Just like a builder needs a hammer, measuring tape and marking pencil, a cook needs a knife, grater and mixing spoon.

“The right tool makes the job easier,” explains Adell Shneer, test kitchen food specialist at Canadian Living magazine. “I don’t think people need every tool and gadget available … a good tool is one that simplifies your task.”

Shneer is a graduate of the baking program at George Brown College and spends about 20 hours every week cooking. She knows what she needs to transform raw ingredients into a prepared meal.

“The three tools I can’t live without are a 8-inch Mac Chef’s knife, Kuhn Rikon or Swissmar peeler and a small offset spatula.”

To build your own kitchen toolbox, think about which meals you make most often and see if there’s a gadget out there to help cut preparation time.