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Paul Liebrandt made his name at his acclaimed Tribeca restaurant Corton, he is about to make the move to Brooklyn where he will open his eagerly anticipated restaurant The Elm in Williamsburg this summer. Liebrandt's food is renowned for being innovative and intricate; he is an artist as much as a chef. And, in fact, his list of kitchen essentials (presented below in, he says, "no particular order") start off with the most basic and most necessary tools of any artist: his eyes and hands. Here are Liebrandt's must-haves:
An extremely well-maintained Japanese knife—I especially like a Misono.
Fleur de sel—I use it to season nearly everything, it is the salt of all salts.
Extremely good salted butter—I always look for a high-quality butter that is high in fat content and high salt content.
Very good lighting—if you can’t see what you’re doing, you will never know how your food turns out. We like to use LED lights to avoid shadows.
An offset spatula
Harmony in the kitchen—this one is not something you can buy or teach. It’s something you have to nurture. If you are happy, you cook good food. If you cook good food your guests are happy, and that is the ultimate goal.
A black iron cook pot—we use all different sizes, and I couldn’t live without them.
The Elm; 160 North 12th Street, Williamsburg