The wooden spoon is the most useful gadget of all time, according to an illustrious panel of food writers and chefs – and Philippe Starck’s iconic citrus squeezer is not.
The latest issue of Waitrose Food Illustrated magazine asked 33 of the best-known names in the world of food to rate their favourite kitchen gadgets – and at the same time to come up with the most useless.
The wooden spoon took top billing, with chef Ken Hom describing it as “one of the most fantastic gadgets invented”, and food historian Richard Fitch calling it “the jack of all trades – and master of them too”.
In second place came the Microplane grater, followed, in order of merit, by the KitchenAid mixer, stick blender, Magimix food processor, moulin a legumes, wooden spatula, tongs, Y-shaped peeler and, in tenth position, a big mortar and pestle.
Meanwhile, topping the list of most useless gadgets was Alessi’s Juicy Salif citrus squeezer – the instantly-recognisable aluminium juicer designed by Philippe Starck.
“I’ve had one on my shelf for 15 years; I don’t think I’ve ever used it,” Sophie Conran told the magazine.
Second place in the list of the shame is occupied by the garlic press, while in third position come breadmakers, condemned by the panel for being pointless.
Fourth and fifth positions respectively go to egg poachers and milk frothers.
Other names on the panel included Jamie Oliver, Raymond Blanc and Prue Leith.