Gene Kato, the executive chef of the critically acclaimed Japanese restaurant Momotaro in Chicago, really likes Japanese cooking tools. The James Beard award-nominated chef’s essentials are Japanese in nature and are apt additions to any kitchen of varying cooking styles. From a sashimi knife to a digital cooking scale, here are the essentials Chef Kato can’t live without.
Yanagi Sashimi Knife
“One of the most important things for a Japanese chef is a great sashimi knife. It’s super sharp and a critical tool for cutting and breaking down fish. I use Yanagi.”
Tanita Digital Kitchen Scale
“Last but not least, a scale. Consistency is key to the success of a kitchen. Measuring along the way and balancing the scale before you start to make sure that you’re not including the bowl or vessel is very important. I can’t cook every single dish each night, so the scale helps to make sure that my staff is cooking the dishes exactly as intended, each and every time.”
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King Medium Grain Sharpening Stone
“A sharpening stone is a must to get that sharper edge on knives, especially Japanese knives which have flexible, very thin blades, needed for slicing delicate fish. I sharpen my knives once a week and I change the whetstone every two weeks.”
Moribashi Wooden Handle Plating Chopsticks
“I use chopsticks every day at Momotaro — refined chefs in kitchens around the world use tweezers, but chopsticks are the original tweezer. I use them for plating, garnishing and turning items on the robata (it’s a much more delicate tool than cooking tongs).”
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