Anna’s 5 must-have kitchen gadgets

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

When I'm cooking at home, these are the items I always have on hand. One of them I love so much, I've been known to take it with me on vacation!

If the video above doesn’t play on your
mobile device, view it directly on YouTube.

escali-scaleDigital Kitchen Scale



Immersion Blender



Double Mezzaluna Herb Chopper/Mincer

  • Easier and faster than a chef’s knife
  • Concave cutting board ensures a thorough mince
  • Available at Amazon.ca and Amazon.com



Mandoline Slicer

  • For the perfect slice every time
  • Interchangeable blades for multiple slice styles (julienne, grate, slice, etc.)
  • Dishwasher-safe
  • Read our slicer test
  • Available at Amazon.caAmazon.com



Large Skillet/Griddle Pan

  • For steak, bacon, vegetables
  • Great for large amounts
  • Grill marks, delicious flavour
  • Available at The Bay, Amazon.com



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  • mike simpson

    Ok , Here’s mine ….
    1 Chef’s Knife , Chops most things .

    2 Food processor , Chops even more things ! (Not to mention Purees)

    3 Cutting board , Yes to chop things on .
    4 Time , Not really a gadget but very important to and relative to how simple or how complicated is what you want to prepare .
    5 Anna and Kristina …. (May count as two And subject to availability…Heh )
    Because It’s supposed to be fun , (Insert stressful , Injury prone , Profanity laced , and pleasantly surprising no matter what !)

    Have Fun !

    • Anna Wallner

      My list made the assumption you’ve already got the basics, like a chef’s knife, and that you want to take your kitchen collection up a notch. But I agree with your list if you’re just starting out, especially #5!!! 🙂 A

  • Amy McGeachy

    Anna, where did you get those white, tufted accent chairs that are in the background. They are lovely!!

    • annaandkristina

      Hi Amy, Thanks! They’re from Liberty furniture store in Vancouver.
      – Anna

      • Amy McGeachy

        Hi Anna,
        The wingbacks were the ones that stood out to me. I would love to have the info on where they were manufactured. I can picture them fitting in nicely into a number of my client’s homes.
        Liberty is an awesome store as well. We had one only very briefly here in Victoria, but the Vancouver location does get visited frequently. Thank you so much for all of your assistance Anna! You are awesome and have such phenomenal taste!

    • annaandkristina

      Hi Amy, I just realized there are two kinds of white chairs in the background. If you mean the wingbacks, I got them made by a local manufacturer in Vancouver – copied from a picture in a magazine! If you want the manufacturer’s info, let me know and I’ll look it up.

  • Annie

    Missing the captions 🙁

    • annaandkristina

      Hi Annie, we’ll get someone on it asap!

      • Annie

        You’re the best!

  • Steve

    Hi Anna,
    Can you tell us about your ‘slab wood’ chopping board?

    • annaandkristina

      Hi Steve, I bought that at a market in Florence, Italy! But these sorts of chopping boards are widely available. Part of what I love about it is that it reminds me of a great trip to one of my favourite places. The next time you’re at a farmer’s or craft market, whether it be in your home town or not, keep your eye open. At Vancouver’s Granville Island Market, there is always a stand or two selling amazing wooden cutting boards, bowls, and spoons.

  • Eugen

    I definitely agree with the immersion blender. It’s an awesome thing to own.

    As I love to bake here are my five need to own gadgets.

    First up, a set of Silpats, which are the way to go if you’re doing a lot of pastry, bread, etc. You can use these to bake on at the top temperature in your oven without worry of fire, especially useful for breads requiring hot ovens. And, you can roll out pastry on them without fear it’ll stick. You can even let your doughs rise on them and place them right onto a cookie sheet and fire the whole thing into the oven. A definite time saver :-).

    Second, a proper, flexible, yet inexpensive dough scraper — you can get really good ones for a dollar at any decent restaurant supply store. You just can’t move a lot of dough around without one. This is not to be confused with a metal bench scraper. Those are OK for cleaning benches, but it’s the flexible, plastic ones that look like they came from the top of a yogurt container that are the best ones in my opinion. I keep 5 on hand.

    Also, I would definitely splurge on a very good mixer as #3. I used to love KitchenAid but after a horrible experience I’ve flipped over to a Bosch. Handles twice the dough and doesn’t labour.

    Fourth, small, stainless steel cups are also useful to measure out various ingredients for baking for your mise-en-place. That way you can have your yeast, salt, sugar, and any other small quantities in nice, small containers ready to dump into the mixer as needed.

    And as a baker I have to put in that you must, just must, own an excellent digital scale. Preferably one with a detachable display so you don’t have to deal with hidden displays courtesy of big mixing bowls. And it should handle at least 10kg.

    Of course, if I wasn’t allowed to duplicate any aspects of your list, Anna, then I’d throw in a proper, instant read thermometer which is a huge help if you’re not yet sure what a custard or curd looks like, what temperature your sugar is at, etc. I highly recommend Thermopen. It’s the best thermometer I’ve ever used and registers in a couple of seconds. And at the tip! Hugely useful and probably the one tool I use beyond baking and into savoury dishes.

    BTW, I do hope we’ll see more of you and Kristina in the near future. Not sure about others, but I’m going through a bit of withdrawal…

    • annaandkristina

      Thanks for sharing, Eugen! Very interesting selections. We’re fans of the thermopen too, and many of the other tools you mentioned!

      As for new episodes, we’re still waiting for a green light from OWN Canada to do more, but feel free to let them know you are waiting ownca.oprah.com/contact-Us.aspx. Also, we’ve got some exciting news coming up soon. Can’t say much yet, but stay tuned for a newsletter announcement!

  • LLB

    I’d like to know which of these you take on vacation with you! 🙂

  • Joseph Campesino

    Anna, It always brings a smile to my face whenever I watch you separate eggs. Drives me *nuts* too…So, here’s a little kitchen trick that your going to love.
    Crack a few eggs into a bowl. Take an empty pint~size plastic water bottle and give it a gentle squeeze. Hold the mouth of the bottle over a yoke and release your grip. As air gets drawn back up into the bottle, it takes the yoke with it and leaves the whites behind. Place the bottle over another bowl and gently squeeze. The yoke retains its shape and is now free of all egg white.