Shred, grate and grind like a pro

To do this… Use this… Or so says this chef…
Mince garlic cloves Microplane “It gives you the best minced texture (finer than the garlic press).”—Alex Kim, culinary director, Glowbal Restaurants, Vancouver
Cube butter Box grater “Use cold butter.”—Dawn Doucette, chef/owner, Douce Diner, North Vancouver
Grate cheese Vegetable peeler “Nobody likes washing a box grater.”—Joshua Chilton, chef, Clive’s Classic Lounge, Victoria
Mash potatoes Resting rack “Cook the potatoes unpeeled in aluminum foil, cut them in two, then push them through the rack! Like that, you won’t have to peel it.”—Alexandre Carrière, chef, Au Comptoir, Vancouver
Core apples and pears Measuring spoons “The spoon is usually sturdy enough and the different sizes let me adjust according to the size of the fruit.”—Lawren Moneta, food stylist, Vancouver

Public service announcement: you don’t have to peel ginger

“Ginger skin is very flavourful and just as nutritious. Save the skin,” says Phong Vo, executive chef of Vancouver’s Laowai and Bagheera. (Another food we have been wasting time peeling our whole lives? Kiwis.)

Ask a chef: What should I do with my food scraps?

“After washing and peeling purple beets, you can use the scraps to colour your pickled vegetables by adding some into your pickling jars.”—Alex Kim, culinary director, Glowbal Restaurants, Vancouver

“Take trim from fish or meat to make croquettes or meatballs.”—Ben Berwick, chef, Dachi, Vancouver

“I make croutons with stale bread, and use coffee grounds as plant fertilizer.”—Dawn Doucette, chef/owner, Douce Diner, North Vancouver

“Apple peels have tons of flavour and make great syrups. Cilantro stems are also full of flavour and make exceptional sauces.”Clark Deutscher, owner, Nowhere *a Restaurant and Hanks *a Restaurant, Victoria

“Carrot, beet or radish tops can be made into pesto.”—Lawren Moneta, food stylist, Vancouver

Get yourself a mandolin…

It’s a favourite tool of the pros; source a Japanese-style ultra-thin one if you can.

…and a microplane

If you love to grate, it’s great. The perfect tool for adding a dusting of nutmeg, lemon zest or parm to a dish. “They’re incredibly helpful for home cooking,” says Betty Hung, owner of Beaucoup Bakery, Vancouver. “Finely grating garlic and other vegetables, whole spices and cheese with ease helps to speed up the cooking process and allows you to stuff your face full of food on the couch quicker.”

Want more chef-approved cooking tips?  Cook Like a Pro: 40+ Cooking Tips, Tricks and Hacks From Western Canada’s Top Chefs