February 14th, 2012
09:45 AM ET
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Is it hot in here, or is it just the peppercorns? We asked José Andrés, Michel Nischan, Gail Simmons, Michael Chiarello, Sang Yoon, John Besh, Richard Blais and Andrew Zimmern to deliver some serious sweet talk to their favorite ingredients and kitchen tools in the video above.

Hungry for more?

Tim Love - deep fat fryer
"So here’s the deal, if I was stuck on an island, the only piece of equipment I would want to have is a deep fat fryer. Not only can you cook meat in a deep fat fryer, you can cook vegetables, whole fish, small animals. Even a tree if you want to. But I don’t eat trees because I’m a tree-hugger. But a deep fat fryer is a man’s greatest invention."

Daniel Boulud - avocados
"Oh avocado, I love. I like you soft on the outside, ripe on the inside. I think it’s the fat in the avocado that I love and it’s the richness. It’s something I never grew up having as a kid. So it’s my luxury candy."

Susan Feniger - avocados and potato chips
"Between avocados and salted potato chips, that is my dream come true of a snack. Late at night, hanging out, listening to Bill Evans, eating avocados and potato chips together. What is better than that?"

George Mendes - sardines
"Oh sardine, how I love. Small little fish that swims in large schools, eaten raw or escabeche or a la plancha with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt and lemon, you work wonders. I love you sardine."

Jonathan Waxman - wooden spoon
"My favorite thing in the world is my wooden spoon. And I have lots of wooden spoons. I have little tiny wooden spoons. I have large ones. I have one that’s flat. I have one that’s thick. But my wooden spoon is my best friend in the kitchen. I can whack my children with it, I can stir risotto. It’s the best thing for flipping a burger. But I can’t live without my little wooden spoon."

Got a kitchen obsession of your own? Let it all hang out in the comments below.

More Valentine's Day on Eatocracy

soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Tasting Korea

    Chef Sang Yoon is not Chinese, but Korean, so I don't understand why CNN continues to introduce him with Chinese music.

    February 24, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  2. Waubeeka

    My All-Clad pots and pans are THE item I can't do without.
    Second is the 25 year old balsamic vinegar I get from williams sonoma. I use it in pan sauces, salad dressings, and over fresh fruit. THE best value ($28 for 15 oz)
    Third would be the hand carved wodden tools I got from a craft fair a few years back. They are made from Cherry, are rock hard and fit so great in my hands. Not a single machine was used to make them, totally by hand.

    February 15, 2012 at 10:37 am |
  3. megan

    George Mendes is a wonderful chef, I have eaten at his restaurants many times. They are all very well known in the food industry...

    February 15, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  4. Freddysaces

    I just lost three minutes of my life that I can't get back after reading this. And another minute complaining about it. Crap.

    February 15, 2012 at 7:21 am |
  5. Brian

    Celebrity chefs, perhaps, though I've not heard of any of them. Great chefs? Uh, no.

    February 15, 2012 at 7:16 am |
    • eatmybalz

      If you have never heard of them nor eaten their food, how can you possibly say they are not great chefs?

      February 15, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • Kat Kinsman

      In what universe are Daniel Boulud & Jose Andres not considered great chefs?

      February 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
      • neepsandtats

        In Brian's troll universe, apparently. Trolliverse? SHOO, TROLL!

        February 17, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  6. easy breesy foody girl

    my favorite thing in the kitchen is my sponge (one use only then throw out), heavy duty dishwasher and large sprayer head on my sink as i do NOT like a fleck of dust on my pots pans knives forks spoons etc.. other than that im easy. LOL! (i drive my husband crazy!)

    February 14, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • easy breesy foody girl

      but forgot to mention im a great cook! so he doesnt complain

      February 14, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Garlic... oh how you may be stinky, but in my tummy you make me happy.

    February 14, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
  8. florabella

    My Viking Mixer,without thee my mashed potatoes would be lumpy and I no longer fear making cakes.

    February 14, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  9. Fiona

    George Mendes, I have no idea who you are, but how I love. You get the prize for that sweet tribute.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  10. Henry

    Next to my Japanees knifes the most important thing in the kitchen to me is my heat resistant spatula. I can't make a sauce any more without one. It is far better than a wooden spoon.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  11. Beth

    Infused balsamic vinegar! Currently I'm eating salad with tangerine balsamic sprinkled on and strawberries with dark chocolate balsamic – better than any chocolate candy!

    February 14, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  12. dragonwife1

    My favorite thing in the kitchen is my husband! He never fails to thank me for cooking dinner, even on those occasions when one of my "experiments" falls flat. But my favorite kitchen gadget is my garlic press. Love it, love it, love it, because we're both garlic freaks!

    February 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  13. Don

    Cumin. If I'm out of cumin I lose my mind. It's my favorite spice so I tend to make a lot of dishes that feature cumin. Give me a big hot bowl of cumin riddled black bean soup that's been simmering in the dutch oven for a couple of hours, sprinkle on some Israeli Feta and Cilantro and I'm good. I also put it in my fish taco sauce........yummy!!!!

    February 14, 2012 at 3:47 pm |

      oh god, that soup sounds good, cumin, black beans, feta, cilantro.....there goes my next hour of work, googling recipes THANKS! ;)

      February 15, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  14. Scargosun

    I about fell off my chair when Jonathan Waxman mentioned whacking his kids with the wooden spoon. That was my Mom's Nana's and my Aunt's weapon of choice. I just use it to cook. ;) I cannot live without my 12 in saute pan. Even when I probably don't need to use something quite that big, I still use it. It distributes heat perfectly and my pan sauces reduce pretty quickly.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Fiona

      Wow. I keep getting pulled for moderation! I was offended by his mentioning hitting his kids with a spoon, too. He needs to get the same treatment.

      Is that acceptable, moderator?

      February 14, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Fiona


      February 14, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Fiona

      Apparently, the mention of striking a child with a cooking implement made of lumber triggers the censor here, yet the abuser can mention it casually, as if it's a joke. Awful.

      February 14, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
      • lovejoy

        I whack you across your knuckles with my wooden spoon. No cookie dough for you.

        February 15, 2012 at 12:22 am |
      • rick

        calm down! just a joke and its called displine (i dont think is spelled that right)!

        February 15, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  15. jean lu

    My cast iron skillets and pots. Heat is perfectly distributed and they are indistructable. Great also for making cornbread etc. in the oven. I use them for everything.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  16. Rajiv Shaw

    My slow cooked lamb curry in mint!

    February 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  17. East Village Eats

    At first thought I'd say my 9 inch Global Chef's Knife, but honestly, it would have to be my mandoline. I often cook for large groups & it makes prep a breeze. With all the atachments & nooks and crannies it's a pain to clean, but I love that thing.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      I eat roughly one billion times more salad since my mandoline came into my life. I've also bled out about a quart, but that's my own clumsy fault.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
      • suj

        That's why god made bourbon.

        February 15, 2012 at 12:24 am |
  18. Kim


    February 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  19. Jani

    My kitchen love-tool is without a doubt an antique stainless steel French food mill I inherited from my Italian mother-in-law. The crank is bent and the knob broke years ago, and try though I may, I just can't get rid of it. (To wit, there are three once-used new mills in the back of my cupboard!) Cheers to you, kitchen tool of my affection, and may we continue to create lusciousness together forever!

    February 14, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  20. joanne boyll

    I have a chefs knife that I got at a flea market for $1.00. It was looking rough, but when I had picked it up with just a finger at the tang, it floated in perfect balance. The name as best as we can read it is Pernet, made in France. If I did without thinking, I would use it for everything. My husband can filet fish with it with not a single problem. It floats and we do spoil it accordingly, by having "Georgia" a lady at Bass Pro HQ, who does knife sharping on Fri and Sat (to sell a sharping wheel) in front the knife section in the main store. We both figure that it had been in a fire in the past.

    February 14, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • David Hoffman

      Eloi-Pernet maybe?

      February 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
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