This is Chef’s Staples, where professional chefs dish on the gear they couldn’t cook without. This week: Chef Gene Kato of Momotaro in Chicago, IL.
Gene Kato, the executive chef of the critically acclaimed Japanese restaurant Momotaro in Chicago, really likes Japanese cooking tools. The James Beard award-nominated chef’s essentials are Japanese in nature and are apt additions to any kitchen of varying cooking styles. From a sashimi knife to a digital cooking scale, here are the essentials Chef Kato can’t live without.
Yanagi Sashimi Knife
“One of the most important things for a Japanese chef is a great sashimi knife. It’s super sharp and a critical tool for cutting and breaking down fish. I use Yanagi.”
Tanita Digital Kitchen Scale
“Last but not least, a scale. Consistency is key to the success of a kitchen. Measuring along the way and balancing the scale before you start to make sure that you’re not including the bowl or vessel is very important. I can’t cook every single dish each night, so the scale helps to make sure that my staff is cooking the dishes exactly as intended, each and every time.”
What Does It Feel Like to Wield a $1,600 Kitchen Knife?
King Medium Grain Sharpening Stone
“A sharpening stone is a must to get that sharper edge on knives, especially Japanese knives which have flexible, very thin blades, needed for slicing delicate fish. I sharpen my knives once a week and I change the whetstone every two weeks.”
Moribashi Wooden Handle Plating Chopsticks
“I use chopsticks every day at Momotaro — refined chefs in kitchens around the world use tweezers, but chopsticks are the original tweezer. I use them for plating, garnishing and turning items on the robata (it’s a much more delicate tool than cooking tongs).”
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.