While working long hours of frying, sautéing, braising, and browning, New York chef Justin Warner strives to turn simple recipes into eclectic dishes. From his first ingredient to his last, he holds tightly to three kitchen essentials: an offset spatula, a heavy-bottomed stock pot and Dansko shoes.
Now, which item took the top spot?
“Comfortable shoes are the most important kitchen essential,” said Warner, winner of the reality television series Food Network Star in 2012. “It's impossible to summon all of your creativity when your mind is being taxed by whiny feet or vertebra.”
While in the kitchen of “Do or Dine,” Warner’s Brooklyn-based restaurant, the co-owner puts his creativity to good use. From a signature pork tenderloin dish, which incorporates red cabbage, roasted apples and wasabi marshmallows, to a scrumptious lamb breast starter, Warner sets out to please (and surprise) his guests. Along the way, he aims to protect his most important asset—his feet.
“On many occasions, I have been saved by durable Dansko leathers,” continued Warner. “Hot oil spills create disaster in the kitchen—disaster that I have only witnessed, because I’ve never endured a foot burn in 10 years of wearing Dansko shoes.”
To round out his list of cooking essentials, Warner recommends a heavy-bottom stock pot, a pot used to heat and simmer soups and broths while preventing burns and unwanted stickiness. Warner completes his list with an offset spatula, a tool that uses a two-tier design to help navigate crowded stovetops with ease.
When using these three essentials to conquer Do or Dine’s kitchen, Warner creates one-of-a-kind dishes for adventurous diners. But before he enters the kitchen, picks up his spatula and reaches for his stock pot, Warner grabs his official “chef shoes”—and steps into all-day comfort and support.
“I don’t actually own ‘work shoes,’” Warner concluded. “I am a Professional, and Dansko produces a professional shoe.”