Just because you're ready to move beyond meals that come in a box doesn't mean you need to stock up on expensive cookware. We asked Wayne Almquist—a premier chef and professor at the Culinary Institute of America—for his advice on setting up the ideal starter kitchen. Here are three essentials every guy needs:
Pots and Pans: The average guy doesn't need a 10-piece set of pots. Rather, Almquist recommends a 10-inch, nonstick sauté pan and a two-quart sauce pot (stainless steel if possible). The pan should cost no more than $25, and the pot should cost even less. A good choice: cookware from T-Fal.
Cutlery: Skip the made-for-TV Ginsu knives. One good eight-inch, stainless-steel chef's knife will do the job of cutting up everything from steaks and fish to fruits and vegetables. The Twin Signature from Henckels is made from quality German steel, guaranteeing it will last.
Gadgets: "The food processor is a great all-in-one item," says Almquist. It can chop fresh foods, blend mixes—even make drinks. For max efficiency and a minimum of wasted counter space, get a processor with a juicer attachment, such as Cuisinart's Pro Plus Food Processor/Juicer.