields a pungent, complex smooth pulp.
After the meal (eaten on the sofa, no room for a table), a quick rinse, back on top of the fridge, just two bits and no cord to wrap up, went my mortar and pestle, no cupboard space needed.
Katherine Mok, Marketing and PR Manager
favorite kitchen item is the beautiful emerald green Staub Cocotte. It
pounds and retains heat like a dream. It is definitely one of the most
versatile and essential pieces I own, and can go straight from the stove
to the table. I cook everything in it from braises to
pastas to soups to desserts. It was
given to me as a gift from a loved one and I cherish it everyday.
Anthony Fassio, Executive Vice President
The most important tool is a knife. This answer is a bit boring, but without one, good – sharp – knife you are useless in the kitchen. I particularly like Global Knives because they are light weight and I prefer the Japanese edge – I find it finer and easier with which to navigate delicate ingredients like vegetables.
…another item is the pot scraper I have. It is a life saver for those times when you just cannot get the bottom of the pan clean.
Liz Neumark, CEO
For all you serial canners, you recognize this most important little piece of equipment! That amazing magnetic wand that takes the sterilized lid from a pot of boiling water and places it onto the hot jar. What did our foremothers do without it?
Of all the paraphernalia I have for pickling and jamming – the pots, racks, jars, ladles, funnels, etc – this little stick is my favorite because it is simple, brilliant, and 100% reliable.
Linda Abbey, Vice President - Director of Sales
My dad, George, used to spend hours in the kitchen, cooking and baking for family and friends. His signature dishes included Veal Goulash, Chicken Curry, Banana Muffins and a Tiramisu that is yet to be beat. When he died, I claimed many of his “tools,” including a mini All-Clad pot that is ideal for melting butter or sautéing a few cloves of garlic. Dad is with me with every swirl of my spoon and especially when I use his trusty pot.
Carly Katz-Hackman, Event Director
My favorite kitchen item is my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. When I was 16, I went to my first ever bridal shower and I saw the bride open a Kitchen Aid. I became obsessed with getting one myself, as I loved (and still love) to bake, and the bride’s mother promised that she’d get me one for my bridal shower one day. It became a running joke and I never got one for myself, as I wanted to wait until I could get it as a gift from this great family friend. Fast forward 11 years and it’s my turn to have a bridal shower. I registered for the mixer in boysenberry, and anxiously waited to open it on the big day. Before the event even started, this friend came up to me very peeved that someone else had purchased the Kitchenaid out from under her! Turns out that my Mother-In-Law was behind it, so she couldn’t be too upset, but needless to say, our joke has changed a bit since then.
I use it constantly for home-made pizza dough, but my favorite is my mom’s Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Banana Bread!
Ronnie Davis, Managing Director
This is the Le Creuset 15.5 quart Cast Iron “Dutch” Oven, and it is the single greatest pan I have ever used to make brisket, turkey, and prime rib. It cooks slowly and evenly, which is the secret for any of the aforementioned main dishes. Most people use modern “fast recipes." However, being old school myself, there is nothing like slow cooking and low heat to insure that the Prime Rib is tender, that the turkey is moist, and that the brisket is better than Liz’s.
Tim Sullivan, Executive Chef of Venues
I have many useful favorite pieces of equipment in my kitchen. Some play bigger roles depending on the seasons. With it starting to feel like fall, I love using my roasting pan. Slow and low allowing the aromas to fill my home. This happens to be Roaming Acres Farm slow roasted pork with whipped potatoes, broccoli, and beet horseradish.
Mark Grieco, Production Chef
One of my favorite kitchen tools is a food mill. A simple old fashion kitchen standby. The best ones are all stainless steel and are made in France.
I like to use this tool at the end of summer and mill the large harvest of tomatoes from my home garden. The tomatoes will be used for sauces, soups, salsas, and purées. Late September to early October, a trip to an Apple Orchid will put my food mill back in use to make apple sauce and to mill pumpkin and squash to create wonderful autumn dishes.
My favorite dish that I make with this tool is called The Triple Carb. Served from the time I was a kid, we made it during the cooler months or as a pregame meal the night before a big game. Simple ingredients: pastina pasta, potato, carrot, olive oil or butter, salt, and pepper. Cook potatoes and carrots. When fork tender, run through the mill. Fold this mixture with the cooked pastina pasta. Mix olive oil or butter into the mixture, add salt and pepper, and top with some parmigiano-reggiano.
Cynthia Yang, Event Director
My favorite kitchen item has always been a good sense of humor – and even better if you have someone with whom you can share the laughs.