28 Items That Every Modern Gentleman Should Have In His Kitchen

Nothing says ‘I’m not an adult yet’ like a fridge that contains nothing but Tabasco, packets of soy sauce, and a carton of milk (probably spoiled, lets be real).

But cooking is hard — it’s time consuming and not every young man has been taught how to do it right, let alone set up a proper kitchen with necessary ingredients and tools for making a quick meal.

Business Insider reached out to Jared Spafford Director of Culinary Operations at Snow Day, a maple syrup themed food truck launched by not-for-profit Drive Change. Drive Change employs previously incarcerated individuals to better acclimate them to the outside.

They also learn how to cook with limited resources.

Spafford sent Business Insider a list of items — from tools to spices — that should go inside the modern gentleman’s kitchen.

If you build it, it will come, and it will be delicious.

Food processor

Food processors are a basic necessity in every kitchen. They can chop up vegetables, grind nuts, and puree potatoes. If you need to shred something, just stick it into this contraption.

Cheaper ones retail between $24.99 to $39.99, while fancier models range from $99.00 to $164.00.


Blenders require little introduction -- every man's got to make a margarita from time to time. They're also useful for making milkshakes and smoothies.

Most blenders range from $14.85 to $38.25, although if you're a heavy-duty blender user you might want to consider the 'Ninja Professional Blender' at $128.95.

Spice grinder

The name is pretty self-explanatory for this one: a spice grinder grinds spices. If you grind them yourself, your food will be significantly more flavorful.

Most spice grinders are approximately $16.99 and double as coffee bean grinders. If you're not going to be an huge user, maybe check out the cheaper $8.18 alternative.

You can get one here.

French press

There is a special place in hell reserved whoever decided it was ok to drink ground dirt (commonly referred to as 'instant coffee').

Instead, pick up a french press so that you can make a delicious cup for yourself every morning.

French presses typically retail around $28.90, give or take several dollars depending on the size. A percolator is more on the pricey side, ranging from $US35.97 to $62.99.

A decent apron

You'll need a solid apron to keep your clothes from looking like a Kandinsky painting.

Skip the basic butcher looking apron, and definitely don't get one with a tasteless design (you know the ones we're talking about). Instead, opt for a classic navy or grey one.

A decent navy apron retails for just $12.95, which is infinitely less than what your drying cleaning bill would be otherwise.

Kitchen towels and oven mitts

Towels for cleaning, mitts for keeping your hands from burning. Not hard.

You can get a dozen uniform towels from $10.00 to $20.00. Naturally, better quality towels will be on the more expensive side.

Cheaper oven mitts are about $9.98 while more expensive pairs get up to $20.56.

16 Quart Stock Pot

Took anything from corn on the cob to soups and stews you're going to need a big pot. When you get really good at the whole cooking thing, you can make your own stock for soup.

If that ever happens.

Quart stock pots have a range of prices. Super basic models can be as cheap as $32.49, while mid-range models are about $51.96. If you're looking for a real quality piece, there are models in the $106.40 price range.

Cast iron skillet

Cast iron skillets can cook almost anything from egg dishes, lasagnas, desserts, and roasted vegetables. You can put them on a stove top or in the oven for baking.A

And if you live in a city, a cast iron can act as a grill substitute, so you won't have to do without quality steaks.

A 14-inch iron skillet goes for about $30.16, while the larger 20-inch one going to be about $95.95.

A great knife

We don't joke around when it comes to knives. Getting a truly quality crafted knife is worth the investment because it will last you forever. If you opt for a cheaper option, it will get dull pretty quickly. And then, in the long run, you'll spend way more replacing bad knives instead of just buying one great one from the start.

We recommend the MAC Pro 8-1/2in, which costs $159.95.

Offset serrated knife

You're probably wondering why you need an offset knife. Easy. The 'offset' handle keeps you hand away from surfaces while you cut.

Serrated means that the blade looks kind of like a mini saw, which is useful to cut through foods that are hard on the exterior and soft on the interior. Think: a loaf of bread or cabbage.

A quality offset serrated knife comes in around $US59.95, and can go much higher.

End grain cutting board

Good knives are expensive, so you're not going to want your cutting board to ruin them immediately. Pick up an end grain cutting board, which is specifically designed to not dull your knife as quickly as a plastic cutting board would.

Plus, because of the pattern on the boards, knife marks won't be as visible.

The price is going to depend on the size and quality you want. Smaller options will be around $32.95, medium ones will be around $59.00, and excellent cutting boards can go up to $179.95.

Salt shaker and pepper grinder

These look significantly nicer than the salt and pepper containers you buy at the store. Class it up.

Basic ones are around $14.97, while fancier ones can get up to $23.99.


You'll need a colander for draining your pasta and rice or washing salad.

Plastic ones are cheaper can range from $5.99 to $US11.04, while stainless steel ones go from $12.04 to $29.95.

6 inch sieve

Sieves are similar to colanders, but they're primarily used to sift flour. They help break down the flour into the smallest particles -- which makes the flour optimal for baking purposes.

Solid sieves range from $7.20 to $22.95.


Eventually you'll need to move your food without touching it, and for that you need tongs.

You can find a set of 3 cheaper tongs for $6.30, or one really high-end pair for $11.99 -- depending how much you'll need to use them.

Fish flipper

Fish is more delicate, and may break apart if you use tongs. Instead opt for a fish flipper, which can help you get all the sides of your fish prepared.

A cheap fish flipper is just $US5.46, while a slightly nicer one will go for $12.99.

Rubber spatulas

To get every last bit of a sauce or batter out of a container, use a spatula.

You can get a set of three spatulas in different sizes for $5.49.

Potato peeler

Spare yourself the agony of peeler potatoes by hand and just go for a fancy restaurant peeler. Your scab-less, callus-less hands will thank you.

A decent potato peeler goes for $9.95.

Tasting spoon

Again, the name is pretty self-explanatory. But you do want a specific tasting spoon so that you can experiment with salt, pepper, or spice levels right on the spoon -- without ruining your dish completely.

A tasting spoon goes for about $5.99.

Microplane grater

A real man grates his own cheese.

A microplane grater can also be used to grate lemons (that's where you get lemon zest from), onions, and ginger.

The retail for about $12.95 on average.

Basting brush

To get the most out of your marinade, apply it to meats or vegetables with a basting brush.

You can get a set of three cheaper basting brushes for $6.75, or one 'premium' brush for $10.95.

Metal skewers

One word: kebabs.

You'll need metal skewers to grill meats and vegetables. Definitely worth the investment.

Solid skewers range from $16.50 for 6, or $21.99 for 6.

Splatter screen

No one wants hot oil splattering in their face. So get a splatter screen to cover whatever it is that you're cooking.

A splatter screen goes for about $11.67.

You should always have a few of these condiments on hand

These are a few basic must-haves for cooking a wide range of dishes.

You should also have a solid collection of dry goods and spices

When it comes to spices, we recommend that you buy them whole and then grind them. Your food will be way more flavorful that way.

Here are some basics to build your spice collection:

  • Sea salt
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Nutmeg
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric (Or upgrade: Star Anise)
  • Garlic and onion powder
  • Bay leaves
  • White and red peppercorns
  • Coves
  • Dried herbs: thyme, rosemary, sage.

Here are a few fresh items you should always pick up at the grocery store too.

You're going to want to have something fresh in the house, too. These ingredients will kick any recipe you're making with frozen food up a notch. Definitely check your local farmers market for foods that are in season.
Here's what you need:

  • Herbs, including dill, thyme, cilantro, and basil
  • Lemons (For cocktails and for food.)
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Shallots
  • Bacon - Real, quality bacon. (Check out Flying Pigs Farm or your local quality butcher)

BONUS: Upgrade for your summer BBQs

Paella (aka a Spanish rice dish with all sort of delicious things mixed in) is a summer favourite. We recommend picking up a pan so that you can prepare this dish on weekends.

However we have to warn you: if you make paella, you won't be able to kick your friends out of your house.

A 15-inch, basic paella dish can go for $16.86, while a 22-inch one goes for $59.81. Prices will greatly vary depending on the size and material you get.

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