Given the unscheduled time and solitude provided by pandemic-induced lockdowns, this might have been the year you finally rolled up your sleeves and took a decisive step into your kitchen—you were going to learn how to cook properly, once and for all. Now, you find yourself in the throes of a home-cooking obsession, whipping up restaurant-worthy meals daily that taste even better because of a secret ingredient—effort.
If the kitchen is now where you spend most of your evenings, tinkering with your favourite recipes and prepping ingredients for your next project, its time to turn your attention to the tools you are using. Surely, you can benefit from a gorgeous French oven that will turn out the most perfect chicken casserole, or a brand new knife set that you’ve earned thanks the culinary progress you’ve made.
If you’re looking to up the ante in your kitchen, take as your guide this Vogue-approved list of gadgets and appliances that are as sophisticated as they are useful—and will take your cooking to the next level.
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Bonded Teak 7-Piece Knife Set from Schmidt Brothers
Investing in a serious knife set is a landmark sign of graduation in the kitchen—every home cook worth their salt reaches a point when they stop using the same couple of knives for everything. This set of seven is crafted from durable German steel and richly grained South Asian teak. Including everything from a four-inch paring blade to a nine-inch bread knife, it comes with a stylish magnetic knife board, allowing for easy display and storage.
$407.60, available at Williams Sonoma
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Graphite Grill & Toaster Oven from Aladdin Sengoku
Don’t let its quaint vintage design fool you—this powerful infrared toaster oven from Japanese brand Aladdin Sengoku can heat up to 200 degrees Celsius in under a second, with no preheating required. It holds up to four slices of bread, and will pop them out perfectly crispy on the outside and fluffy inside every time.
$320, available at Cote Maison
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Milk Frother from Smeg
Smeg’s take on this underrated kitchen tool instantly elevates it to a piece to be displayed proudly in your kitchen—no surprise coming from a brand known for its premium appliances infused with retro design flair. This sturdy milk frother can whip up your morning cappuccinos and afternoon lattes in no time. If you’re reminiscing the early days of quarantine, you can even use it to make the Instagram-favourite Dalgona coffee.
$228, available at Smeg
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Oval Acacia Wood Chopping Board from A by Amara
This organically-shaped chopping board offers more than just utility—the Acacia wood its made with has a natural grain and a myriad of light and dark tones, forming a beautiful base for a charcuterie board or cheese plate you may be assembling for guests.
$77, available at Amara
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Roll Top Bread Bin from Brabantia
Bread has reigned king as this year’s kitchen project of choice—whether it’s the cake-like banana loaf you favour, or the trendy sourdough. If you’ve found yourself with too many loaves and nowhere to store them, consider this sleek bread bin from Brabantia, which is designed with a flat top for convenience and a knobbly base for sufficient ventilation.
$128, available at Crate&Barrel
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French Oven from Le Creuset
This heavy duty pot comes from everyone’s cult favourite French brand Le Creuset, known for its glossy aesthetic and impeccable quality that stays intact for decades on end. While their French ovens have long been hailed as the gold standard thanks to their premium enamel, even heat conduction, and tight-fitting lids, this new moody colour is miles apart from the brand’s usual candy-coloured offerings—and a worthy addition to your kitchenware collection.
$809, available at Crate&Barrel
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Spice Mortar from Gense
Whether you are making a spice mix for your favourite Peranakan dish or mashing up some guacamole for taco night, a quality pestle and mortar set is a key item to have in your kitchen. This cast-iron version from Gense has been heat-treated with rapeseed oil, ensuring that it will stand the test of time.
$68.95, available at Finnish Design Shop
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Copper Fondue Set from Boska
To pull out all the stops at your next dinner party, bring out this fondue set from Boska, which comes with four fondue forks and a sturdy concrete base. Made with copper for even heat distribution, the appliance is both chic and functional, making for a memorable communal activity you and your guests can enjoy in the comfort of your own home.
$191, available at Amara