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We asked 7 celebrity chefs: What's one thing you can't live without?
Curtis Stone, Giada DiLaurentiis and other celeb chefs dish on their kitchen must-haves.
What ingredients and kitchen tools do celebrity chefs use religiously when they're cooking at home, outside the glare of TV spotlights? For Giada DeLaurentiis, the answer is parmesan—but not the cheese itself. It's all about the rind.
“I love parmesan cheese rind and use it regularly and in almost everything,” says the TODAY regular and owner of the new Las Vegas restaurant GIADA. “I like to use one or two five-inch pieces in whatever I am making. Throw them in when the liquid is added, whether it is broth for a soup or stew, or the tomatoes for a sauce. I also like to eat them once they've cooked in the sauce or soup for a while. The cheese gets soft and stringy and has all the delicious bits of flavor stuck to it from whatever you were cooking it in.”
Click through the slideshow to find out which items 6 other celebrity chefs can't live without.
“I absolutely love the tostone press!” says Guy Fieri, restaurateur and host of Food Network’s top-rated show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." “In my opinion, not enough plantains are being cooked and enjoyed. This little tool and technique is so versatile. I use it regularly to make fried plantain cups for a Cuban ceviche.”
“Passion fruit is a must in my home,” says the Australian-born chef Curtis Stone, star of Bravo’s "Top Chef Duels" and owner of Maude in Beverly Hills. “It has a citrus-like freshness with an exotic flavor. Passion fruit is a very Aussie ingredient: We use it a lot there since it grows rather abundantly and is fairly inexpensive. But it's not used here in the States as much, and it tends to be rather expensive here. However, it's pretty easy to grow; I have passion fruit vines growing at my home, which yield quite a lot of fruit."
"Noble Vinegars—I just can't cook without them!” says Andrew Zimmern, host of Travel Channel’s "Bizarre Foods America." “The Pharaoh's Heirloom Lemon Matured White Wine Vinegar and the Noble Tonic #5 XO are my two favorites. Try drizzling the #5 over vanilla ice cream or fresh berries or both! That’s my kid’s favorite dessert. I know you are shocked, but you have to try it! I get mine from Mikuni Wild Harvest."
“My must-have ingredient is a turnip— it deserves love!” says Alex Guarnaschelli, chef of Butter Restaurant in New York City and TV personality on Food Network’s "Iron Chef" and "Chopped." “They're versatile. They have few calories. They're cheap, and they hang around for many months in the year. Turnips also take the flavor of spices—particularly allspice and black pepper—so well,” she adds. “They can be light in a spring salad or heavy as a Thanksgiving side. Come on, give turnips a chance!”
“My Breville juicer is one of my can’t-live-without appliances in the kitchen,” says Katie Lee, co-host of Food Network's "The Kitchen" and author of "The Comfort Table: Recipes for Everyday Occasions." “I make green juice daily," she adds. "Plus, it’s great for making summer cocktails, cucumber water and so much more. For my Mai Tai recipe, I juice fresh orange, pineapple and lime. It’s like vacation in a glass!”
“One of my favorite secret ingredients is hot red pepper flakes,” says Rocco DiSpirito, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of "The Pound a Day Diet". “They’re an easy way to add a bold kick of flavor to your food while revving up your metabolism," he notes. "With the exception of coffee ice cream, perhaps, I can't think of a dish red pepper flakes don't enhance."