Just like birds migrating away from the growing chill, we humans start feeling the urge to move from the backyard to the kitchen right around this time of year. But what state is your epicurean equipment in? We don’t have many dedicated kitchen-supply stores on the South Fork, but the ones we have are downright dynamite — well-suited for the most discerning top chef — and, even better, they’re awfully nice, convivial places to shop. If it seems like your pots, pans, knives and other accoutrements have seen better days, get ready for the braising-roasting-simmering season with kitchen gear from these culinary corners.
Loaves & Fishes Cookshop, 2266 Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton, 631-537-6066
While Loaves & Fishes Cookshop offers some familiar workhorse pieces, what really stands out here are the hyper-curated kitchen pieces that are destined for family heirloom status. Founded in 2015, Smithey Ironware founder Isaac Morton partnered with South Carolina blacksmith Robert Thomas to create a line of hand-forged, pre-seasoned carbon-steel pots and pans that are at once stunning and soldiers of the open flame. The oval roaster ($285) not only lets you cook for a clan, be it stovetop, oven or over fire, it’s engravable, too.
Beautiful, well-made knives have become a cook’s secret handshake. You won’t be able to take your eyes off the stunning, colorful resin-handled, stainless-steel 8-inch chef’s knife ($349) from Portuguese producer Kyna, each one unique from the next. You can display your one-of-kind blade on one of L&F’s monolith magnetic knife blocks ($350 to $457) in different woods and finishes.
If your casserole dish has seen better days, Pillivuyt has been making long-lasting pieces from their factory in Mehun-sur-Yevre, France, since 1818. The porcelain deep rectangular eared roaster ($126) in creamy white will go from oven-to-table with everything from roast chicken to laborious lasagna in simple style. And if you’re looking for some stylish seasoning, German furniture designer Alexander Ortlieb makes a line of stunning pepper and salt mills ($128 to $290) from elm, walnut, pear and maple, among other wood sources from the Black Forest.
In Home, 132 Main St., Sag Harbor, 631-725-7900
We might offer to arm wrestle over the notion that there is no nicer and more knowledgeable shopkeeper than David Brogna. He and his partner, John Scocco, have helmed this tiny-but-mighty all-things-kitchen store for 27 years. Brogna knows his subject well: He created and taught a course on product development for the home in 1988 at the Fashion Institute of Technology, ushering in a new facet of design education. (Many of his former students work for cookware design companies, thanks to their excellent teacher!)
Brogna is all about quality, first and foremost — which, he’ll tell you straight-up, doesn’t necessarily have to do with price. One of his favorite companies is the Denmark-based Scanpan Cookware, because of the proprietary ceramic seal on their products that are truly non-stick and easy to clean and, more importantly, they don’t impart any prior flavor or food particles to what’s cookin’. Their mighty 14-inch Dutch oven ($179) is half the price of some other well-regarded versions, and this one-pot beast can do everything from stocks and soups and big-batch sauces (Sunday gravy night!) to pastas and even seafood boils (lobstah night!).
Speaking of seafood, In Home carries an excellent version of that much-needed East End staple, the oyster knife, but this one comes from the New England producer Maine Man who’s been around since 1957, making reasonably priced 7-inch 18/8 stainless shucking knives ($5) with good-grippy handles to keep the bivalve shucking smooth.
Another staple you might be missing: a good kitchen scale. Brogna is a fan of the sustainable materials of the Escali Bamboo “Arti” scale ($39), which weighs items up to 15 pounds, but also translates into grams and kilograms, ounces and fluid ounces, and even milliliters from its digital, big-numbered easy-to-read screen. And since you’ll be standing there weighing and measuring at the counter, why not pick up one of In Home’s Chilewich Floor Mats in the 2-by-6-foot runner size ($315) or the little 2-by-3-foot one-person perch ($135), whose springy vinyl weave not only is durable, but feels pretty nice when you’re standing at the counter for long periods.