Whether you love or loathe cooking at home, here’s a list of 5 must have tools on recommendation from our resident chef, Nena Foster, for kitting out your plant-focused kitchen and that will help you cook like a pro at home!
Whether you’re into smoothies, perfectly smooth soups, want to make super-creamy hummus or glossy chocolate ganache, a high powered blender should top your list as a kitchen gadget must. Blenders range from the affordable (NutriBullet or Ninja Kitchen) to the luxury (Vitamix), so consider how much you will use it and where you’ll store it, before purchasing. If your heart it set on a Vitamix, have a look at and compare the features and cost with that of the Optimum Blenders, which report to deliver the same results at a fraction of the price. And remember, while a 'self-cleaning' feature makes the jug easier to wash, you’ll still need to get your hands dirty. Be sure to take note of the blade care instructions, as many aren’t dishwasher safe and also incredibly sharp.
We usually take the no-peel approach when it comes to veg, as we see the added fiber from the skins (after a good wash) as a bonus. But if you need or want to peel, invest in a speed peeler (the Y-shaped ones), as it will, as the name suggests, have skins off in seconds with ease and without hacking off too much flesh. These are also great for making vegetable ribbons and shaving softer veg, like fennel. Both OXO and Kuhn make great ones, so great that professionals and non-professionals alike rave about them. Westmark also make a good, heard wearing peeler that comes with a lengthy warranty. Looking after your peelers often means hand-washing to keep the blade sharp and rust-free, despite the care instructions, but a good rinse and dry is all you need.
These often come with a considerable price tag and lots of extra kit, which can be daunting. But once you get use to how it all works, you won’t look back. They are perfect for making pesto (better than a blender in our opinion as you get the right amount of texture) or whipping up pastry in minutes. And, if you’ve ever had to grate beetroot by hand you’ll know why the food processor was invented. Again, before buying, consider where you’ll store it and what bowl capacity you’ll need. We’ve used and heard good things about Sage, MagiMix and KitchenAid processors, but be sure to always do a bit of your own research first.
While many of us dream of 1) owning a kitchen big enough to house and 2) money to afford the price take of a fancy stand mixer, a good quality, multi-speed hand mixer does the job of mixing cakes, whipping mereguines (aquafaba ones too), homemade mayo and whatever else needs high speed whisking. They are also easy to clean and easy to store. Prices vary, but still a hand-held is a much cheaper alternative and gets the job done. Bosch, Kenwood and Kitchenaid are all brands we've used and trust.
A good chef knife is super sharp and often has what many consider a distressingly large blade. But fear not, a sharp knife is much better than a dull knife (for your veg and your fingers) and a bigger blade means you can make faster work of your veg prep. A chef’s knife (its proper name) is a good all-rounder and a must in a plant-based kitchen. It is important to find one with both a handle/grip and weight that feels comfortable for you. Always try out a knife before buying it. Japanese knives are renowned as some of the best, but it doesn’t have to be Japanese-made to be great quality. Check out places like Kitchen Provisions, Soho Knife Shop, Borough Kitchen and Cook Shop, Japanese Knife Company or Nisbets - all places where you can try before you buy. If you’re a sucker for both aesthetics and function, take a look at London-based producer, Blenheim Forge.