When you start culinary school, your tuition covers a tricked-out knife kit, which includes, of course, various knives, a whisk, a fish spatula, pastry bag tips, and other tools. You’re also given five sets of uniforms–chef’s jackets, checked pants, beanie caps, aprons, and neckerchiefs. I’ve already written about the school-issued shoes.
But among the most useful and versatile items is a set of five white cotton kitchen towels, though I had no idea when I first rummaged through the haul of goodies. “Hmmm, how nice,” I thought, setting them aside to focus on sexier stuff, like the Messermeister knives.
Now that I’ve completed the first five weeks of culinary school, I’d say the towels are easily the most-used item, aside from my the chef’s knife. They’re certainly the most versatile.
That’s because the towels are pressed into service for everything from handling hot pans to wiping down work stations to drying dishes (yes, we have to wash all the dishes, pots, pans, and tools by hand, which makes me appreciate the dishwasher at home all the more) to scrubbing counters and stove tops. By the end of Day 1, I realized I’d need at least five clean towels each day. That called for a stop by Smart & Final to stock up on more towels. I’ve since been back to S&F for still more, since there’s the occasional towel sacrificed to the kitchen gods. My classmates have also stocked up at Costco, though my station partner scored the sweetest deal: a half-dozen thick, thirsty white hand towels for $4 at Bed, Bath, & Beyond.
I covet them.