Is the slow cooker foodservice’s most overrated tool?

We list what’s over and underrated in the modern commercial kitchen.

What’s the most important tool in the kitchen for a chef? That question is extremely hard to answer. Some would suggest it’s their knife, but if that’s the case, which one is it? Or perhaps it’s the humble chopping board, because without that it won’t be long before that knife is as blunt as a Ramsey critique.

The array of crucial tools available to a chef makes pinpointing one as best near impossible. However, there’s certainly some kitchen essentials that deserve extra credit and, on the flipside, some that are more nuisance than necessity. Which is why we’ve put together a list of back of house tools, and given our take on what’s overrated and underrated:

1) A quality chef’s knife

It almost gets left off this list because most chefs should know just how important this tool is. But still some will choose to purchase a half-decent knife set, rather than one solid chef’s knife.

Verdict: Underrated

2) Industrial can opener

When your 12 dockets deep and scrambling for a can opener, the last thing you want is something flimsy. A fitted industrial can opener gets the job done and won’t be going walkabouts when the bar staff forgets to return it.

Verdict: Underrated

3) Garlic crusher

You see them used a lot on TV cooking shows but what they don’t show you is the effort it takes to get all of the precious garlic out of the press.

Verdict: Overrated

4) Slow cooker

The slow cooker has long been heralded by many as a foodservice favourite, but without the proper care and attention it can cause problems. It can shift the workload of prepping to an earlier moment, but you’ve still got to do all of the chopping, browning etc.

Verdict: Useful for certain situations, but overrated.

5) Mandolin

When you’ve got a mountain of prep that includes slicing, a mandolin will become your best friend.

Verdict: Underrated

6) Rubber Spatula

You may have become acquainted with the rubber spatula at a young age, when pestering your parents for a taste of cookie dough. But if you haven’t learnt the many uses for these in the commercial kitchen, you need to get your act together.

Verdict: Underrated

7) Drawer Fridges

Drawer fridges are great for maximising kitchen space. However, they come with their downfalls. In a busy kitchen pulling one open can turn an access way into a narrow alley, and more difficult to organise than a standing fridge.

Verdict: Overrated

8) Walk-in Fridge

The walk-in is paradise. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of working as a chef will know just how valuable these are to a kitchen.

Verdict: Neither.

9) The Chef

Well, technically not a tool, but your team is more important than any knife, stove or appliance that you’ll find in the kitchen. Anyone who hasn’t seen the inner workings of a commercial kitchen first hand will struggle to understand just how technical the job is.

Verdict: Underrated

10) Kitchen Hand

If we’re going to include chefs, we have to give a shout-out to the dishy. Although it’s one of the less glamourous roles in the kitchen, it’s up there in terms of importance. A fast and reliable kitchenhand is like gold!

Verdict: Underrated

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