I was reading Olive magazine this weekend as I do every month. Somehow, the magazine goes through phases of having lots of interesting snippets and then being very dull. At the moment it is pretty dull, even though this issue was celebrating its 10th year anniversary. There were lots of top tens: recipes, restaurants, places to visit, chef’s hairstyles! (apparently Jean Christophe Novelli tops this list), chefs we would like to have dinner with, food scares, ingredients and finally pieces of kitchen kit we can’t live without.

Now I don’t mean to sound as arrogant as I know this will, but I can honestly say that I didn’t agree with any of these lists and found most of them pretty outdated in parts. Take the kitchen kit, for example. Their list was:

– a brightly coloured stand mixer

– a santoku knife

– colour coded boards for food prep

– a mandolin

– silicone bakeware

– a bundt tin

– microplane grater

– muffin tins

– icing bags and nozzles

– plastic squeezy bottles

Copper kenwood

Now believe me, I get the Kenwood Mixer. Of course I do. I wrote about the copper version some time ago and still dream about that centre stage to any kitchen I create.


But the first essentials of any kitchen are in my opinion a great set of pans and a really good knife which is suited to your own personal hand and style. At the moment, I am coveting copper pans, preferably of the Mauviel variety, not only for their stunning looks but also for their ability to conduct heat so evenly. As for knives, I agree with the Japanese sourcing. Mine is of medium size and weight, bought at a food fair and kept in its sheath to protect the blade. I take it wherever I am going to cook as it really is the making of great cooking. ..and very easy to sharpen on a soft block.

As for the Olive list, I was mostly surprised by the squeezy bottles and bundt tin. I can honestly say I would be very happy to live a long time without either of these and squeezy bottle lines of varying sauces seems so passe.

Alongside my knife and pans, I would add the following for my must have kitchen list:

– good toaster to take full size poilane bread slices for the perfect meal any time, simply toasted and topped with most yummy things

– microplane grater ideal for perfect zesting along with everything else it grates

– potato ricer: an essential for perfect mashed potato, and every kitchen needs to be producing lump free mashed potato

– really good blender to make silky smooth soups, amongst other things, along with a small pot attachment to blend sauces such as pesto or fresh mayo


– enamelware tins because they look great, bake great and wash up great too

– mandolin only because it is ideal for pommes boulangeres and all those dishes that benefit from consistent and thin slices of fruit or veg

– sturdy wooden chopping board. I know this is controversial as wood is difficult to clean, but I really hate the noise and feel from any other board. Wood is the best for me.

– reusable baking parchment, or magic non-stick liner, as it is called on Lakeland. Not only is Lakeland a dream place for anyone interested in kitchen paraphernalia but it is also great value. The Lakeland range should really be on the list in its entirety but that can’t really count as a kitchen kit. It is simply a kitchen lovers destination and certainly something we can’t live without.