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Pastry Chef Tool List

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello all,
        I hope I am posting in the right place... I am new to ChefTalk.com and I am starting a pastry chef class in August.  I want to get a head start on all the tools I will need for school and after.  I have spent about 5 hours reading a bunch of different posts trying to answer this question before I posted it.  I have been unable to find a comprehensive tool list.  All the school told me was to buy my chef coats and pants and they will give me a list at the first class.  I really want the summer too build my kit bit by bit so I can get the best tools available instead of running around trying to find stuff in the first week of school. I have found some lists but they are for chefs and not pastry chefs.  In addition to your tool lists, if you are able to provide good manufacturers of the products, that would be great.  I have been looking at the F Dick line and I like them but I am wondering if there are better... I would rather spend a good amount of money on the best so I wont have to worry about having to rebuy in the next year or two.  
post #2 of 7
Ther are two thoughts to buying the best...

There are garbage tools, (avoid at all costs)  then there are tools that do the job perfectly well, then there are beautiful tools that perform the same as the  perfectly well tools.

My advice after 25-odd years in this biz?


Get the tools that perform perfectly well.  The beautifull tools will get lost, abused, or stolen at school/ work.

For a pastry position you will need:

A 8-10" Chef's knife (nothing too fancy,you'll be hacking chocolate and chopping nuts with this)
a 10-12" Serrated slicer
A paring knife (better to have two or three cheap ones-- you can lend them out when you need help with 3 cases of strawbs)
Apple peeler
8" spatula
Offset spatula
3" spatula
assorted piping bag tips
Assorted cutters
Microplane grater

Capable of 5-10 kg capacity in 2-5 gr increments 
Sugar thermometer
Regular thermometer
Children's fever thermometer (for chocolate work)
a bunch of plastic bowl scapers
a bunch of rubber spatulas (I prefer the Rubbermaid "Spoonula")
a Couple of good wire whisks

A LOCKABLE tool box, preferably plastic, like a fishing tackle box
If everyone's is blue, then make yours green.

IDENTIFY your equipment.  Some guys use a Dremel tool to engrave their name on everything, some guys crudely carve their initials, some guys get sneaky and use a can of "Plasti-dip" a colourfull rubber-like paint that you dip tools into.  It's the coating you see on pliar handles and the like--available at hardware and auto-parts stores.

From here on in, you can go as funky as you want to.

Again, I repeat, keep the nice and fancy stuff at home.

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you for that list.  I am starting to purchase some of the items on the list.  I was wondering if anyone had suggestions on knife brand?  I have budgeted for about $150 per knife.  I am not sure if I should go Japanese or German for the blade.  I know some cooking students that swear by Japanese blades but I am not sure if the same goes for pastry chefs?
post #4 of 7
Go for reasonably priced--whichis what 95% of the schools do, and most end up choosing Victorinox, a.k.a Forschner--probably the best value for the money.

I repeat, for pastry work you will NOT rely as much on your knives as cooks do.

Unless you are familiar with sharpening, sharpening techniques, and basic metallurgy--or have someone who you can trust implicitly to sharpen Japanese knives for you, leave them alone.  Think of then as kinda like a Ferarri:  Extreme high performance, but a lot of work to maintain and a certain amount of babying. 
Whatchyaneed is a Chevy, at least until you're comfortable with everything in the kitchen.

Hope this helps
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #5 of 7

I've been in culinary school for 3 years (part time), and I can attest to the fact that THINGS WALK. I haven't lost any knives, but things like scissors, measuring cups, wooden spoons, spatulas, etc., keep disappearing in the frenzy to clean up the baking lab. Sometimes they turn up in a later class, sometimes they just need to be replaced.


My BEST FRIEND is a Salter digital scale, 11 pound capacity, weighs to 0.05 ounce. I got it at Bed Bath and Beyond for about $50 (watch for coupons.)


I would add to the previous list:

measuring cups (dry and liquid)  Make sure yours look different from everyone else's.

measuring spoons

kitchen shears

chocolate thermometer

set of Wilton or Ateco decorating tips, with rose nails and a few couplers

heat proof silicon spatulas

wooden spoon

cake tester

small calculator


ANYTHING IN SHORT SUPPLY AT YOUR SCHOOL. We have a short supply of small plastic containers and liquid measuring cups. I got my own set of 3 plastic cups; 8, 16, and 32 ounces. My life has been a whole lot easier since then.


I  use my chef's knife mostly to chop chocolate, nuts, and butter. There is orange zest and an occasional onion, but usually just chocolate, nuts, and butter. You will need a long serrated knife for breads and for torting cakes.


At my school, we have to take 2 semester classes of savory in addition to the pastry curriculum. I carried around a lot more stuff for that, but was happy to ditch the oyster knife and the rest of it when I finished.


Good luck and have fun!

post #6 of 7

can anyone suggest a good place to purchase these things?

remember yesterday, hope for tomorrow, live TODAY
remember yesterday, hope for tomorrow, live TODAY
post #7 of 7

My two cents - 

Keep in mind that the type of tools you will need depend a lot on what type of pastry work you are going to be doing.  Chocolate and candy work require much different tools than cake decorating or plated desserts.  

My absolute favorite knife is a 10-inch, pointed tip, serrated knife by F. Dick.  It's not too expensive and the extra length is great for trimming cake tops.

I agree with Foodpump, that a toolbox is the way to go, but this may depend on your plans for after school.  Many places I worked when I first got out of school required me to bring my tools with me each day, since there was no safe place to leave even a locked box overnight.  And I also found that initially I didn't need to provide quite as many tools.  Though I don't have one, I have really been admiring the Koobi tool kit that one of my co-workers uses.  It has much larger pouches for various pastry tools that don't lie flat, but can be carried with an over-the-shoulder strap.  Here is a link - http://www.koobikit.com/products_knifebag_d301.htm


As for other places to buy your tools - always check Amazon first.  They may not carry some of the more specialized items, but for most things, I always find their prices best, plus you usually get the free shipping and no sales tax.  For some things - like a peeler, I don't feel it is worth getting the nicest, ergonomic gripped $15 peeler.  The Kuhn Rikon, $3 Y peeler does the job and is cheap enough you can get a new one when the blade dulls.

Make sure you have a pair of scissors and a good ruler without the padded back that some come with (It makes it harder to wash).  


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