Top 10 Pieces of Essential Gear for Starting Your Own Kitchen

You’re no longer in your parents’ house, meals aren’t on the table waiting for you at day’s end and you have empty cupboards in your new kitchen. You’ve ordered pizza in a few times, but that’s going to get old (and expensive) fast and Weet-Bix for dinner was a pretty cool novelty the first four times, though it’s starting to lose a bit of its charm.You need to gear up fast. But what are the items that are most vital to a functioning kitchen? You can see that there are many pages on Kitchenware Direct with heaps of appliances, but certainly the line has to be drawn somewhere: what’s critical and what’s simply nice to have at some point?
How much do you want to spend? We ask this not to be crass, but because there are two ways you can go here. You can get a lot of pretty good basics for, say, under $300 or you can purchase a few really nice pieces for less than double that and slowly build a lasting collection. While we have gourmet and exceptional pieces in all our ranges, we’ll just give you the entry level options and the respectable collectibles (i.e., really good mid-range stuff) here because, after all, you’re just starting out. A quick word on the ‘just to get you by for the time being’ stuff. Lower-end goods don’t have to be a waste of time and money. When you upgrade, those entry-level pieces serve as good back-up or they can be used in, say, a caravan or as permanent pieces in an outdoor kitchen. If you become a multimillionaire, you’ll look on those inexpensive pieces fondly someday.
Okay, we’re going to assume that you have nothing at this point. What are the Top 10 Pieces of Essential Gear for Starting a Kitchen? Take a look below. We’re also assuming that you’re not looking to become the next MasterChef just yet, but simply want to get yourself and maybe your parental units (who were kind enough to raise you to the point of being able to leave the nest) a quick meal.
  • Cutlery Sets. Even if you’re eating take-away from the take-away container, you need to have a knife and fork. There are sets for under $50 and many that fall in the $100-$150 range. (Right up to $350+)
  • Crockery. Put that take-away food on your own plates and you can at least give the impression (for a minute or two) that you’re serving home-made. This purchase will make everything seem a bit more homey. Sets here will cost you less than $150 (or as low as $60).
  • Cook’s knife. Even if you were to just make salads for the next month, a good cook’s knife will make life much easier. If you’re going to purchase one to hold you for a while, there are plenty in our collection under $30. On the other hand, Wusthof has plenty of knives for under $200 that will last for decades and serve as a good starting piece in a lasting collection.
  • Fry pan or sauté pan. Take it from us: there’s a huge mark-up when it comes to scrambled eggs. You can make a big batch for yourself for about a buck or you can pay trough the nose at a restaurant… but you’ll need a fry pan to make ‘em. We’ve got frypans for about $10 and we have some great Scanpans in the $100 – $150 range. Sauté pans, on the other hand, usually have a cover and deeper sides, allowing you to make mains in them, if you’re so inclined. You could get something pretty specky that will last a lifetime from Le Chasseur for about $160.
  • Saucepan (also known as the humble pot). A good mid-sized saucepan (3 – 4 litre range) is needed to do even the humblest of meals, like smaller batches of pasta and noodles. The saucepan can also be used to boil water for tea or instant coffee, in case you’re avoiding appliances at this point. You can get something perfectly serviceable for around $23 or spend a bit more than $50 for a Scanpan number that will look great and work admirably for ages.
  • Cutting board. When you’re making the salad we mentioned above, you’ll want a work surface you can trust. We have a small board for under $5—and that would be great for cheeses—but get yourself something larger. You can pay $10, $20 or even $299.
  • Toaster. If you don’t eat toast, you can get away without getting any appliances. Having said that, a lot of us eat toast. There’s one here for about $55. There’s even a four-slicer for about $80.
  • Can opener. As we’re talking the very basics here, you’ll definitely need one of these. Spend about $17 or even go electric for $50.
  • Colander. That first pot of spaghetti you make in your own how will bring you a lot of joy, but try separating the hot water from the edibles without one of these! You can get a little one that will do the trick for $7.50 or shoot the moon and spend $30. You’ll also use this baby for cleaning veggies, too. Gotta have one.
  • Mixing bowl. As you’re just starting out, this can serve as your salad bowl, storage for leftovers, combining ingredients… just about anything, really.  Really big stainless steel for $8.50 or good-sized Pyrex for $15.