Upgrade Your Kitchen to Elegant  | The Boquete Gourmet
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Upgrade Your Kitchen to Elegant

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December 31, 1969 7:00 PM

If you are a “foodie” and love to cook like I do, make sure you have these up-to-date items in your kitchen.  You don’t need to spend a lot of money - just aim for a collection of things that make you feel like you can prepare anything.  You probably have what you need now, but why not upgrade?

These items and utensils will make kitchen time easier, more distinguished, and more fun!

Pepper Mill

There’s a massive choice of pepper grinders and it’s tempting to go for the one that looks fancy or has better form than function. Unless you want to be continually replacing pepper mills, choose one that’s durable and is easy to fill.  Foodies recommend the Unicorn Magnum or Peugeot models.   Don’t bother with a salt grinder, they won’t work in Panama because of the moisture, but a cute little dish filled with salt can be used on your table for a nice touch. They are easily available, sometimes for less than a dollar.

Sharp, Good Quality Knives

At Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School last summer, I learned that the best knives, according to master French chefs, are made by Wusthof.  I noticed that every student had a roll of these expensive knives, the ones with the red square on the handles.  Why not just buy one Wusthof Chef Knife?  You’ll be using it every day and feel like a “real” chef.  I don’t know where to buy this brand in Panama, but they’re available on Amazon, click here to see them, they’re magnificant!

Stainless Steel Cookware

The arguments about peeling non-stick surfaces and the potential danger to health are many, and although it’s not clear what the impact might be, it’s far better to err on the side of caution and buy stainless steel pans. I love having glass lids that show what’s happening inside. I just found Rachel Ray’s new set of cookware at the Arrocha Department Store in David, and that set would be a perfect way to upgrade my kitchen - and, the handles are orange!

Hardwood Cutting Board

Living in Panama provides us with the opportunity to get really high-quality hardwoods for using as cutting boards, and they’re so reasonable! My husband David, has made several boards for me that get used often, I love them. Sand your cutting board often with fine-grit sandpaper. Buy a bottle of cutting board oil, mineral oil, or olive oil and rub on a thin, even coat regularly. You’ll love the look in your kitchen!


This should be a standard piece of equipment in any gourmet kitchen. Be sure to buy a stainless steel model, and one that is powerful enough to make peanut butter.  The Breville model linked above is the one I would buy.  But, my first purchase will be cookware, then I can think about my new blender.

Stainless Steel Gadgets

Forget the “As seen on TV” gadgets, a cooks kitchen needs high-quality, well-made, stainless steel equipment.  Our kitchens are no place for plastic, miss-matched, ugly gizmos.  I’m talking about amassing real chef-standard tools.  Upgrade to a real Microplane grater, colander, swivel vegetable peeler, wine opener, and 2 or 3 sizes of whisks.  From now on, try to make sure everything you buy is stainless steel.

Hand Mixer

A stainless steel hand mixer like this one, or even a hand whisk can complete your equipment collection. The big Kitchenaid stand mixers are magnificent, but if you have a good quality hand mixer, you can save lots of space and expense. Reaching for this hand mixer would be much easier and more fun, don’t you think?

In the beginning, I said that upgrading your kitchen to elegant doesn’t need to cost a lot of money, but a couple upgrades listed might be out of your budget for now. You can begin with just one item and upgrade as you can.

TIP: Whenever you’re in David and you want to have some fun shopping to upgrade your kitchen, go to the “cheap streets” and see what you find for a couple dollars. The stores near the central park in David have some amazing merchandise, many things are made of stainless steel and come in sleek designs. You may need to ask directions to Daisy’s Department Store, Piccadilly, The Shopping Center, Podoroso, or Jackies, but you’ll be happy with what you find, and you may want to return again and again, like I do.

Happy hunting!

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