When you go out to eat, you’re likely not thinking about the tools that go into your order—but you should be. They often make a critical difference in how quickly the plate arrives at your table, and in your first impression of that meal. The ingredients may take center stage, but tools work behind the scenes to make sure that every plate looks presentable and precise.
It’s much easier to recognize the importance of dependable tools when you’re cooking at home, of course. And if you’re looking to be a home chef with a professional-level gadget drawer, you don’t have to sneak behind the service counter to see what’s being used: I asked five L.A.-based. chefs to describe their favorite tools, and the dishes they use them for. From budget-friendly purchases to use for weeknight meals to splurge-worthy buys for special occasions, these picks and tips make it easier to cook at home like a restaurant pro.