The Guest List: Mary S. Moore

Mary S. Moore (B.B.A. ’93), founder and CEO of The Cook’s Warehouse, shares her top 10 kitchen essentials

  1. A quality, forged chef’s knife: The single most important tool in your kitchen. Forged knives are the most durable, hold their edge the best and are easy to sharpen. In terms of style, shape and length, the one that is most comfortable in your hand is the one for you.
  2. Nonstick frying pan: Look for a lifetime guarantee, the sign of quality, and if you only purchase one, be sure it’s a minimum of 10 inches round.
  3. Stainless steel sauté pan: We prefer high sides for sautéing or frying, and stainless steel allows you to clearly see the food cooking, browns meats easily and is perfect for deglazing. On top of all that, it’s easy to clean.
  4. Cast-iron Dutch oven: There is no better pot for soups, stews and chili; usable on top of the stove or in the oven. Enameled models seal the cast iron for easier cleaning and create a nonreactive surface.
  5. Vitamix: This blender turns whole foods into hot soup in three minutes, retaining all the fiber, vitamins and minerals. If you have but one electric appliance in the kitchen, this is the one to have.
  6. Cutting boards, wood and plastic: Keeps your knife’s edge from dulling; plastic is easy to sterilize (after cutting poultry or pork) and they’re inexpensive. Have some of each for all your chopping needs, whether meat, poultry, fish, veggies or fruit. Having more than one is ideal to keep your onions and garlic away from your fresh fruit salad. Look for green-friendly ones made from bamboo.
  7. Silicone spatula: Takes heat up to 850° F, leaves nothing behind in your pan or bowl and comes in beautiful colors.
  8. Rimmed baking sheet: Very versatile: can be used for baking meatloaf, sponge cake, cookies, just about anything. We love the USA brand because they are silicone-coated and have perfect release.
  9. Tongs, Whisk, Zester: Very inexpensive tools to turn food as it’s cooking; break up and mix liquid ingredients and put major flavor from citrus into anything from cocktails to roasts.
  10. Wooden spoon: Versatile and multipurpose. Stock your kitchen with several sizes and shapes — it’s been in the kitchen since the start of pots and fire!