This is Chef’s Staples, where professional chefs dish on the gear they couldn’t cook without. This week: Chef Danielle Chang of the PBS Series Lucky Chow.
Television host, cookbook author and brand founder, Danielle Chang has a lot on her plate. Chang’s PBS series “Lucky Chow,” explores Asia’s influences on American food culture, and its fourth season premieres in early May. Her company, LUCKYRICE, a lifestyle brand that organizes food and drink festivals across North America, spawned a cookbook of the same name. Lucky Rice: Stories and Recipes from Night Markets, Feasts, and Family Tables was lauded by chefs like Daniel Boulud and Jean-Georges Vongerichten for its spicy recipes and colorful stories. From an Instant Pot to a cult-favorite whiskey ice maker, here’s what she can’t cook without.
Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer
“I’m late to the Instant Pot revolution, but this pressure cooker seriously changed my life. I am now able to make comforting, soothing slow-braised favorites — like the Taiwanese beef noodle soups that I grew up with or fragrant chicken broths laced with traditional Chinese medicinal herbs for when my daughters are under the weather — all in a fraction of the time needed. I feel like the Instant Pot ups my game as a cook because the technology results in super tender braised meats and vegetables that are never dried out or over-cooked.
I didn’t think my Instant Pot could get better but I was just gifted with their latest model, the Instant Pot Duo Crisp and Air Fryer, which has 11 functions. With the addition of the Air Fryer lid, I can use it to quickly air fry, roast, bake, broil and dehydrate. My favorite snacks to make are Japanese fried chicken karaage, which I deep-fry with a coating of rice flour for a crunchy but light batter. My next project is to dehydrate any overripe and soon-to-spoil fruit. This gadget really helps me to save time and food. There’s virtually no wastage in my kitchen.”
The Nue Co. Functional Fragrance
“I believe the kitchen should always smell delicious, especially when there’s nothing aromatic cooking. This functional fragrance is designed to help relieve stress (and the kitchen can be a stressful place). This unisex fragrance was designed with the idea that there is a connection between cognitive function and the olfactory system. I love that this fragrance contains some of my favorite herbs like green cardamom and cilantro. Cooking is a form of meditation for me and this spicy, smoky and clean scent puts me in the right mood to fully optimize my cherished time in the kitchen. Hint: it also cleans the kitchen of unwanted smells like chopped chives or after a kimchi-making session.”
Corkcicle Whiskey Wedge
“I enjoy a simple cocktail when I’m cooking because spending time in the kitchen is always about joy. I love to cook with friends and family, whether they’re sitting at my kitchen counter and drinking with me or actually helping me with prep. Lately, I’ve been really into drinking ice cold Remy Martin XO cognac. The cognac pairs really well with food and clears my palate before tastings. I keep my bottle of the cognac in the freezer, and pour a beautiful shot over this gorgeous wedge ice maker and glass. This elegant way of serving icy cold beverages applies just as well to iced coffee or frozen lemonade. I like to freeze coffee in the ice compartment and add milk to make an architecturally stunning glass of iced coffee. The shape of this ice cube is a step beyond all the fancy artisanal Japanese ice molds out there.”
Hedley & Bennett Pho Apron
“I adore this line of denim aprons, especially since it’s endearingly named after one of my favorite comfort foods, pho (which I make a mean version of in my Instant Pot). I bought them by the hundreds and had our LUCKYRICE Happy Bowl logo embossed on them for our participating chefs to wear at festivals (and, hopefully, in their own kitchens). Hedley & Bennett has upped the “cook and look good” mantra by adding some fashion and fun to the chef-wear game.”
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