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This is not a question about cooking per se, but about professional cooks outside their day jobs. I have seen a few movies where chefs have a restaurant-grade kitchen and kitchenware at home, all ready to use on a regular basis. For example, in Chef, the titular character quits his job at a fancy LA restaurant after an argument with the owner, then goes home and proceeds to cook the same gourmet tasting menu he was planning to cook at the restaurant.

Is this a realistic depiction? Could he likely cook that menu at home, or would he likely need things present only in a professional kitchen? I understand that chefs might want to invest on high-grade hardware for their own homes, but I wonder to what extent they actually need to have everything they would need in their work kitchen.

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    I'm guessing that restaurant-grade equipment is likely cheaper than the high end stuff they try to sell people for home use. (Le Creuset, All-Clad, etc.) The exception might be in gadgets and specialty items (cream whippers, high end blenders, anti-griddle, gear used just for molecular gastonomy) – Joe Jan 6 '15 at 13:30
  • I don't understand the question. Are you asking whether a chef is likely to have professional grade equipment at home, or whether a chef is likely to prepare a gourmet menu at home? – rumtscho Jan 6 '15 at 18:45
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I agree it's quite believable. Most restaurant equipment is more about cooking in bulk than being particularly specialized things you can't get at home. So it's extra durable/stays sharp longer or is just big (like a fridge).

It really doesn't take much money to make good food though. A lot of the gadgets and gizmos that you see on TV can be replaced with 1 good knife kept sharp...and a lot of chefs prefer a knife for the control. For example I have a mandolin. It cuts my vegetables very rapidly and saves me a bunch of time when I make vegetable stew, which I make a lot-- but it doesn't cut my vegetables evenly, which in a gourmet restaurant could be a problem for presentation. (Actually I'm going to get rid of my mandolin soon, too. I've gotten faster with a knife by now from practice.)

Another thing to think about-- being a chef is a hard job. If you're a gourmet chef you're probably passionate about cooking, so it makes sense to spend money on that hobby for at home as well.

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I saw this in action at my brother in law's wedding. His uncle, who is a chef on a ship, prepared the wedding meal in the inlaws' home kitchen. He was actually used preparing food for a ship's company in a much smaller kitchen. The only thing he did that was "different" equipment wise was he spent some time sharpening the knives before he started. It was fascinating to watch him work.

If you look at the MasterChef kitchen, everything in their kitchen is available to the home cook (except maybe the liquid nitrogen, but really, how many professional chefs use liquid nitrogen on a regular basis?). The pans are mostly the heavier grade stainless, with the occasional teflon coated skillet used.

With that said, I would really like a professional style flat top and gas burners. My home range doesn't quite have the "oompf" to keep the pan hot when I'm trying to sear more than about one serving of meat at a time.

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Most restaurant equipment meets particular safety requirements or durability requirements. While there are some fancy pieces of large equipment that do specialized things (deep fryers, combi ovens), the vast majority of restaurant food can be reproduced at home with typical home kitchen tools. While made for entertainment, the scene you described is believable.

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