So I recently read an article in the New York Times praising the commercial sheet pan for its humble and rugged features. I had to laugh because it’s true. If you visit the home of a professional cook/chef you will see their kitchen riddled with items you would only find in a commercial kitchen. Now, over the years I have collected quite a few kitchen wares from here and there. I spoon from this restaurant and sizzle pan from that one. I am by no means advocating stealing, but hey I was young, dumb, and making 8 dollars an hour. My kitchen is literally filled with professional grade equipment (including some that I bought with my hard earned money) like my Vita-Prep blender, Robot Coupe food processor, Poly Science Circulator and my Waring immersion blender, and the list goes on.
I love my kitchen toys and “souvenirs”, and hate cooking without them. Much crappier more expensive versions are available at home stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond, William Sonoma, and Sur la Table. Not that I’m picking on those guys, but there is a reason why restaurants use the professional grade stuff. Plain and simple the commercial stuff is designed for daily abuse. I know some people love how “cute” Suzy homemaker kitchen gizmos and gadgets are. Obviously professional grade equipment doesn’t come in a variety of colors with silicon daisies attached to it, but who gives a shit. Again function before form here people. So I have compiled a list of items you should absolutely go by at you local restaurant supply store. Before going to the previously mentioned.
1.) ½ Sheet Trays. Under $20. Throw away those thin cookie sheets You can bake, cool, roast, and store food with these. I also use them as seasoning trays when I am grilling in the back yard.
2.) Sizzle trays. Under $15. I like these for warming and cooking individual servings in the oven. They take up less dishwasher space. These too can be used as seasoning trays.
3.) Baine Maries. Under $15. Various sizes. Awesome just because. I keep 2 next to my stove to hold my spoons and hand tools. They also make a good wine bucket in a pinch.
4.) Cooling/Roasting racks. Under $25. These fit on top of sheet trays and have a wide variety of applications from glazing pastries and cakes, roasting meets, and/or a place to rest steaks once removed from the grill.
5.) Tongs/Whisks/Fish and Meat Spatulas. Under $10. Trust me commercial ones are just better.
For more expensive “toys” check out —