Too often kitchen staff in commercial kitchens and domestic kitchens use the wrong utensils for food preparation.  There are reasons why utensils are designed the way they are, to maximise on efficiency and to treat each food type with the respect it deserves! Even the most experienced chef could benefit from time to time in refreshing his or her mind as to what utensils should be used during food preparation. Having all the right kitchen utensils in place will make your restaurant kitchen work quickly and flow well.

If someone is using the wrong utensil another kitchen worker might be hunting it down for the right task, therefore delaying his or her important job.  That’s why everyone needs to understand what should be readily available for each prep task.  Keeping a list handy, perhaps stuck on the wall, will help new kitchen staff members to know what utensils they should be using.  More importantly, have plenty of duplicates available, especially if you cater for large amounts of people, you don’t want someone to be looking for your only colander when it’s hiding in soapy water or going through the ware washer.

The Alliance website stocks every type of kitchen utensil imaginable, with many different finishes and materials.  All of our products come from reputable brand names and are built to deliver excellence and efficiency.  Here’s our guide to help your kitchen staff decipher which item should be used for which food preparation task.

Which Material?

Material is vital too.  For the best quality utensils look for stainless steel because while plastic has its uses, stainless steel is far more hardwearing and durable plus it will last for years so it’s well worth the extra investment.  Wood is another good material because it is natural so will withstand plenty of use but in the main, wood is used for rolling pins, chopping boards and some bowls.  Of course, glass is another strong material but because of its breakability it’s best to steer toward stainless steel or plastic instead. Here is some basic guidance:

  • Stainless steel utensils are practical and won’t absorb flavours. There is a possibility this material might scratch non-stick cookware.
  • Wood doesn’t scratch pots and pans but it does wear. If not cared for properly it can absorb flavours and stain.  It’s also not suitable for the dishwasher.  However, it’s good for non-stick cookware but must be washed in hot, soapy water and never left to soak.
  • Plastic is suitable for some uses, mainly mixing bowls and chopping boards. Plastic does have a melting point although melamine utensils can withstand high temperatures.
  • Silicone is an excellent material and can be used at high temperatures.

You should have the following in your kitchen:

  • Weights & Measures Measuring spoons and measuring cups are best for measuring out quantities without using scales. Buy measuring spoons & cups which are marked with the amount they hold so there is no risk of confusion. For liquids, have measuring jugs which are available up to 2.2 litres. For large quantities, quality scales are imperative, something like the digital Brabantia scales on the Alliance website or the Easiweight Platter Scales.  There are plenty of different sizes to choose from on the Alliance website.
  • Mixing Bowls Keep plenty of sizes available; small, medium and large. Stainless steel mixing bowls will last a lifetime, providing they are properly looked after. The Alliance products are available up to 8 litres and there are a variety of different materials from polypropylene to stainless steel, ceramic to plastic.  Have a number of different sizes and materials available so there is never any need to wait until one becomes available!
  • Chopping Boards You will need different chopping boards for different tasks. There are specific boards for meat and chicken, with special grooves around the edge to hold the juices.  Don’t use meat chopping boards for fruit or vegetables because you risk contamination.  It’s best to label up your different boards for what food they should be used for.  Wood will last for years, properly cared for.  Plastic boards are excellent for chopping fruit, vegetables, cheese and fish etc. although there is no strict rule.  The Rowplas chopping boards on the Alliance website are ideal for colour coding as they come in a variety of shades.
  • Chef’s Knife While there are a number of different knives for a variety of tasks you should keep a few chef’s knives (sometimes referred to as a cook’s knife) available because they can be used for many jobs from chopping vegetables, slicing fruit to cutting meat and poultry. Always keep your knives safely stored away in a knife block, magnetic knife rack or a similar.  The Alliance website stocks colour coded cook’s knives for convenience.


  • Paring Knife The other knife which should be readily available is a paring knife because it’s the kitchen essential for small tasks including chopping garlic or finely chopping herbs. Keep a few handy.
  • Wooden Spoon These are absolutely essential items which have endless uses and will last for years if looked after properly. There are plenty of wooden spoons on the Alliance website in varying lengths and strengths from light duty to heavy duty.
  • Peelers If your chef’s cook from scratch then vegetable peelers are a kitchen staple you won’t be able to be without. The Zenith ceramic peeler is a durable and practical piece but if you prepare large amounts of vegetables then consider a vegetable preparing machine such as the Sirman, making light of hard work!
  • Colanders & Strainers These are used every day throughout shifts because they are so versatile! Use for washing fruit and vegetables, straining pasta, rice, vegetables and plenty of other kitchen tasks.  For heavy-weight straining choose a colander with handles so they are easier to lift such as the 21.5cm stainless steel colander with wire handles as seen on the Alliance website.  Keep a number of different sizes available.
  • Graters Whether grating cheese, nutmeg or parmesan a selection of good quality graters will stand you in good stead in the kitchen. For more intensive vegetable preparation choose on of Alliance’s popular Robot Coupe food processors.
  • Can Openers How else will you open cans if you don’t have can openers? There are a variety of options from light to heavy duty available to choose from.

Hopefully this list of kitchen essentials will help you with the day to day basics, of course, it’s not an exhaustive list and anything else you need is available to purchase from the Alliance website.