A stylish, well-appointed kitchen helps cooking feel like a pleasure instead of a chore. Whether you are designing a new kitchen for a new home or updating your old one, make sure you add ease, function and style by adding the following five components.

Professional Knife Set

The best knives remain sharp through many uses, have secure handles that won’t loosen and are aesthetically pleasing. A knife set should contain at least one large butcher knife, a paring knife, a fileting knife and several steak knives. Many sets include a custom block for countertop storage and accessibility. If yours does not, make sure to purchase a knife block or rack to mount them properly.

Quality Countertops

Kitchen countertops need to stand up to a lot of hard work with minimal upkeep. The best materials are waterproof and heat and cut resistant. Consider countertops that can last the life of the kitchen. One example is natural stone, such as granite slab countertops.

The Right Variety of Pots and Pans

Few things are more frustrating for a cook than not having the right size or type of pan on hand. Stock your kitchen with a variety of high-quality pans to match your cooking needs.

For cookware that is both durable and has long-lasting aesthetic appeal, choose stainless steel pots and pans. The only drawback to stainless steel is it isn’t non-stick. For sturdy non-stick pans, choose those with a ceramic lining over those with cheaper non-stick coatings. The latter deteriorates with high-heat cooking and the coating can flake off over time.

Heat-Proof Cooking Utensils

Plastic utensils have come a long way, but they are still prone to breaking or melting. Better options include wood or food grade silicon. These withstand heat much better than plastic yet won’t scratch your pans like metal can.

A Versatile Food Processor

Food processors save a lot of time and most chefs wouldn’t think of designing a kitchen without one of these workhorses. When choosing your food processor, consider how many attachments it includes, the amount of food it can process at once, extra settings, and how easy or difficult it is to clean. Choose top-of-the-line models when you can as these tend to have stronger motors and better warranties than cheap knockoffs.

No matter what kind of materials and styles you choose for your new kitchen components, ask yourself how you will feel about it a year or more down the road. Choosing quality items will almost always mean long term satisfaction, so avoid skimping on the kitchen components that are most important to you.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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