BERRIES HAVE THE BEST MOUTHFEEL, the way you can feel each one individually in your mouth—like tapioca, or really well-cooked sushi rice. But people have lost some important berry vibe. These days everybody wants them to be sweet. I think they should be sour. That’s what I liked about saskatoons when I first encountered them in Newfoundland, where they call them serviceberries. I also like how the harvest window is so small. They’re not exactly rare. But commercially, you don’t see them that much. The last thing is that they’re really good for you—rich in anti-oxidants and very healthy. —J.C.
Essential Chef's Tools
Give home cooking a boost with the essential chef’s tools
Every cook needs the right tools and electronics to bring their A-game to meal prep and entertaining. With professional-grade appliances and culinary techniques from the world’s top chefs increasingly available in the modern home kitchen, there’s no shortage of opportunities to amplify time spent in the kitchen. Whether you’re whipping up a simple dinner or hosting an elaborate cocktail party, the right gear can simplify the process. To elevate the art of cooking, try these useful tools.
“With a set of good knives, you can do just about anything,” says Sarah Richardson. McLean Customs handmade knives are made to order and tailored to every chef’s preferences. Based in London, ON, firefighter and knifemaker Tom McLean has gained international attention from celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver, Tyler Florence and Rob Gentile for his custom knives. Out of his Sharp and Shiny Shop, McLean crafts impeccable chef’s knives and premium wooden sheaths in hardwoods like Brazilian walnut and poplar. ($500-$1,000, sharpandshinyshop.com)
LE CREUSET ANNIVERSARY
Ninety years ago, Le Creuset changed the culinary world with its vibrant enamelled cast iron cocotte. The small French foundry soon became known internationally for its colour, innovative design and tremendous durability. In recognition of the anniversary, Le Creuset is releasing two commemorative reproductions of the company’s original cocotte this year. The first is a premium cast iron cocotte, produced as a limited run of only 1,925. A smaller stoneware version of the original cocotte will also be released. (lecreuset.ca)
Considered a game-changer for the ease it adds to prep, the Vitamix S30 is a high-performance blender in the perfect size for your home kitchen. “If you need a blender, get a Vitamix,” suggests Chef Mark McEwan, “but I recommend you get a smaller model because typically the big ones are bulky at home.” With two blending containers, one that doubles as a travel mug and a 40 oz cup for soups, sauces and smoothies, the Vitamix S30 personal blender is a quick and efficient kitchen helper. ($399, vitamix.com)
“My world runs thanks to a Nespresso machine,” says Sarah Richardson. The Nespresso Inissia in canary yellow is a limited-edition pop of colour that adds style and convenience to every morning cup. With the Aeroccino+ milk frother, a delicious cappuccino or latte is literally at your fingertips, handcrafted by you in your own home. (nespresso.com)
Seki, Japan has been the epicentre of the knife industry since the 14th century—so it’s hardly surprising that it would still produce some of the most remarkable blades available on the market. Seki is home to Zwilling’s Miyabi factory, where blades are developed under the watchful eye of legendary Iron Chef Japan Rokusaburo Michiba and endorsed by Iron Chef America Masaharu Morimoto. The Miyabi collections offer authentic Japanese blade shapes crafted from 100 alternating layers of premium steel, layered in exotic damask style patterns then hardened, tempered and honed for extraordinary sharpness. (zwilling.ca/miyabi)
DE BUYER MANDOLINE
“I use a standard mandoline all the time for shredding Brussels sprouts, shallots and for making a radish salad and getting it paper thin,” says Chef Mark McEwan. With four stainless steel blades, the de Buyer mandoline is precise no matter the cut, and is built to fold and store compactly. Slicing and dicing has never been so simple, with adjustable thickness for julienne, straight and waffle cuts. ($99.99, Williams-Sonoma)
BLANCO CUTTING BOARDS
Though BLANCO remains a kitchen sink specialist, it offers several specialty items that will bring style and substance to any chef ’s kitchen. One of our favourite adds—and one that features in the Canada’s 100 Best videos—is BLANCO’s line of cutting boards. Available in maple, ash and walnut, they complement stainless steel and stone countertops, while offering a durable work surface with ample drainage channels. (blancocanada.com)
This easy-to-use spiralizer creates quick shoestring and vegetable noodles from carrots, zucchini and radish for salads, and makes sweet potato fries and onion rings simple to create at home. With three stainless steel blades, and a BPA-free plastic base, it’s dishwasher-safe and stores easily in small spaces. ($39.99, Williams-Sonoma)