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During Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, TODAY is sharing the community’s history, pain, joy and what’s next for the AAPI movement. We will be publishing personal essays, stories, videos and specials throughout the entire month of May.
Vegetable peelers are are a staple in most kitchens. You put yours to work during the holiday season and regularly whip it when prepping meals. But even given the tool's workhorse status, you've probably never given much thought to the type of peeler that you're using.
According to chef Kristen Kish, there is only one kind that deserves a place in your kitchen.
"I feel like everyone has peelers in their house, but the Y-shaped peelers are ergonomically so much better and more of a natural shape," Kish said. They match your natural movements to help you peel more efficiently, she added.
Kish, who famously won the 10th season of "Top Chef" and now competes in the TruTV cooking show "Fast Foodies," said that the straight metal peelers were a staple in her family kitchen growing up. It wasn't until she started working in professional kitchens that she discovered just how effective the Y-shaped versions are. "We called them speed peelers," she said.
Kuhn Rikon's peelers, the type Kish uses in her own kitchen, start at just $7 for one and $15 for a pack of three. With such a low price tag, it's an easy switch to make — it's also affordable enough that you won't mind buying a new one once the blades start to lose their sharp edges. "Once they're dull, they kind of suck, and that makes your life harder," Kish said. "So the second they go dull, just buy a new one."
To prevent rusting and expand the lifespan of the tool, the brand recommends hand washing and drying after each use.
But the handheld staple not the only affordable tool that the accomplished chef and restauranteur keeps in her kitchen arsenal. Below, Kish shared two of her other go-to tools with the Shop TODAY team.
Whether she's cooking at home or in a professional setting, Kish said that she "cannot live without," her microplane. "I think they're just convenient," she said. "If you don't wanna chop garlic, you can grate it ... You can grate spices, chocolate, nuts, cheese, basically anything. I think it's probably one of the more universal tools that people typically buy for one reason, but they end up using it for so many more."
"I never thought that citrus juicers — the presses — were useful," Kish said. "In my brain, I'm like, it takes more effort for me to pull one out and clean it than it does just to squeeze the lemon." But when she started drinking lemon water every day, she realized how helpful the tool can be. "It's just far more convenient, it's easier, it's cleaner, you get more from your actual product. So I'm a new fan." She added that she like the stainless steel versions, thanks to their sleek look and durability.
For more stories like this, check out:
- These 9 new cookbooks celebrate AAPI history and cuisine
- Celebrity chef Martin Yan shares his favorite kitchen tool
- From Momofuku to Mimi Cheng’s, 8 AAPI-owned restaurants that ship to your door