Food Prep Tools Buying Guide: Transform Your Cooking with The Essentials

Essential Food Prep Tools Buying Guide

The right tools and equipment can make all the difference to your cooking experience. A whole gamut of options is available, from chopping boards to slicers and peelers. For that reason, too, it can be overwhelming to know which kitchen tools are essential and which are not. We've created this buying guide to help you choose the best kitchen food prep essentials and tools. We'll cover everything from chopping boards and colanders to garlic presses, graters, mortar and pestles, salad spinners, and more. By using proper food prep equipment, you'll not only save time and effort in the kitchen but also create more delicious and healthy meals. With the right tools, cooking can become a pleasure rather than a chore. So, let's get started and explore the essential kitchen tools you need to create culinary masterpieces!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top 10 kitchen tools every chef needs?

While not exhaustive, these are among the most popular kitchen tools:

  • Chef's Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Whisk
  • Saucepan
  • Saute Pan
  • Baking Sheet
  • Tongs
  • Food Processor

What is basic food preparation?

Basic food preparation refers to the initial steps involved in preparing ingredients for cooking or consumption. It typically includes activities such as washing, peeling, chopping, slicing, and measuring ingredients to ensure they are ready for cooking or further culinary processes. These essential tasks ensure that ingredients are clean, properly portioned, and in a suitable state for cooking or serving.

Chopping boards

Chopping boards are an essential kitchen tool for any home cook or chef. They provide a flat, sturdy surface for chopping, slicing, and dicing ingredients. Here are the different types of chopping boards and features to consider when choosing one:

Types of Chopping Boards

  • Wood: Made from various types of wood, such as bamboo chopping boards or hardwood chopping boards, these are durable and gentle on knives. Wooden chopping boards can also double up as serving boards (ensure boards are thoroughly washed and dried).
  • Plastic: Easy to clean and lightweight, plastic chopping boards are popular for everyday use.
  • Glass: Non-porous and easy to clean, glass boards are a good choice for preparing raw meats.

Features to Consider When Choosing a Chopping Board

  • Size: Choose a board that fits your countertop and is large enough for your chopping needs.
  • Thickness: A thicker board will last longer and be more durable.
  • Material: Consider what material is best for your needs based on durability, knife-friendliness, and maintenance.
  • Non-Slip: Look for a board with non-slip feet or a textured surface to prevent accidents.
  • Ease of Cleaning: Consider the cleaning process for each type of board and choose one that suits your needs.
  • Handles: Choose chopping boards with handles that make transferring food and storing your board easy.

For more information on buying the best, our chopping board buying guide has you covered.


Colanders are essential for draining liquids from foods like pasta or vegetables. Here are the different types of colanders and features to consider when choosing one:

Types of Colanders

  • Mesh: These are the most common type of colander, with small holes for straining.
  • Perforated: These have larger holes and are ideal for draining larger items like vegetables or fruits.
  • Collapsible: These space-saving options can be folded up and stored easily.

Features to Consider When Choosing a Colander

  • Size: Choose a colander that fits your sink or pot and is large enough for your needs.
  • Material: Stainless steel colanders, plastic colanders, and silicone colanders are common choices, each with advantages. Harris Scarfe offers a range of material options.
  • Drainage Holes: Consider the size and placement of the drainage holes for optimal straining.
  • Handles: Look for a colander with sturdy, comfortable handles for easy lifting and pouring.
  • Easy to Clean: Choose a colander that is easy to clean and dishwasher-safe for convenience.

Garlic Press

Garlic is a common ingredient in many recipes, and a garlic press can make food prep easier and quicker. Shop from a wide range of brands only at Harris Scarfe. Here are the benefits of using a garlic press and features to consider when choosing one:

Benefits of Using a Garlic Press

  • Easy to Use: Garlic presses are simple, requiring minimal effort to crush garlic cloves.
  • Consistent Results: A press ensures that garlic is evenly minced, resulting in a more consistent flavour in your dishes.
  • Saves Time: Using a garlic press saves time compared to manually mincing garlic cloves.

Features to Consider When Choosing a Garlic Press

  • Material: Garlic presses are available in stainless steel, aluminium, and plastic. Stainless steel is durable, while aluminium is lightweight and easy to use. Plastic, while affordable, is less durable.
  • Cleaning: For convenience, look for a garlic press that is easy to clean and dishwasher-safe.
  • Handle: Choose a garlic press with comfortable, non-slip handles for a better grip.
  • Design: Some garlic presses have a built-in cleaning tool or a mechanism to remove the garlic skins.

Slicers & Peelers

Slicers and peelers can make it effortless when preparing fruits and vegetables. Here are the types of slicers and peelers and features to consider when choosing one:

Types of Slicers and Peelers

  • Mandoline Slicer: This tool has adjustable blades and can slice vegetables and fruits into different thicknesses. You can purchase mandoline slicers from brands like OXO and Cuisena at Harris Scarfe. We also recommend this Chef's slicer from OXO, with up to 21 different cuts with thickness settings in 0.5-mm intervals, straight and wavy blades, and built-in julienne and French fry blades.
  • Spiraliser: A spiraliser can create spiral-shaped cuts of vegetables like zucchini or carrots. Choose from single and three-blade hand spiralisers only on Harris Scarfe.
  • Y-Peeler: This peeler is shaped like a "Y" and is ideal for peeling vegetables like potatoes and carrots. Shop brands like OXO, Zyliss and Joseph Joseph.
  • Straight Peeler: A straight peeler is best for peeling fruits and vegetables with delicate skin, like apples and tomatoes. Shop our highly-rated multi-peel straight peeler from Joseph Joseph. Alternatively, you could opt for the smoothly gliding swivel peeler by Zyliss.

Features to Consider When Choosing a Slicer or Peeler

  • Blade Quality: Look for a slicer or peeler with blades made from high-quality materials that enhance longevity.
  • Versatility: Consider the types of cuts the slicer or peeler can make and how versatile it is for different foods.
  • Safety: Look for features like finger guards to prevent injuries.
  • Ease of Cleaning: Choose one that is easy to clean and dishwasher safe.
  • Grip: Look for a slicer or peeler with comfortable, non-slip handles for better grip and control.



Graters shred, grate or zest various foods such as cheese, vegetables, and fruits. Here are the types of graters and features to consider when choosing one:

Types of Graters

  • Box Grater: This is a traditional grater with four sides and different grating options, including a fine grater, a coarse grater, and a slicing blade, like our 5-star rated, four-sided box grater by Avanti.
  • Microplane Grater: This type of grater is ideal for extracting citrus fruit zest and grating hard cheeses like Parmesan. You'll love the Microplane Elite 5-In-1 box grater with five different grater blades, including ultra coarse, coarse, fine, shaver and ribbon.
  • Rotary Grater: Alternatively, a rotary grater is ideal for grating hard cheeses or shredding vegetables like carrots. Try the Good Grips OXO seal and store rotary grater to grate and store cheese inside.

Features to Consider When Choosing a Grater

  • Blade Quality: Shop graters with blades from quality materials to ensure longevity.
  • Versatility: Consider the types of cuts the grater can make and its versatility for different foods.
  • Size: Choose a large grater to accommodate the food you will be grating but also small enough for storage and handling ease.
  • Durability: Opt for durable materials that can withstand regular use.
  • Ease of Cleaning: Prioritise cleaning and ensure they're dishwasher safe.

Mortar & Pestle

A mortar and pestle grind, crush, and mix herbs, spices, and other ingredients. It's a versatile tool you can use for various food prep tasks. Here are the benefits of using a mortar and pestle and features to consider when choosing one:

Benefits of Using a Mortar and Pestle

  • Enhanced Flavour: The grinding process releases essential oils and flavours, enhancing your food's taste.
  • Consistency: You can control the coarseness or fineness of the ingredients. Mortar pestles are particularly favourable for dishes that prefer coarsely crushed ingredients.
  • Healthier Option: Using a mortar and pestle could be more nutritious than a food processor or blender as it does not heat the ingredients, retaining their nutrients.

Features to Consider When Choosing a Mortar and Pestle

  • Material: Mortar and pestles come in different materials, such as stone, wood, and ceramic.
  • Shape: Choose a mortar and pestle with a deep enough bowl to prevent ingredients from spilling out while grinding.
  • Grip: Choose a pestle with a comfortable grip for easy handling.

Salad Spinners

A salad spinner helps wash and dry salad greens, herbs, and vegetables. It consists of a basket, a colander, and a mechanism for spinning the greens to remove excess water. Here are the benefits of using a salad spinner and features to consider when choosing one:

Benefits of Using a Salad Spinner

  • Quick and Efficient: A salad spinner can quickly and efficiently dry salad greens and other vegetables, saving time and effort in the kitchen.
  • Crispier Greens: Removing excess water can help them stay crisper and fresher for longer.
  • Multi-purpose: Salad spinners can wash and dry herbs, berries, and other small fruits.

Features to Consider When Choosing a Salad Spinner

  • Size: Choose a salad spinner with a size that suits your needs. If you have a small kitchen, consider a compact spinner that can be easily stored. For instance, the Zyliss Easy Spin 2 salad spinner lets you easily wash 2-3 servings of salad leaves - making it an apt choice for families.
  • Spin Mechanism: Look for a salad spinner with a smooth and easy-to-use spin mechanism. Some spinners have a pump mechanism, while others have a pull cord.
  • Additional Features: Some salad spinners have features like a removable colander or a built-in drain, like this Davis & Waddell red salad spinner.

Other Tools

In addition to the above, we listed a few other food prep equipment to make your life easier in the kitchen. These include:

  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Kitchen Shears
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Cutting Knives
  • Can Opener
  • Kitchen Scale
  • Silicone Spatulas
  • Whisks

When choosing these tools, consider the materials, durability, and ease of use to ensure they will last and make your food preparation tasks more straightforward and efficient.

Buy the Best Food Prep Tools At Harris Scarfe

Harris Scarfe is an excellent choice when buying food preparation tools, suiting every budget and cooking style. With a wide variety of brands and products available both online and in-store, you're sure to find what you need to equip your kitchen with the best tools for your cooking needs. You can find everything from bare essentials to high-end speciality items. Moreover, brands are renowned for their quality, durability and performance. That means you'll save time, money and effortlessly zip through your time in the kitchen. Plus, it's easy to shop. Whether you shop online or in-store, Harris Scarfe makes finding and purchasing the food prep tools you need easy. Get more advice and great articles on the Hub today - some great articles you might like include the Kitchen Storage Buying Guide, Cookware Buying Guide, Types of Kitchen Knives Guide and 7 Cookware Essentials.

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