Kitchen tools

The best place to buy kitchen utensils? Restaurant Supply Stores

I love catering supply stores. Every time I walk the aisles I feel like a kid in a candy store and inevitably end up walking out with something to add to my ever-expanding stack of cookware. (No, I’m not talking about the wire storage shelf in my bedroom that houses my kitchen cabinet overflow.)

Even if you’re not quite the cooking fanatic that I am, there are many benefits to checking out your local restaurant supply store.

First things first: Yes, it’s called a “restaurant supply store,” but you don’t necessarily have to work in the restaurant industry to shop in a store. (While some require you to be in an actual food business to shop, many are also open to home cooks.) A simple Google search can help you find if there are any in your area – make sure you just know that they are open to the public before you visit – and a number of them allow you to shop online, like WebstaurantStore, which bills itself as the largest online catering supply store.

What sets these stores apart from your standard housewares retailer? The selection. They can carry just about any kitchen equipment you can think of, like pots and pans of all kinds of sizes and shapes, pizza peels, mini fluted quiche molds, food grinders, giant ramekins, dinnerware and serving platters for your next night out, and more. Whether for ordinary or special use, you will likely find everything you are looking for at one of these suppliers.

Price and quality are often hard to beat, too. Items sold in catering supply stores are meant to withstand the wear and tear of professional kitchens. If they can survive hundreds of busy restaurant shifts (according to the article), they should be able to handle whatever you throw at them while cooking meals for your household. On top of that, they’re often available at a fraction of the price of what you can find elsewhere, as catering supply stores primarily act as wholesalers for companies that buy wholesale.

Your first experience shopping for restaurant supplies can be daunting, whether in person or online. Department stores have so much to offer that they can seem overwhelming, and if you’re looking for the finest kitchen supplies you should look elsewhere (unless you’re really into the industrial-chic aesthetic). But the price, selection, and durability of the cookware you’ll find are worth it in the end.

Here are some of the items you should pick up on your next trip, as well as a few to avoid.

Plates and grids

They are beasts of burden in my kitchen. I use them to bake cookies, roast meats and vegetables, cook plate dishes, drain fried foods and more. They come in a range of sizes, and while you might think you should buy the “full” size, these are actually too large for standard residential ovens. Opt for “half” (13 by 18 inch) or smaller casseroles and side racks. I especially like sheet metal quarters when cooking for one person. WebstaurantStore sells individual plaques for just over $ 5 each, while other places online list them for double that amount or more.

Storage containers

One of the benefits of containers found at food service supply stores is that they are designed to nest, which means they are easier to organize and will take up less space in your cupboards. If you’re like me, you already have a collection of pint and quarter size deli containers you buy to go, which are perfect for storing and freezing sauces, soups and broths.

If you are looking for something more solid, Cambro plastic containers are standard in many restaurant kitchens. They can be square or round and come in sizes ranging from 1 to 22 quarts, with the larger sizes being particularly useful for storing dry goods such as flour, sugar, rice, and beans. Some people also adore rectangular metal containers meant to be used as tabletop steamer inserts.

Stainless steel mixing bowls

They’re inexpensive, lightweight, and durable, and come in a range of sizes that are perfect for keeping your set up or making a big salad for your next dinner party. The icing on the cake is that they are sold individually, so you can buy only what you need instead of being indebted to a full set of bowls like in some retail stores.

Pots and pans

You can find a range of inexpensive thick bottom stainless steel cookware, carbon steel casseroles and woks for all your high heat cooking needs and affordable yet egg baking worthy nonstick casseroles. . As Daniel Gritzer wrote in Serious Eats, “Much like toothbrushes and underwear, you should approach nonstick cookware with the intention of replacing them often. “

Kitchen tools

This is where things can go off the rails. There are whips of all sizes, from the smallest that seem to be meant for toddlers to gigantic ones that can stir a cauldron. You can find all kinds of knives, but I would recommend paring and serrated knives especially as they are best replaced once they get dull. You can easily find large, thick, and sturdy cutting boards that are not prone to warping.

One of my personal favorites are the dishes, aka spoons, which I often use to portion cookie dough and drop the dough into muffin cups. They’re much stronger than other cookie scoops I’ve tried. Other items worth your attention include vegetable peelers, tongs, spiders, nut crackers, squeeze bottles, and thermometers.

What to avoid

Restaurant supply stores are great for a lot of things, but not for home appliances. Restaurant stoves are not as well insulated as those intended for residential use, and installing one can void your home insurance policy. And while an industrial refrigerator might sound like a great idea, be aware that it can be extremely noisy.