WHAT IS IT?
It’s a small 8-, 9-, or 13-ounce stainless-steel press used to facilitate grilling and sauteing meat, fish, vegetables and more. The heavier the weight, the faster and more efficient the cooking.
The California Kitchen Chef’s Press was born out of true necessity in the tiny kitchen of Bix Restaurant, located down a secret alley in San Francisco, where Chef Bruce Hill was at the helm of the stoves. In a small kitchen like that, every second counts. The old cast-iron bacon presses used by his cooks, trapped steam and were too heavy for many dishes.
In 2004, Chef Hill created the Chef’s Press: a weight-adjustable tool that allows food to cook 20-30 percent faster, is vented to release moisture and yields better results with greater ease.
We were all under the impression that if you’re laying this sleek weight on top of your meat or fish, it would essentially press out all of the juices. After chatting with Chef Hill, we discovered that’s a total misnomer. In fact, the flat design combined with the steel weight actually produces even more juicy food, akin to the George Foreman Grill of yesteryear.
That said, if used incorrectly, these devices can also dry out food. Meaning, you can’t press too hard, says Chef Hill. It’s modeled after the original bacon press, still used by short-order cooks in many old-school diners today.
WHY WE LOVE IT
We love that because this press helps cook food faster, it’s actually a green device — saving home cooks and pro chefs money and much needed time. The press also makes an awesome grilled-cheese sandwich:
We didn’t like that the handle gets too hot to pick up without a tong or an oven mitt, but when it comes to finding just the right accessory in the kitchen, the California Kitchen Chef’s Press is great.