Nine kitchen items you can get rid of immediately

Free up valuable kitchen real estate and toss out useless gadgets.
Free up valuable kitchen real estate and toss out useless gadgets. Photo: Kristoffer Paulsen

If your kitchen bench and cupboards look like a trash-and-treasure stall, you'll welcome this news. Prominent Australian chefs say there's a load of kitchen items you can politely show the door.

Not only will you reclaim your kitchen space, you'll have more time to focus on the good stuff – such as the pleasure of cooking.

Programmable cooking machines

One machine that makes pasta, bread, chops nuts, slow-cooks, stews - sounds impressive! "Just set the dial and forget about it!" But celebrity chef and author of The Everyday Kitchen Ed Halmagyi (aka Fast Ed) says you'll save kitchen space and about $2000 if you just live by the latter and "forget about it".

"Sorry gang, but there is no reason to ever invest $2000 in a Thermomix or any of its competitors," Halmagyi says. 

"Cooking isn't complicated and doesn't have to take up a lot of time.

"A kitchen mixer is simply an overly expensive ticket for a vacation from real food, to a place where insipid and uninspiring results will, over time, drive you further away from the most important thing about great food - real flavour crafted by you. Sorry if this sounds curt, but I have no time for them."

Bread machines

"There. Are. No. Words," Halmagyi says.

"Beyond the couple of hundred dollars spent, even disregarding the sheer amount of valuable real estate they take up in your kitchen, and ignoring the demeaning limitations they place on the styles of baked goods that might be crafted … they make terrible bread. 


"Sure, I say this as a passionate pastry chef and baker ... and so I might be a bit biased, but I'm not wrong.

"There's so much incredible bread being baked all over Australia today, so why would you subject yourself and your family to this?

"Plus, support your local bakery. Surely we want to still live in a world where butchers, bakers and greengrocers give our communities character and great food."

Electric salt and pepper grinders

Sorry folks, but batteries won't make your salt and pepper taste any saltier or more peppery. But it will cost you cash, batteries and bench space.

"I was first gifted a sleek stainless steel pair of these about 10 years back," Halmagyi says.

"I just couldn't believe that such a thing actually existed, or needed to exist.

"If the act of turning a peppermill counter-clockwise a couple of times is so challenging, how on earth can you be expected to manage both the knife and the fork?

"This is a product answering a question that does not, and should not, exist."

Mechanical choppers

Chop, chop - get your nuts, breadcrumbs, mince in a flash! But don't use a mechanical chopper to do it, says Nicky Riemer, the head chef at Melbourne's Bellota.

"Any kind of mechanical chopper that claims to 'chop' everything so you don't need a knife ever again is redundant," Riemer says.

"You are better off purchasing a good knife and learning how to use it correctly. You will have that knife for a long time - it will be your trusted kitchen companion. I still have knives from when I was an apprentice."

Plastic egg poachers

Runny or hard? Either way, a little practise can free up valuable space and start your mornings "sunny side up" every time.

"It is easy to poach an egg with a touch of vinegar in boiling water," Riemer says.

"They don't need to look perfect - just taste good. Those pesky little plastic cups and stove-top poachers take up a lot of space in a well-organised kitchen drawer. We have enough plastic in the world."

Thin plastic roll-up chopping boards

Don't tell Riemer to "roll up, roll up".

"I'm not sure why they were ever invented," she says.

"Perhaps it was to save space? I think they are deplorable. I am often cooking in holiday houses and find these are the chopping boards provided. They are slippery and unstable.

"On the other hand, a good, thick chopping board made from wood is an asset in the kitchen - and an item that, if looked after, will last years.

"If I'm having a beach-house holiday, I always take my big, thick, wooden chopping board with me, along with my knives and my Le Creuset blue cast iron pot. That's all I need."

Portable banana containers

If you haven't heard of them, these are containers that store bananas in your bag for safe travel. And the head chef of Sydney's China Lane, Kristian Vale, is not a fan.

"The thing that is ridiculous is that bananas already come with their own natural casing so to store a banana in a piece of plastic shaped like a banana is unnecessary," he says.

"It defeats the purpose of the banana's own skin."

TV infomercial kitchen gadgets

But wait, there's more. More redundant items to clutter your kitchen bench, cupboards and mind. In fact, there are so many kitchen gadgets, utensils and mixers being flogged on TV infomercials today that really, they could have their own reality TV show.  

"Any kitchen item bought off a TV commercial or infomercial that can make dinner in less than 20 minutes or 'set it and forget' is a waste of kitchen space," Vale says.

"Cooking isn't hard, but when you are reliant on machines you lose the personal touch that cooking requires. The excitement and love disappears.

"Also, the things you buy never turn out how you thought they would and they often break within two months, so you're better off learning how to cook naturally."

A garlic crusher

If you are crushed to see this one on the list, don't be – there's logic behind it.

"You usually leave more garlic in the crusher than you actually cook with, so you're better off learning how to cut and crush garlic properly by hand," Vale says.

"As a bonus, clean-up is so much easier and faster. If you're worried about the smell, wash your hands with lemon juice and detergent - it works every time."