In honor of Geoffrey's show on the Food Network, Cooks vs Cons (Sundays at 10pm) here are 7 kitchen items that can make you look like a "pro" at home ... even if you’re not. 


1. Kitchen Aid Toaster Oven  This oven has so many uses: You can toast, broil, bake ... the options are endless, and because it’s smaller, it doesn't take a lot of time to preheat. We use this all the time and try to always have a batch of cookie dough in the fridge. It's so simple to bake a small batch with a toaster oven. 

2. Chinese Spider  There's nothing harder or heavier than having to drain a large pot of boiling water in an effort to get the pasta out and into the sauce.  Use the chinese spider to scoop the noodles out and easily drop them into your sauce pan.  It makes the process a cinch.  You can then gracefully dump the pasta water once your guests have left.

3. Vegetable Peeler  Yes, easy to use for peeling cucumbers or carrots, but take that tool straight to a wedge of parmesan. You will get the best ribbons of cheese to lay over your baby arugula salad. 

4. Nespresso Espresso Machine  Chefs love to drink endless amounts of espresso and having one of these on hand puts a perfect cup in your hand within seconds. And there's no mess.

5. Hot Water Egg Timer  We love to eat soft boiled eggs in our house, and although as a chef you don't need one of these to help guide you, this truly will help you get the perfect soft or hard boiled egg every time.  You just drop it in the pot and it tells you when your eggs are ready.

6. Cast Iron Pan  - It will give you a great sear on a steak and it's something that not everyone uses. And because it chars well, it allows for some caramelization to occur.  It will certainly set your protein items apart. 

7. Immersion Hand Blender  We use this all the time. You can make a soup, a sauce and it’s a tremendous time saver. And what's better than not having to dirty a big blender or food processor? You just immerse the wand of the hand blender into the pot you are using and there you have it  - a purée or a soup.  We love to use this to mash up canned tomatoes when making a large pot of sauce, too.