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Kitchen Essentials


How does your favourite chef, cook or food blogger make catering and entertaining look SO easy? It’s all in the tools.

This afternoon we ask restauranteur Michael Pham of Phamily Kitchen, cook/author Julia Busuttil Nishimura, and caterer Cassie Lucas of Firecracker Event, to divulge their can’t-live-without kitchen essentials.

3rd July, 2017

Michael Pham, is the ‘owner/bosslady’ at Phamily Kitchen Vietnamese and Garden Club – a new food and foliage cafe at 366 Smith Street, Collingwood. Innovation and improvements in kitchen tools have hands-down made Michael’s job easier, for example, ‘A Robot Coupe (food processor) magically transforms a giant box of carrot into miles and miles of wondrous ribbons of food!’ he exclaims! Aside from his go-to spatula, Michael highlights the ‘seductively incredible’ Benriner Japanese Mandolin as a must for any serious cook! ‘Watch those fingers, and you’ll make impossibly thin slices of any vegetable you dream of.’ Photo – Sean Fennessy for The Design Files.

Julia Busuttil Nishimura ​is passionate about preparing food, creating recipes and writing about them on her beautiful blog Ostro. ‘For the most part, I find new and fancy equipment a little intimidating,’ tells Julia, who prefers the reliability of simple equipment, like a good chef’s knife, and a sturdy mortar and pestle. ‘If I can do the job with handheld tools such as these, I mostly always choose them over a new ‘time-saving’ tool. Especially if I’m recipe writing – it makes sense to offer the simplest option to readers,’ she adds, though she is thankful for her well-loved Kitchen Aid and pasta machine. Julia’s first cookbook, Ostro, will be released in September. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Cassie Lucas runs Firecracker Event, a studio and kitchen providing menu design, styling, and catering. The team channels their inner Nigella Lawson in finding the most efficient ways to make things happen in the kitchen: ‘She wouldn’t grate the carrot by hand, or chop the onion. She’d pop it in the machine… We do too!’ Cassie tells. When she started out cooking for larger groups, she was doing things on a domestic scale, which was limiting. After setting up a HQ – bigger ovens, fridges, food processors, mandolins, and spiralisers – life has become so much easier! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

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