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There are many different tools and pieces of equipment that modernist chefs use. These range from $5 tweezers used in plating to $10,000 rotary evaporators. Even with all this variety, someone getting started can get by with just four items, only costing $100 to $150 combined. All of these are used quite often when creating modernist dishes. Fortunately, many cooks already have most of these items in their kitchen.
Here are links directly to my suggestions for the equipment you need to get ready using modernist cooking. Click a link to buy now from Amazon or Modernist Pantry, or scroll down for a more detailed description of each item.
Need a little more information before you make your decision? Here's everything you need to know about each item listed above.
The majority of recipes for modernist cooking specify the amounts of ingredients by weight rather than volume. Therefore, it is important that the modernist cook have two digital scales: One for relatively large amounts of ingredients and one for very small amounts. This scale is for large amounts and should have a capability in the range of 2.2 kg to 4.5 kg (5-10 pounds).
This OXO Good Grips Food Scale has a 2.3 kg (5 lb) capacity and a "zero" function. It also has a pull-out display which is really handy when using a large container or if weighing boxes headed to the post office.
The gram scale is necessary to weigh the relatively small amounts of modernist ingredients used in modernist cooking recipes. Typical amounts used in recipes range from 0.1 to 20.0 grams. The gram scale should have a minimum of 0.1 gram increments.
The American Weight Scales Black Blade Digital Pocket Scale is quite small and inexpensive. It can weigh up to 400 grams in 0.1 gram increments.
In modernist cooking an immersion blender is needed to blend in many of the ingredients to ensure they are evenly mixed. A standing blender can be used but it's so much more convenient to use an immersion blender. It is also very useful in traditional cooking to puree sauces and soups and to make vinaigrette's and mayonnaise. Obtaining one with a whisk attachment will also save you a lot of work down the road.
The Breville BSB510XL Control Grip Immersion Blender is a high quality unit that comes with an ergonomic pistol grip for easy control. It has an 8" immersion depth for deep pots, 15 adjustable speeds and comes with a whisk attachment and chopping bowl. A unique advantage is that it has a non-scratch guard on the bottom to prevent chipping and scratching of nonstick cookware.
This unit is the highest rated by Consumer Reports by a "sizable margin". The unit is more expensive than most, so depending on your budget, you may want to explore less expensive alternatives.
A whisk is a simple, but important, tool in the modernist chef's arsenal. Better whisks have at least 10 loops of wire that are thin and flexible making them more efficient.
The OXO Good Grips 11" Balloon Whisk is a "Best Seller" on Amazon and is also recommended as the best whisk by two other prestigious websites. It has 10 stainless steel wire loops, and like most OXO products, is very ergonomic, making it less fatiguing to use.