This is Chef’s Staples, where professional chefs dish on the gear they couldn’t cook without. This week: Chef Ayesha Nurdjaja of Shuka in New York, NY.
Contrary to popular belief, the gear most chefs use isn’t anything fancy. In fact, it’s usually the opposite of fancy — more chefs opt for affordable gear that gets the job done than material luxuries. Ayesha Nurdjaja is part of this camp. The Italian-Indonesian executive chef of New York City Eastern Mediterranean restaurant Shuka, Nurdjaja’s kitchen essentials are, save one splurge, all around $30 or less. From the perfect paring knife to pencils designed to write on metal, these are the things Chef Ayesha Nurdjaja couldn’t live without.
Victorinox Serrated Paring Knife
“This small knife is a powerhouse. It can cut through artichokes and cherry tomatoes, comes in fun colors and is a nice and inexpensive gift to give to any chef.”
Sharpie Peel-Off Marker
“These pencils are my main expediting and labeling tool. With no stress sharpening, I am always using it to mark tickets or jot down a quick note.”
Oxo 5-Pound Food Scale
“I am a recipe-driven chef. At Shuka, when we make a new dish the first thing we do is write a recipe and weigh the ingredients so we can ensure consistency. These small scales are easy to wipe down, keep accurate measure and help me cost out my dishes with ease.”
F. Dick 10-Inch Honing Steel
“This steel does a great job keeping sharp knives honed. Whether I am slicing raw fish or portioning lamb, this steel is a gem. I have had mine for over 8 years and it has been a great addition to my knife kit.”
Le Creuset 9-Quart Dutch Oven
“This was the first (and maybe only) expensive pot I treated myself to after graduating culinary school. I treat it with such tender love and care; it’s the Ferrari of kitchen equipment. It is so easy to use this pot to make soups and stews, braise meats or create any one-pot wonder meals. It is super durable, retains great heat and is sharp looking.”
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