Eli Kirshtein

Eli Kirshtein explains why the week's Quickfire Challenge was so difficult.

on Dec 23, 2010

Chefs hold their tools sacred. They are as personal as any possession can be for a cook. Oftentimes chefs will find their tools as a true comfort zone, an old friend that they can rely on and trust. The most praised and loved are knives. Ranging in sizes from small little paring knives to full-on cleavers and slicers, chefs spend years purchasing, collecting, refining and choosing their favorites.  ou can spend a small fortune trying to find the right blades; some of them cost a small fortune on their own. There are many other tools that are essential and are personal from chef to chef, a favorite spoon comes to mind for myself. This fact is so well known that during the filming process of the show, the producers never let the chefs' toolkits out of their sight. They stay with you constantly during all traveling and challenges. There doesn’t ever want to be a conversation about tools being tampered with.

Many kitchens are stocked fairly well with all kinds of tools: spatulas, ladles, graters, can openers, all kinds of fundamental tools for very basic tasks. While some chefs do have personal iterations of all of these tools, they are commonplace in most professional kitchens. Removing these from the equation can really take a chef out of their comfort zone and make it much more dynamic. These can be things that are really taken for granted for many cooks.

Taking all equipment, never mind just personal tools, can be daunting. Fundamentals of cooking, cleanliness, organization, and refinement all hinge on the use of tools. It take a creative thought process to re-invision a chef’s cooking style and technique enough to summit this task. But as the old saying goes:“It’s not the wand, it’s the magician.”