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Is your larder ready for a chef's visit?

Do you have enough ingredients in your larder should a really great chef drop by and offer to prepare for you a great dinner.
Your larder need not have hundreds of ingredients. Just those that when used by an expert will result in a memorable dinner.
What are some larder 'must-haves'?
Clarified butter
Fresh vegetables
Protein for stock and sauces
What am I missing?

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  1. Yes mine is (wine, multiple animal fats, multiple animal stocks, confit, various proteins, vegetables etc) but any good chef should be able to prepare something from basic pantry staples.

    1. I would expect them to clarify their own butter! But don't forget heavy cream and kosher salt, real staples in commercial kitchens.

      1. Probably not. But what I consider necessary would be fresh vegetables, butter, EV olive oil, canned tomatoes, beans (usually cook from dry and freeze), chicken, steak, pasta, stock (preferably homemade but good canned is okay), lemon, and something briny like capers or kalamata olives. I have all of these right now, so maybe a good chef could come in and make something.

        10 Replies
        1. re: ErnieD

          That's what most good chefs love to do, make something out of nothing. Remember that show "Door Knock Dinner" (or something like that?) Loved that one.

          1. re: coll

            Variety of vinegars and things in vinegars like capers.
            Not to derail my own thread but in the same vein which well known chef dead or alive would you most want to come to your home and cook for you. Based on skill rather than personality?

            1. re: Puffin3

              Michiba Rokusaburo for Japanese cuisine.
              Joël Robuchon for Western cuisine.

              EDIT: Albert Adrià for pastry.

              1. re: wattacetti

                Hiroyuki Sakai for Japanese
                Paul Bouse or Escoffier for French.
                Heston Blumenthal for 'Western'.

                  1. re: linguafood

                    I would think Paul Bocuse is who was meant.

                      1. re: linguafood

                        உங்கள் வரவேற்பு

              2. re: Puffin3

                Oh, yeah, I forgot about vinegars and also hot sauces/condiments. I don't think I've dipped below five varieties of either in my adult life, so they would definitely be around.

                I may have some issues.

                1. re: Puffin3

                  Alice waters
                  Jose andres
                  Jaques pepin
                  The frugal gourmet

            2. For me it would totally depend on what day of the week the chef dropped by. As a single person - I have a pretty rigid routine of buying what I need for the week on Friday, cooking over the weekend for all my meals, and then just reheating during the week.

              So if this chef shows up on Saturday, aside from clarified butter (can't eat dairy) - I'd be fine. If this chef shows up on Wednesday, things would be far more limited to condiments and pantry items. And leftovers.

              1. At first glance I thought this was going to be about Ramsey coming over, throwing stuff around, and screaming things like disgusting and wot is that.

                1. I think so. I have a pretty well-stocked pantry and fridge/freezer. I don't have white wine on hand, however. Nor clarified butter. I have pretty much any spice or other ingredient you might need for Indian cuisine so please send me Sanjeev Kapoor or Raghavan Iyer, if we can request-a-chef.

                  1. Not sure.
                    I have stuff like tons of homemade stocks, sauces, beef bones, pork bones, packs of mirepoix, and soups frozen in the freezer which are the same as fresh. I have ghee, cream, salt, wines, 9-10 vinegars, 4-5 grains, herbs, spices, onions. I'd say it's prudent to nearly always keep on hand the vegetables to make a mirepoix (or some variant), or some frozen mirepoix.

                    I basically have everything besides protein, and veg which I usually buy within 3 days of eating so they stay fresh.....and because my fridge is a piece of shit and can't be trusted.

                    The big part for me is having frozen stock of various animals, or even sauces. Some sauces take hours (with a pressure cooker even) and being able to cut that time out and focus on other prep is a huge benefit in terms of time.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                      I'm curious that you have taken the time and effort to have on hand all the wonderful things you mention but you are storing some of them in "A piece of shit" fridge that "can't be trusted".
                      Funny old world.
                      FYI. The best stocks are made by slow simmering. Pressure cooking is an inferior approach.
                      But hey! It's your fucking kitchen right?

                      1. re: Puffin3

                        I'm still doing my own research about PC vs simmering as well as reading a lot of material out there. I remain unconvinced using an *unvented* pressure cooker is inferior. I'm open to anything you have to say about it though, I'll hear you out.

                        I store most of that stuff in the freezer, which for some reason seems to be great, probably because I keep it full to the brim.
                        The "crispers," in my fridge destroy stuff so fast it's not even funny. I compared it to a friends parents sub zero and determined it's going to be one of the first things I buy for a kitchen I design.
                        The problem with my fridge is that half of it is fine, the other half (top) is shitty. Hence why my list has very few refrigerated items on it and I buy them fresh. I constantly monitor the fridge temp with thermometers that stay in it, I know things won't go bad or spoil, the temp doesn't go up and down a lot. The problem is that my apartment stays around 30C in the summer and gets up to 33C when I cook inside (which I try to avoid for obvious reasons) so when I open the fridge just a little to quickly grab items it can go up as much as 1C (I keep it at .5C). So it can heat up a lot during a 2-10 hour session of prep and meal cooking. Basically it has a problem bringing the temp back down from say 7C to 4-5C in a reasonable (hour unopened) amount of time. Every time I need something from the fridge I have to be all strategic and pull a lot of stuff at once, and try to put back anything I have out quickly. Such first world problems, I know, but I'm OCD about temps of food and food safety in that regard.

                        1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                          There's no such thing as an 'unvented' pressure cooker.
                          Why are you using quotation marks around 'crispers'?
                          Like bye.

                          1. re: Puffin3

                            You got a beef with me or something?
                            There is such thing as an unvented pressure cooker
                            I used quotation marks because calling it a crisper is laughable, it doesn't accomplish what it is supposed to.

                    2. Generally, no. Perhaps Rachael Ray could whip something up. But I enjoy shopping daily.
                      Thinks I enjoy always keeping on hand are olive oil, butter, parmesan cheese, lemon, white wine, eggs, a few vegetables, tomato paste, herbs, dry pasta and rice.

                      1. Nothing very special on hand at the moment, just some basics -- pasta, eggs, chicken thighs, pineapple, summer squash, carrots, rice. Maybe the mystery chef could make:

                        pasta with olive oil and/or butter, garlic, red pepper
                        flakes, and breadcrumbs topped with poached eggs

                        chicken kebabs with the chicken, pineapple, and squash

                        1. Sure, if that chef wanted to make martinis we are all set. Otherwise, not so much.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: MplsM ary

                            You have the essentials covered at least!

                            1. re: Ttrockwood

                              I think you've probably gathered from my participation in the V&V What's for Dinner threads I am a fairly lazy cook. Lazy cooks tend to have pantries reflecting that. I have the basics when it comes to herbs, spices, many condiments and dry goods. When it comes to fresh stuff I pretty much eat the small amounts I buy at reasonably brisk pace to avoid any waste. So unless I am planning something special my larder is a bit sad.

                          2. Good salt- kosher and something like maldon.
                            But a good chef "needs" nothing.
                            My ex was a professional cook and could make something wonderful out of almost nothing i swear.... He once made us an amazing dinner from half a head of cabbage, a can of white beans, some semi stale bread and eggs with a bit of sesame oil, soy sauce, and garlic.
                            I think he enjoyed making meals from a bare bones cabinet and fridge more than the unlimited resources of the four star kitchens he worked in. (We also only ate together the one day a week he had off)

                            1. So far this week I have had a fisherman friend dropping off some local halibut with more to come. My garden is busting with vegetables and herbs. Cannellini beans in the pantry, dried pastas, polenta, Arborio rice, dried porcini from up north, cheese. Capers packed in salt, anchovies . Some of this and some of that. Hell yeah. I just have to run up to the store for beer and wine.

                              1. Absolutely. Lots of storage and I live on acreage.

                                Several fridges and freezers, one large pantry, stocked kitchen, a separate food storage unit ...and a wine room. I work a lot, so I like to have plenty of things on hand to be creative in the kitchen on weekdays. It is my Therapy :)

                                All different ethnic ingredients. Thai, Vietnamese, Burmese, Indian, Mexican, Persian, British, Spanish, 'Mercian.....Garden, greenhouse and orchard. Outdoor kitchen, woodfire oven. Chefs welcome, wino's preferred :)

                                1. I think my larder is well stocked. But I eagerly await the traveling the chefs visit to verify it!