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Your teen chef may one day master the art of making a perfect souffle, but first she needs to master the basics. Hold off on giving her single-use devices, such as a bread maker or rice cooker. A young chef requires a minimum of kitchen supplies to use while perfecting her favorite recipes.
Every chef's arsenal should include at least one stainless steel saute or frying pan of around 12 inches in diameter. She will also need at least two lidded pots, one that holds 6 or 8 quarts and one that holds about 2 quarts, a few oven-safe casserole dishes in different sizes, a colander, a cookie sheet, a cutting board and a set of mixing bowls in various sizes. Arm her with wooden spoons, measuring cups and spoons, a ladle, a rubber spatula, a can opener, a grater and oven mitts, along with a few sturdy knives. At minimum she'll need an 8-inch chef's knife and a smaller paring knife, along with a safety lesson from you.
Introduce a teen chef to new techniques and cuisines with a few cookbooks. Look for books directed at teen chefs, ask staff at cooking shops for recommendations or pick introductory books like those in Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" series. Though your teen will learn lots from a cookbook, she'll likely turn to her handheld devices sometimes to find recipes, so pick out a recipe stand that can hold her tablet or phone. An apron protects her beloved clothing from kitchen mishaps.
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