This is Chef Staples, where professional chefs dish on the gear they couldn’t cook without. This week: Chef Antoine Camin of La Goulue in New York City.
For over 30 years, La Goulue had brought high-end French bistro fare to the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan. In 2018, nearly a decade after shutting down because of lease problems, the restaurant opened back up in a new location within the same neighborhood, bringing in Antoine Camin as its executive chef. The choice was no surprise — Camin had earned the restaurant its Michelin stars back in 2006 and 2007.
The France-born chef spent his early years apprenticing at a restaurant in Burgundy before cooking in Paris restaurants, then finding his way to kitchens in Boston, ultimately landing in New York City in 2004. Chef Camin brings to La Goulue his own riffs on classic French dishes that don't stray too far from the source material. Current dishes on the menu include steak au poivre, or pepper steak, and moule frites, or mussels and French fries, cooked in a Thai-style sauce. Camin let us in on the five kitchen essentials he can't live without, and it includes a German chef's knife most home cooks will be familiar with and a combi oven that's more suited for restaurant kitchens than typical homes.
Wüsthof Classic 8’’ Chef’s Knife
"The brand of my knives tends to vary, but I really like the Wüsthof Classic 8-inch Chef’s Knife for my everyday knife. It has a wide, high-quality blade that is great for all-around kitchen use."
All-Clad Dual Kitchen Towel
"These towels quickly dry up my space, and keep me clean and organized. The soft cotton fibers pick up just about everything, which is exactly what every chef needs during rush hour!”
Winco TMT-P2 Pocket Thermometer
"As far as the thermometer goes, I can’t say I have a specific brand. My thermometer is around $2 but probably the most important item in my kitchen; it never lies. I always tell my guys to use a thermometer — beyond health codes, the thermometer tells you the doneness of your meat. No number of fancy knives could compensate for the lack of a thermometer."
Waring CB15 Commercial Food Blender
"I like to use this for fast and easy preparation; it’s a heavy-duty, powerful product, so I never have to worry if my ingredients are too much for the blender. Definitely a time-saver!”
Rational iCombi Pro 20
"The oven makes intelligent adjustments based upon load size and product-specific requirements, both of which help me ensure perfection. It’s also large enough to accommodate sheet pans, which I appreciate."