For those who are unfamiliar, The Bear is the wildly binge-able hit show about a fine dining chef, Carmen Berzatto, who returns to his hometown of Chicago to take over his brother's sandwich shop. It's funny, dramatic, and at times, genuinely anxiety-inducing. It also manages to pull off something I've never seen before in a show about restaurant work: it captures the atmosphere. The utter chaos of being in the kitchen, the camaraderie among the staff, and the small moments of beauty where the grueling hours and endless tests of patience pay off.
Admittedly, I was a little late to The Bear bandwagon. But when the second season premiered on Hulu, I devoured the whole thing (no pun intended) in two days. Of course, that didn't stop me from making note of all the tools I saw and wanted to add to my own kitchen collection. Here are 25 kitchen tools approved by The Bear that'll have you shouting, "Yes, Chef!" as you add to cart.
First thing's first: you've got to suit up, Chef. These blue kitchen aprons are all over The Bear. They're water resistant to keep you safe from splatters, and they feature two large front pockets, deep enough to keep your phone, a notebook, instant read thermometer, or any other tools you'd need on hand at a moment's notice. Plus, they come as a pack of two, so you'll always have a clean backup!
This Mac Mighty knife is a premium kitchen tool, whether you're a home cook or a sous in training. Crafted in Japan from molybdenum steel, it's lightweight and razor sharp. The straight handle aligns with the blade's spine, ensuring balance and control, reducing the risk of accidents. The V-shaped blade is perfectly tapered from spine to edge and glides effortlessly through cuts.
If you haven't quite got that much money to spend on a beaut of a knife, I recommend this German-engineered blade by Henckels. This knife is made from satin-finished, fully-forged stainless steel that's guaranteed to stay sharper longer. The ergonomic handle provides a comfortable grip for chopping, slicing, and dicing with speed and precision. It's rust-resistant and can even be cleaned in the dishwasher!
Swiss-made Kuhn Rikon is the gold standard for vegetable peelers. They can be found in professional kitchen the world over and it's easy to see why: these peelers are designed with comfort in mind, so no matter how many pounds of potatoes you're tasked with skinning, you're hand won't cramp or get tired. The carbon steel blades are super durable and create paper-thin peels. And at under $10, it's one kitchen prep tool that won't break the bank.
These mixing bowls are unfussy, no frills, and extremely versatile. Whether you're tossing your fresh-cut fries in some seasoned salt or beating eggs for a truly gourmet omelette, these bowls will handle whatever you throw in them. This set of five nestles perfectly within one another for easy storage, and they're BPA-free, dishwasher safe, and lightweight.
Anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant themselves knows that deli containers are the superior food storage solution, and they appear in the background of what seems like every other shot of The Bear. Made from BPA-free polypropylene plastic, these containers are not only dishwasher safe, but microwave safe, too! They're stackable, freezable, and leakproof. Pretty much perfect, in my opinion. I keep a supply of the eight ounce and 32 ounce containers around myself.
And on those deli containers in the background shots of The Bear? Green Frog Tape labels. It may have been created as a painter's tape, but it's kind of perfect to use in kitchen organization because it sticks strong and won't peel up if it gets wet. Ideal for date labels that tell you when you're leftovers go in the fridge.
In the season two premiere, main character and executive chef, Carmy, throws an epic temper tantrum when the Sharpie he's using to mark off incoming tickets runs out of ink. I've been there, Carm. That's why it's wise to keep a supply on hand in the kitchen at all times. They write just as well on the aforementioned Frog Tape as they do directly on the deli containers, and once dry, the ink won't fade or smudge.
Ensure your whole brigade (i.e. hungry family or roommates) stays up to date on the most current "86 list" and "menu mods" (grocery needs and dinner plans) with a handy dry erase board for the kitchen. This one from Mr. Pen is a compact 14 by 11 inches, suitable for smaller spaces like the side of your refrigerator. It comes with strong, double-sided adhesive strips for drill-free mounting, a black dry-erase marker, and a pen holder.
Perhaps it lacks the caché of Le Creuset, but this Cuisinart enameled Dutch oven is every bit as reliable and long-lasting as its French counterpart. And at a fraction of the cost! The Bear knows it, and now so do you. Carmy cooks up a pot of Sunday gravy in one of these, and slow stewing is just what these dishes are best at. They provide amazing heat retention and even distribution, and the porcelain enamel keeps food from imparting flavor and odor into the cast iron then transferring to your next meal.
Another classic is this 15-inch skillet from Lodge. The family-owned company has been producing high quality iron cookware for over 120 years, and they swear this pan is the only one you really need. You can use it to fry, sauté, braise, broil, and bake! The pre-seasoned surface gives your food a gorgeous sear and provides easy release. And when cared for properly, cast iron lasts a lifetime.
When composing a dish, precision matters. "You eat with your eyes first," as the old saying goes. That's why these long kitchen tweezers are a must-have for home chefs who want to up their plating game. These stainless steel pincers are 12 inches long and come to a fine tapered point, perfect for detailed tasks like placing a micro green garnish or handling prawns in a skillet.
Whether you're zesting a lemon, grating nutmeg, or putting the finishing touch on a dessert with a dusting of shaved chocolate, you'll need a microplane like this one in your arsenal. It's constructed from surgical grade steel, which is rust-proof and guaranteed to stay super duper sharp. The teeth are ingeniously designed to take only the top most layer off of citrus (where all the flavor is), leaving the bitter white pith on the fruit.
Cranking out a few grinds on a classic wooden pepper mill is often enough to make even the most amateur home cook feel like a chef de cuisine. This one from Gulex sports a hand-carved oak body and durable ceramic grinders that can be adjusted to suit your grind size preference. The tight-fitting wooden lid keeps out moisture and dust, maintaining your spice's flavor longer.
A bench scraper is one of those tools you may not think think about if you don't have, but once you get one, you use it all the time. OXO Good Grips makes my favorite. The handle is soft to the touch and non slip, so it's really comfortable to use. The sturdy stainless steel blade makes easy work of portioning cold butter, cutting dough, and scooping piles of chopped vegetables. Plus it features a handy measuring tool along the edge!
Like the Le Creuset Dutch oven, All-Clad is the gold standard for stainless cookware, but it costs a fortune. This set from Cuisinart is just as nice and it's so much more accessible. The ten-piece premium set featuring a 1.5-quart, 3-quart, and 3.5-quart saucepan with covers, an 8-quart stockpot with cover, and 8-inch and 10-inch skillets.
These beauties boast a classic mirror finish, professional performance, and even heat distribution with their aluminum encapsulated bases. The cool grip handles are safe and comfortable, and Cuisinart is so sure you'll love this set that it comes with a limited-lifetime warranty.
This sleek sauce spoon practically lives in Carmy's back pocket on The Bear. He uses it to taste his team's sauces, to baste steaks searing in the pan, and to finish plates just before they leave the kitchen. It isn't fancy - just a "big ole spoon" according to one five-star review - but the large bowl, heftier-than-expected weight, and balanced handle make it a must in the kitchen.
The second season's masterful sixth episode is a flashback to one chaotic Christmas Eve dinner where the Berzatto matriarch cooks her way through a traditional Italian-American Feast of Seven Fishes. Keeping her in time (and possibly creating a Pavlovian panic response in her children) is this classic Sunbeam kitchen timer.
It keeps time accurately up to sixty minutes, boasts an extra-long ringer, and is entirely mechanical, so you'll never have to worry about replacing batteries. I personally find that winding up one of these is much easier than trying to open my phone's timer with wet fingers.
These tomatoes play a pivotal role in the season one finale, and with respect to those who haven't seen it yet, I'll leave it at that. However, there is one other point made in that episode that won't spoil any plot points: San Marzano crushed tomatoes really are the best for whipping up a braciole. They've got an excellent acidity that's balanced out by a buttery richness, and the texture is the perfect base for sauces or stews. Mangia!
They make the giardiniera fresh at The Beef, but real Chicagoans know that Marconi's is the official commercially available spicy pickle of the Windy City. Giardiniera is a blend of hot peppers, onions, cauliflower, carrots, gherkins, and celery pickled in vinegar and spices. It tastes divine on sandwiches, on Vienna Beef hot dogs, in salads, or speared by the forkful directly out of the jar while standing in front of your open refrigerator.
Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking is one of the most acclaimed cookbooks of the 20th century. It makes an appearance in The Bear in Carmy's library of food manuals, and he's seen finishing a red sauce with a dollop of butter - a classic Hazan move.
The cookbook features dozens of classic Italian recipes like chicken cacciatore, zabaglione, fried zucchini blossoms, and fresh pasta, plus indispensable tips to improve your technique. TV personality and cookbook author, Nigella Lawson said of it, "If this were the only cookbook you owned, neither you nor those you cooked for would ever get bored."
Another one of the books in Carmy's collection is Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes for the Home Cook. Considered a modern classic, This manual features over 200 recipes from chef Elisabeth Prueitt that will take you on a gastronomic journey through your day, from breakfast to dinner to dessert. This book also has a surprise: all the goodies are flourless and therefore, gluten-free! But don't worry, they're just as delicious.
The most rewarding recipes are the ones you develop yourself, like sous chef Sydney's cola-braised beef short ribs over risotto. She kept her notes in a simple black book like this one, and all the chefs I've ever known and worked with in my years in the restaurant industry did the same.
These mini notebooks are lightweight and small enough to keep in your apron pocket. Plus they're continuously lined when laid flat, allowing for more space to jot down your cooking methods, taste impressions, and plating doodles.
It's always wise to have a stock of cotton bar mops in the kitchen. From wiping up spills to handling hot pots and pans to tidying a plate before it goes to the dining room, they're extremely versatile and reasonably inexpensive. This pack of 60 will last a long time in any household, no matter what messes you might make. As an added bonus, you'll look very profesh with one tucked into the waistband of your pants.
Bar Keepers Friend is a powerful, versatile powder cleanser designed to tackle tough stains and grime all over the house. Its non-bleach formula and mild abrasive properties make it ideal for kitchen or bathroom, but it's stil gentle enough to be used on cookware! Has your stainless seen better days? Sprinkle on some Bar Keepers Friend, add a little water, scrub, let it sit for a few minutes, and it'll be gleaming like new in no time.