Karen Akunowicz: 11 Veggie Tools These Professional Chefs Reach for All Summer Long


We have one key rule when it comes to summer produce: Prepping and cooking in-season veggies shouldn’t be an hours-long affair. (Actually, we probably have a few rules, but for the sake of this story, we’re just going to focus on the one.) And with the height of produce season among us, we thought we’d ask the pros for their go-tools that make quick work of the tasks. What utensils and gadgets do they use when prepping veggies in the height of produce season? Their answers included things that are ultra-simple (a good, sharp knife) and super-specific (a corer). Here are 11 items that are — quite literally — the tools of the trade for summer veg.


10. A Fish Spatula 

It’s true: You need a fish spatula. Even if you never cook fish! These thin, flexible spatulas perform much better than their heftier cousins, which makes them perfect for delicate cooking tasks. Chef Karen Akunowicz of Boston’s Fox & the Knife (and the soon-to-be-open Bar Volpe) uses hers to flip zucchini on the grill. If you’ve ever lost half a squash between the grates as you fumble around with tongs, you’re going to want to invest in one, too.


11. A Nonstick Grill Basket 

See above re: slippery zucchini. Grill baskets are key for cooking thin or delicate veggies that could benefit from char, but are too small for the grates. Akunowicz frequently uses hers for asparagus, as well as onion slices — if you’ve been adding raw onions to your burgers, consider this a mega upgrade. The nonstick coating is ideal for veggies that get “jammy when cooked, like eggplant, and makes cleanup even easier.”

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