The cook , the pans , or the ingredients .

I have always felt the ingredients were first . The cook came after. And the pans really didn’t matter.
Any thoughts. Thank you.


I have been watching all these shows on you tube . Great dishes wonderfully prepared by a home cook with great ingredients and lousy pans . Pretty much from Europe. Cooking pans were not high end . Example. All clad , and other in that price range . Does a cook that knows the way around the kitchen will make it work . I believe good ingredients is a first. My cookware is second rate at best .


Ingredients. Always.

“Meal planning” is not for me. When going food shopping I buy what looks good (and/or interesting) and think about what to make on the way home (or usually have to look up what the heck I have bought).

To market, to market.

In Crete

Sicily. Gonna bring back dandelion from Sicily next time. The bitterest plant I have ever eaten, and I have a very high tolerance for bitter foods!

Sicilian dandelion and wild fennel. Lemons are the symbol of Sicily and one of the most important ingredients in its gastronomy. Seems there’s one or 5 trees in every garden there.


Lunch stuff bought from a street market in Lyon. Wine shop a few steps from my lodging.


I agree that the actual “quality” of the pans is the least important component in good cooking but I’m not so sure about the ingredients versus the cook. An average/poor cook would likely be able to prepare something delicious if they knew their limitations and kept things simple. And an excellent/creative cook can do wonders lesser ingredients, such as repurposing leftovers or knowing how to coax the best out of something.


I would say usually ingredients, cook, pan too, but depending on the dish, I have certainly seen cook, ingredients, pan too. I’ve seen great ingredients get ruined by bad or inexperienced cooking. :stuck_out_tongue:


Depends, if you have premium ingredients, then that’s what’s most important. If your ingredients aren’t first rate, a good cook would be more important. Pots and pans are a distant third.


I believe the cook may be the most important. I have seen good cooks make wonderful dishes from lowly and improbable ingredients and bad cooks do things ranging from simply not optimizing to destroying extremely fine ingredients. I think we all agree that pans are the least critical, but using the right pan can provide not only easier and more pleasurable cooking but, in some instances, better dishes. I think key examples are pans for browning that are too small, crowding the proteins, and braises done in pans that are too large.


Indeed. I have always thought that the test of a cook was what they could create from meagre or inferior stuffs. And that paralleling the medical adage, regarding ingredients, a cook should at least do no harm. it is sad when excellent product is massacred by inept technique or, as bad, lack of taste.

IMHO, the most important ingredient in great cooking is imagination and ability to mentally combine tastes and processes, and finally to put them together in a cohesive menu.


A good cook will be able to pick good ingredients, along with the right pan and cooking method.


Plus four for good cook. If you’re not a good cook it doesn’t matter what ingredients or pans you have.


The cook. For a lot of us, we can recall family members turning humble ingredients into delicious food. Right now I don’t really have access to the best ingredients, but I’m still happy with the way most everything turns out.


I have to agree it’s the cook first, as I’ve known people who can ruin the best of things! Followed by ingredients, and lastly pans. A good cook can cook in parchment or foil, or the thinnest of pans under challenging circumstances.


I think back on several hole in the wall restaurants were passionate and talented cooks turned out unbelievable food in shabby pans on dated stoves meant for households, not restaurants. Might they have accomplished more with better equipment? Quite possibly, but their limited facilities did not diminish their wonderful food.

And I always remember the time when dh joined some friends to work on a dilapidated property in the foothills. At day’s end, one guy drove into the nearest town and returned with some steaks, but there was no stove, no barbeque, nothing. DH rounded up some rocks, found a piece of abandoned screen and proceeded to grill the steaks. The next night, the same guy volunteered to buy the steaks but said, “And I want THAT GUY to cook them!”

  1. The Cook
  2. The ingredients
  3. The pans