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Getting good gear in the UK


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I'm curious if there are some loyal shoppers out there for buying kitchen goods(pots, pans, knifes, baking sheets, bowls etc etc). What are your favorite shops (and location please)? Any chains that are good quality? Independents that source great stuff or offer great service? Warehouses that offer good value? Retail opportunities to buy professional quality? Interested to hear what you love!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Following up to my own thread I'm wondering if people here would agree with some comments I've heard. Do you find that you investigate the kitchen equipment you want to buy in stores and then order online as it is much cheaper (even with international shipping) that way?

I'm in need of many pieces for my kitchen (best quality copper skillet, chefs knife, espresso machine, mixing bowls etc etc) and am new to the UK so hoping to find some great sources to buy but will shop online if that is what is recommended.

Thanks!

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Also in Shaftesbury Avenue you could try Leon Jaeggi. On line nisbets.com has a good range although their prices are variable, sometimes very cheap, sometimes overpriced, shop with care. Mind you seeing your list you might want to read Mark Bittman in the New York TImes about "pro" gear .

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Slightly off topic, but I don't subscribe to the idea that cheap kitchen equipment is great. You can get cheap functional stuff but most home cooks want a balance of form and function and that's one of those areas where you are going to pay one way or another. The most important question you should ask is do you really need all of the tools and when I'm honest with myself the answer is usually 'no'.

Anyway back on topic, yes, I tend to go to a major department store or local kitchen shop to find what I want and try it out for size, weight, quality etc. Only then look online to try and find it cheaper. Most of the time the high street comes out as favourable once you factor in postage etc.

Branded goods only attract a minimal discount online and you're better off waiting for the department stores to have a sale (I speak from bitter experience as I'm the man who spent a year looking online and in shops for a food processor only to eventually buy one from the shop round the corner). I have bought the odd knife from ebay but to be honest it's not worth the hassle/chance of a fake for a 5-10 pound discount (unless you're buying loads).

You can't beat nisbets and lakeland for plastic trays, spatulas, tongs and the more minor purchases. TK Maxx (if you're lucky to drop in at the right time) can do good pans, tea towels, baking trays and even electricals, but generally I find I'm as well off going to John Lewis, House of Fraser, selfridges etc at sale time and picking up something that looks nice and is right for me. My golden rule is to think very, very hard before buying anything with 'pro' or 'professional' in the name (even more so if it's in the shop name as well) as they are rarely either if those.

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I was going to start my own topic -- but my question largely fits in here pretty well. I am also trying to figure out where the best place is to buy kitchen/dining things in London. But, it's a slightly more specific question.

Where do people who love their kitchens (and entertaining) register for wedding presents? In the US, the standard is to register with Williams-Sonoma. As a newbie to the UK, I have no idea what the similar shops are.

I have the nice pots and pans, and china coming out of my ears, but now I need to replenish those practical things that didn't make through one of my moves in the last few years. (Chicago to Hawaii to New York and now, to London). Where can we register for better knives, a food mill, wooden spoons, delis/tupperware, silpat, decent baking trays, proofing baskets etc etc? (A couple of tableclothes for the kitchen table wouldn't be unwelcome either!)

Is my only choice really trying to sift through all of John Lewis?

Suggestions? Veiled clues? General laughter?

----------------------------------------------

Emily in London

http://www.august18th2007.com

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I was going to start my own topic -- but my question largely fits in here pretty well.  I am also trying to figure out where the best place is to buy kitchen/dining things in London.  But, it's a slightly more specific question.

Where do people who love their kitchens (and entertaining) register for wedding presents?  In the US, the standard is to register with Williams-Sonoma.  As a newbie to the UK, I have no idea what the similar shops are.

I have the nice pots and pans, and china coming out of my ears, but now I need to replenish those practical things that didn't make through one of my moves in the last few years. (Chicago to Hawaii to New York and now, to London).  Where can we register for better knives, a food mill, wooden spoons, delis/tupperware, silpat, decent baking trays, proofing baskets etc etc?  (A couple of tableclothes for the kitchen table wouldn't be unwelcome either!)

Is my only choice really trying to sift through all of John Lewis?

Suggestions? Veiled clues? General laughter?

If stores don't offer wedding registries, do they sell gift certificates? Maybe you can ask for those instead (although some people might think it's tacky)?

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