We can all agree that, besides the skills of the chef, industrial-grade kitchen equipment contributes to the quality of restaurant meals. If you love to cook, you may covet some of the gadgets that restaurants have at their disposal, but you may not have the means to buy them. An icemaker, for instance, means you’d always have a reliable supply of ice, which is great if you entertain a lot.
Because commercial kitchen appliances often translate to “better,” it’s not unusual to find them in well-equipped residential homes. However, some conventional kitchen appliances do the job so well that you wouldn’t replace them with any restaurant gadget. Sometimes simple is better, and the following appliances prove that.
#1. Food Processor
Although it can be a headache to clean, a food processor is an invaluable tool in the kitchen, especially if you spend a lot of time in there. Its function is similar to a blender, but it has more sophisticated parts that allow you to chop, mince, and shred, among other tasks. And, unlike a mixer, you don’t need to add water in order to process foods adequately. Choosing one with a powerful processor will give you the same results as industrial-grade mixers, grinders, and mashers that you’d find in restaurants. With a food processor, you get all these devices in one package.
Whether you’re grating Parmesan for beef and sausage meatloaf or just shredding a few carrots for soup, a food processor is more than capable. The secret is choosing the right one, which can be tricky because the market is filled with numerous options. If you want a processor that can meet restaurant standards, never settle for the cheap kind. Metal food processors are durable enough to serve your needs for a long while. To get the most out of this appliance, look for a wide feeding pipe and consider the number and size of the blades and accessories.
#2. Undercounter Ice Machine
Ice machines can be a valuable investment for large households or homeowners who entertain regularly, especially if their refrigerator’s inbuilt ice maker is too small to fulfill their needs. While restaurants rely on commercial ice machines that have large capacities and don’t need refilling, an undercounter ice maker is an excellent alternative for homeowners.
With this piece of equipment, you’ll always get your ice fast and easy, which saves time. An undercounter ice machine is a permanent installment, and it comes fully automated, which means it keeps running until it’s filled. Most of us use ice in our beverages on a daily basis, especially in the summer, so undercounter ice machines have become a popular appliance in many homes.
#3. Slow Cooker
A slow cooker can change the whole approach to the way you cook. You can try out all kinds of recipes with a slow cooker, which is perfect for a beginner in the culinary department. Until you get the precision and instinct of a seasoned chef, a slow cooker should keep you away from common mistakes. For example, heat control determines how your chicken turns out or how dry your stew gets, but a slow cooker can handle this aspect of cooking for you.
Over the years, slow cookers have evolved dramatically, and many now come complete with digital programming, giving you more options when it comes to heat control. Just a few years ago, slow cookers only came with the off, low, and high settings. Lots of restaurants have temperature-controlled pressure cookers and heavy Dutch ovens, but with a slow cooker you can achieve similar results.
Prolific cookbook author Mark Bittman calls the mandolin the kitchen workhorse. Even restaurant chefs with superb knife skills would find it hard to outmatch the results of a good mandolin. This versatile gadget can replace many of the slicers, knives, and spiralizers that restaurants invest in.
From slicing tomatoes for your soup to julienning vegetables for your salad, the mandolin does it all. It cuts evenly, allowing you to make perfectly sliced French fries and other dishes without too much hassle.
This is a sharp tool, so you’ll need to learn how to handle it to avoid kitchen accidents. When choosing a mandolin, consider its weight. You don’t want a slicer that tires you out in the middle of cooking. The design also matters. Go for a mandolin without many frills to avoid distractions. And don’t forget the sharpness of the blade and how well they change out. Finally, mandolins are built with hand guards, so check how roomy it is before you buy.
Using the right tool for the task is essential. That’s why the appropriate kitchen appliance is crucial. Commercial-grade equipment certainly has its appeal. It’s highly reliable and built to last. However, some standard kitchen appliances are just as good—and sometimes even better—than their modern restaurant counterparts.
Image from iStock/awiekupo.