I can honestly say that my 10 must-haves in the galley have changed over the years. What was once important is not so much anymore. This view also applies to the 10 most important appliances or tools. It’s what you use the most, and what — over time — saves you the most time that makes the top 10 list.
As a chef, I thrive on creativity. I used to pour over “Food Arts” magazine and, sure, I brought a few aboard. But not anymore. Their idea of food just got way too crazy in ingredients list and modernist approach, so I had to put it down.
So that must-have went by the wayside.
Then, it used to be my favorite ring mold or favorite Shun knife. Not now. Those items stay home. What changed? In walked the iPad. I can’t be without my iPad onboard (and Internet, of course). It is a must-have for this chef.
Just an iPad, you may wonder? Don’t I travel with a tool box? I used to, but not anymore. With time and experience under my belt, I have been in a lot of situations that I didn’t have what I needed and I turned out some beautiful works of art in food on board. I learned that I don’t need to travel with everything, and I don’t need all the modern conveniences either. (Well, maybe just a few.)
Trust me, I know how to make springform pans out of heavy duty aluminum foil, ring molds out of small cans, and pulled sugar decorations using just a fork and knife steel. I know how to make knife shields using duct tape and cardboard and how to temper chocolate and create decorations using just my hands. And if you have a whip, you don’t need a mixer to add volume to egg whites.
Yes, I have some serious hand and arm muscles. But being good in the galley does not rely on having the latest greatest gadget nor is it having a complete set of top-of-the-line cookware.
Still, I do have 10 things I must have onboard, and I am sure other chefs have theirs. Is it a Vitamix with flour grinder attachment? Or is it the juicer? (For me, it’s both.)
Here are the things I just can’t live without in the galley, and the reasons I need them to be a better chef.
Mary Beth Lawton Johnson is a certified executive pastry chef and Chef de Cuisine and has worked on yachts for more than 25 years. Comments on this column are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.