The chef: Aimee Elliott, chef instructor at Missoula College’s Culinary Arts Program
The gadget: Microplane zester
Feast: What’s your favorite gadget to use in the kitchen?
Elliott: I’ve chosen the Microplane zester. For me, it’s really important that kitchen equipment has multiple purposes. A Microplane can be used for zesting, for grating and for doing little chores like cutting or mincing garlic and ginger. It is incredibly sharp, and the fineness of the grate, or the zest, is just much better than a traditional zester or grater. And it’s cool because I’ve researched it, and the Microplane is actually made from the rasps of woodworking. So the Microplane company still makes the woodworking tools that they use for rasps, and it’s the same exact design. It’s just this one is for kitchen use, and the other one is used for woodworking.
Feast: Is it something you use frequently?
Elliott: I use it all the time, yes. Instead of mincing garlic with a knife, if you use the Microplane, it will get a really fine mince. It’s a lot easier and faster and less to clean up. To grate cheese, hard cheeses will be pillowy and soft and beautiful instead of a hard flake if you grate it. And, obviously, zesting oranges and other citrus, you won’t get the pith in it, it will just take off the very edge, the actual part of the zest you want. You can go too deep but it’s harder to do that with a Microplane. It just gets a really fine zest instead of a big piece.