“If you’re putting together a new pantry, remember this – You’re worth the good stuff.” This is what Perry Hoffman, executive chef of Shed Café, said when it comes to stocking up on essentials in a kitchen. If you think about it, we all deserve some luxury especially when we’re talking about the meals we prepare in the kitchen. To have a taste of the best in life (after the tiresome and stressful work shifts), why not try to have some gourmet pantry staples in our kitchen every now and then? Here are some of those modern pantry must-haves according to the pros.
Chef Stephanie Izard of Girl & the Goat recommends Fish Sauce
Chef Stephanie says that she loves fish sauce and uses it with a lot of her recipes. The show-stopping flavor of fish sauce is best described as being sweet, salty, and funky all at once. The flavor comes from the process of fermenting fish bringing about a briny and savory liquid. At Girl & The Goat, she uses this to sauté green beans, in a cheesy crab dip, a wintry beef stew, chimichurri and a lot more. Her favorite brand is Red Boat because it is gluten-free.
Red Rooster and Streetbird Rotisserie Chef, Marcus Samuelsson, always has hot sauce and pickled vegetables
When Chef Marcus travels, he always makes sure to get some local hot sauce to bring back home with him. He adds this to meat and also mixes it in salad dressings. They are also good on eggs and a lot of other things. As to pickled vegetables, he stocks them up in his fridge. He uses this with dishes that have salmon, meatballs, fried chicken and salads, as well.
Chef Christina Tosi of Milk Bar will never run out of unsalted European butter
Chef Christina always has a pound of really nice unsalted butter in her fridge. She said that this type of butter allows her to control the salt level in whatever she is making. She also explains that when you have a European style butter, this means that the dairy is cultured before being churned resulting to a deep flavor compared to the usual store-bought butter. Chef Christina uses butter to grease muffin tins, sauté vegetables, bake a pound cake, roast a chicken, or pan fry. Whenever she wants to have a little extra something, she browns the butter first for a nutty and toasty flavor.
A Pantry of “Good Stuff” according to Chef Perry Hoffman and Kristen Brott
In an interview with the San Fransisco Chronicle, Perry Hoffman recommends the following ingredients to have in a modern pantry. He firstly recommends Japanese shiso salt that enhances rice or even popcorn. Another is “ras el hanout” which is a smoky spice that has a slightly floral note to use as a rub for chicken (or anything you’d want to roast) with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Perry also stocks up on Dick Taylor chocolate bars for snacks and sundaes. Other common pantry items they have include apple cider syrup, white soy sauce, sweet miso, marash pepper, and espelette pepper.