Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Just Starting Out: What Should I Buy First?

Recommended Posts

My family is just starting out with modernist cooking, and we can't afford to buy all the recommended equipment at once. What is the community's advice on the devices that will get us cooking most quickly?

My shopping list currently has:

Sous Vide temperature controller (What does the community think of these, as they are far less expensive than the water baths mentioned in the gear guide?) http://freshmealssolutions.com/store/categories/SousVideMagic-Temperature-Controller/

Toddy Cold Brewing Kit: https://toddycafe.com/cold-brew/why-toddy-cold-brew

Jaccard tenderizer: http://www.jaccard.com/Original-Super-Meat-Tenderizer--48-Knife_p_10.html

We have a vacuum sealer already, as well as the usual normal kitchen gadgets. We also don't have an excessive amount of space.

Thanks for any advice!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Sous Vide PID will be perfect. Just make sure you have a water pump or don't fill your bath too much. After the sous-vide setup. The first thing I would buy is a pressure cooker. After that it depend on what you like to cook/experiment. It may be the new steel plate for the pizza, a good blender or a syphon.

Have fun


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Artur,

Unfortunately I had problems finding stuff locally. Sometime you're lucky and find it locally but I mostly buy online. The shipping costs are often killing us so I try to make a big order and share it with friends. If you're looking for ingredients I have many of them and would be happy to share them at cost. Feel free to contact me. If you're looking for specific hardware or ingrediens in Montreal area. Tell me what you're looking for because I go everywhere from hardware stores to winemaking places to find my things...

Good luck


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I found a small distributor of cooking appliances on Montreal's South Shore, many of which are 'modernist' oriented.

Company name is Testtek, I have nothing but nice things to say about them. Not sure how their prices compare though, can't say I've done that much shopping on things I bought from them, but they seemed competitive.


Apart from there, it's been all online purchases for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would definitely go with the SVM 1500D HD PID controller. I have bought 4 of them now. 2 that I gave away, and 2 that I use regularly.

With the first one, I have been using with an 8 quart electric fryer that I got at a garage sale for $5. I suggest you go on craigslist or go to garage sales to look for any kind of electrical cooking gadget like that one to save money.

A year or two after I had started using the 8 quart, which is big enough to cook most of what you'd ever need to, really, I splurged and spend $150 on a butterball turkey fryer, which can let you sous vide a 22lb turkey to perfection or a whole bunch of other stuff. When I'm cooking two whole briskets for a big party, the big fryer comes in very handy.

I would recommend that you preheat the water to save wear and tear on the svm, and learning how to use the autotune is a must. also get a couple extra probes, in case a probe goes out on you. this has happened to me a few times, and of course it's right when you're using it.

The SVM was the one of the first modernist gadgets I bought, but far from the last. Keep your eyes out at garage sales and auctions (for restaurants and labs) for good deals on a lot of the other stuff.

I'd say a close second to what's useful for me is the pressure cooker. the kuhn rikon ones are great, as are the german made fisslers. You really need to experience caramelized carrot soup and garlic confit, both of which are easy to make once you have a pressure cooker. I also love how it's possible to make pulled pork in 20 minutes in a pressure cooker. that's just kinda awesome.

One thing i'm really happy to have is a berkel 350 chamber vacuum sealer. I had been doing sous vide with microwaveable/freezer ziplock bags for at least a year and doing a pretty good job of it before I stumbled upon the berkel 350 at a restaurant auction. I have discovered that this is a very useful appliance and i've found that I use it just about every day for one reason or another. It's not only great for sous vide, but for food preservation, especially in the freezer, as well as the fridge. Certain recipes, such as compressed marinaded watermelon and aerated chocolate are really nice bonuses of that particular toy.

I forgot to mention my infra red laser thermometer. I use that a lot. I also use my accurate scales often.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I started experimenting with Modernist cooking, the first things I bought were a digital thermometer, digital scale, and a kit of Modernist ingredients. They are all pretty inexpensive (I bought them all on Amazon, and I'm pretty sure that Amazon.ca has comparable products) and easily fit in my small kitchen.

Judy Wilson

Editorial Assistant

Modernist Cuisine

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you everyone! It's good to know about the SVM 1500D HD PID controller and Testek.

In terms of hardware, I'm thinking of getting the following:

- digital scale

- thermometer (the one I have hasn't been great)

- pressure cooker

- sous vide appliance (I think my rice cooker wouldn't work properly with the PID controller)

- whipping siphon + nitrous oxide

- immersion blender

- dehydrator

Louis-Frederic - thank you for the offer! I'm trying to find a way to private-message you but I haven't been able to do that.

In any case - do you have any specific recommendations for shopping online or in person for those items, or has amazon.ca been enough? (I've found it to be fairly limited with some other appliances in comparison to amazon.com before!) I might try to also check out Testek at some point, although maybe if other places don't have more competitive prices.

I'll let you know if there are ingredients that I can't find in case you've had to get them or to see if you happen to have any extra!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...