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For those who don’t know my background (before retiring to a world of golf and watching old movies), I owned and operated restaurants and a catering company in Providence and Newport, RI. I spent most of my time going back and forth from behind the bar to the kitchen. While I’m not a Michelin-starred chef, I do know my way around creating menus and preparing foods that kept customers coming back for years and years (including the likes of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Peter Wolf, Stephen Spielberg and more). I believe that it isn’t about just having a stocked pantry. That’s why this list is about having meticulously curated chef-approved essentials, and where cooking tools that are more than just utensils; they’re the secret ingredients to elevating your culinary creations. In this post, I am on a quest to refresh your pantry and upgrade your cooking tools with the discerning eye of a seasoned chef. From handpicked snacks that are MORE than just those regular chips to precision-engineered tools designed to streamline your cooking process, join me as I delve into the world of top-tier pantry essentials and kitchen upgrades that promise to transform your home cooking experience.

Kitchen Tools

Viking Hard Anodized Nonstick 2-Quart Sauce Pan with Glass Lid

Viking Hard Anodized Nonstick 2-Quart Sauce Pan with Glass Lid, a versatile essential for every kitchen. Crafted with precision and expertise, this saucepan delivers exceptional performance and durability. Its triple-layer nonstick coating, combined with hard-anodized aluminum construction, ensures even heating and effortless food release, making cooking and cleaning a breeze. The hard-anodized exterior and cut rims not only enhance durability but also add a touch of elegance to your cookware collection. Equipped with a convenient domed tempered glass lid, this saucepan allows for precise evaporation control and optimal heat circulation, ensuring perfect results every time. The riveted signature Viking stay-cool handles are ergonomically designed for balance, comfort, and control, providing a secure grip even when the heat is on. With a temperature-safe range of up to 400°F/204°C for the pan and 350°F/176°C for the glass lid, this saucepan offers versatility for a wide range of cooking techniques. Compatible with all cooking surfaces except induction, and backed by a limited lifetime warranty, the Viking Hard Anodized Nonstick Sauce Pan with Glass Lid is a true kitchen essential that combines superior performance with timeless design.

Viking 3-Ply Hybrid Plus 12-inch Nonstick Fry Pan

Introducing the Viking 3-Ply Hybrid Plus 12-inch Nonstick Fry Pan, a culinary powerhouse designed to revolutionize your cooking experience. Crafted with precision and expertise, this fry pan boasts a cutting-edge 3-Ply construction, ensuring rapid and uniform heating along with impeccable rim-to-rim heat distribution for consistently delicious results. What sets this pan apart is its innovative raised stainless pattern, ingeniously engineered to safeguard the nonstick surface from the rigors of metal utensils, ensuring longevity without compromising on performance. With a double-layer nonstick coating, this pan promises unparalleled durability and effortless food release, making cleanup a breeze. Designed with user comfort in mind, the ergonomic stay-cool handle features a built-in finger guide, facilitating easy lifting, holding, and tilting without the risk of burns. Compatible with induction cooktops, this versatile pan is a must-have addition to any kitchen arsenal. Backed by a limited lifetime warranty, the Viking 3-Ply Hybrid Plus Fry Pan is not just a kitchen tool; it’s a testament to exceptional craftsmanship and culinary excellence.

Soyabella Plant-Based Milk Maker

Introducing the Soyabella® Plant-Based Milk Maker, your ultimate kitchen companion for crafting fresh, wholesome plant-based milks and more in a matter of minutes. With its patented helical grinding blade, Soyabella effortlessly transforms nuts, seeds, grains, and beans into creamy milk with just a touch of a button, offering a quick and convenient alternative to store-bought options. Whether you’re a raw vegan seeking instant plant-based delights or simply looking to enhance your culinary repertoire, Soyabella’s versatility shines through. Beyond milk, this innovative appliance excels at creating silky puréed soups, nutritious superfood cereals, and indulgent nut and seed creams, catering to a variety of tastes and dietary preferences. Plus, with its ability to operate in both raw and heated modes, you have the flexibility to experiment with recipes to suit your preferences. With the Soyabella, the possibilities are endless, making it a must-have addition to any kitchen. Choose from sleek black or pristine white to complement your kitchen aesthetic and embark on a journey of culinary exploration with ease and convenience.


Shine Kitchen Co. Easy Cold Press Juicer with XL Feed Chute

Warm weather and fresh juice!!! YUM. This Shine Kitchen Co.® Easy Cold Press Juicer with XL Feed Chute is a game-changer in the world of juicing. Engineered for simplicity and efficiency, the Shine SJX Easy Juicer boasts an Xtra-large feed chute, allowing for hassle-free batch filling and continuous operation, all while maintaining a compact footprint that won’t clutter your countertop. With only three parts to assemble and clean, this juicer makes daily juicing a breeze, ensuring minimal effort and maximum convenience. The integrated easy-clean screen and quick-fill flip top streamline the juicing process, while the powerful motor ensures optimal extraction of nutrients from your favorite fruits and vegetables. From refreshing morning blends to nutrient-packed green juices, the Shine SJX Easy Juicer is your ticket to enjoying delicious, homemade beverages with ease. Choose from classic white or sleek gray to complement your kitchen decor and elevate your juicing experience to new heights.


BlendJet 2

You don’t need to be a professional barista to make those delicious springtime refreshers and iced coffees that you can’t get enough of. I am a SMOOTHIE junkie. Whether it’s my first thing in the morning routine or while on the run, an iced cold drink with added protein is my go-to for staying slim and healthy.


You’ll love how with the BlendJet 2, it’s easy to ditch that drive-thru addiction in favor of something both tastier and healthier! Whether it’s a quick matcha pick-me-up, that fluffy TikTok coffee you’ve been dying to try, or even an exotic turmeric-based chai alternative, BlendJet has the latest recipes to keep our thirst quenched this season.

Plus, the BlendJet is super versatile! The on-the-go blender is a must-have for quick smoothies, dips, dressings, and sides, cocktails and so much more.

Goode Health

A smoothie that’s DELICIOUSLY flavored AND good for you? Yes indeed. Goode offers the right mix of protein, fiber, micronutrients and polyphenols to fill in the gaps in our normal diets. Developed by physicians, Goode contains 2x more antioxidant power than AG1 and has only net 2g carbs per serving. The science behind Goode shows it improves cardiovascular and gut health and provides sustained energy all day.

Available flavors:

  • Moroccan Chocolate
  • Vanilla Spice
  • Unsweetened Base (great for your fruit smoothies)

FYI, Goode Health also offers BOOSTERS to add to your smoothies!

The Staff of Life


La Brea Bakery

There’s NO excuse for bad bread. That’s why we always have both La Brea ready to eat as well as their Take and Bake bread in the house. It’s like having fresh homemade bread (without all of the kneading, rising, and waiting). La Brea Bakery has even recently added a traditional New York Rye loaf to its artisan bread portfolio. The hearty bread is crafted on a foundation of wheat and rye flours, known for their health benefits. Caraway seeds, the aromatic hallmark of a classic rye loaf, are baked into the bread and sprinkled on top as a finishing touch.

What makes La Brea bread’s crust special is the explosion of flavor with every bite, while its moist, chewy texture owes itself to a natural leavening process that imbues it with a unique open structure. With a commitment to excellence, they use age-old artisan techniques with state-of-the-art bakeries, ensuring that each loaf meets the highest standards of quality and consistency.

My favorites are the Take and Bake French Twin Pack Baguette (this from someone who used to live in Paris). I love them warm out of the oven just as they are, as sandwiches, as part of my charcuterie boards and as a side with dinner. Of course you can’t beat the Rosemary Olive Oil Loaf (that gets torn into on the way home from the grocery store EVERY time).

From Starter to Finish

For those who LOVE to bake check out “From Starter to Finish: Sourdough Breadmaking and Culinary Inspirations.” This fresh addition to the cookbook scene offers a treasure trove of simple recipes designed for both seasoned bakers and aspiring chefs, featuring insights, tips, and techniques for mastering the art of breadmaking and the secrets of sourdough. With stunning visuals and culinary creativity, the cookbook presents a diverse array of recipes for every meal and occasion, showcasing the versatility of La Brea Bakery artisan breads, baguettes, and rolls. From mouthwatering breakfast delights like Maple-Bacon Breakfast Sandwiches to gourmet sandwich creations and enticing appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts, this cookbook promises to delight and inspire bread lovers everywhere. “From Starter to Finish” is the ultimate guide for those who appreciate the artistry of artisan bread.



Jackson’s Chips

Indulge guilt-free in “Better for you snacking” with Jackson’s chips, where taste meets nutrition in every crunchy bite. Packed with the goodness of sweet potatoes, a natural anti-inflammatory, these chips offer a wholesome snack option that’s both satisfying and beneficial for your well-being. What’s more, Jackson’s chips are a dietary dream, catering to a variety of lifestyles and preferences.

  • Sea Salt Sweet Potato Chips
  • Farmhouse Ranch Sweet Potato Chips
  • Spicy Jalapeño Sweet Potato Chips
  • Carolina BBQ Sweet Potato Chips
  • Habanero Nacho Sweet Potato Chips

Free from the top nine allergens and compatible with low inflammation, Keto, gluten-free, vegan, paleo, peanut-free, and kosher diets, they’re a versatile choice for health-conscious snackers. Crafted using premium avocado oil and a slow and low technique, these chips deliver on both flavor and health benefits, making them the perfect snack for those seeking a delicious and nutritious alternative.

OMGPretzels – Seasoned Sourdough Pretzel Nuggets

OMGPretzels uses wholesome ingredients and carefully-crafted family recipes to make delicious, bite-sized, authentically-aged sourdough pretzel nuggets that are perfect for every occasion. Our variety of bold, seasoning blends and crave-worthy crunch combine to create the transcendent first-bite experience that every pretzel lover dreams of. It’s the premium quality and unforgettable taste that make OMGPretzels the obvious choice for customers in search of a superior snack.

With 9 varieties ranging from savory to sweet to spicy and everything in between, our culinary-inspired recipes are kosher-certified, vegan/vegetarian, never include artificial flavors or MSG, and 7 of the flavors are nonGMO.OMGPretzels is a woman-owned, family-run company that specializes in creating the perfect sensory snacking experience that every snack lover dreams about!  Made in the USA, our seasoned sourdough nuggets are guaranteed to make you a true believer in love at first bite. Once you pop one in your mouth, OMG! comes popping out!

Festive Chickpeas

Chickpeas are a fantastic addition to a healthy diet, because they are low in calories and high in fiber, plant-based protein, and essential vitamins and minerals and Festive Chickpeas has reinvented the chickpea, unhusking it, using the chickpea hearts (halves) to give it big crunch and even bigger flavor! All while being packed with protein and unbelievably good for you! These small little legumes are bursting with buttery flavor and give you that crunch you have been craving, making them a great on-the-go snack. In addition, Festive Chickpeas also add flavor and crunch to soups, salads, mac n cheese, and so much more. And with six different flavors, you can mix it up every day of the week.

Festive Chickpeas have ZERO preservatives, are non-GMO, soy-free, gluten-free and are 100% vegan (except BBQ) to accommodate every snacker’s lifestyle. Aside from being plentiful with protein and nutritious, they’re exploding with flavor. Each pocket-sized bag is abundant in fiber, iron and potassium, has 10 grams of protein and no trans fats. The crispy chickpeas are dusted with ocean-fresh sea salt – making them an easy and equally satiating alternative to potato chips.

Festive Chickpeas are celebrating snack time with fun flavors, including Sour Cream and Onion, Sweet & Smoky BBQ, Ranch, Mild and Fiery Spicy and Sea Salt, for those who like to keep it simple.