Must-Have Ingredients In The Kitchen

3 min read
A Michelin-starred chef shares what items he always keeps in his pantry and fridge, and how to whip them up for quick yet tasty dishes.

Chef Emmanuel Stroobant is the chef-owner of two Michelin-starred fine-dining restaurant Saint Pierre. He also owns other F&B establishments such as Shoukouwa Sushi, SQUE and Kingdom of Belgians. He is thus most qualified to share kitchen tips, and reveals the essential ingredients he has stocked in his fridge and pantry that can be turned into drool-worthy dishes.Chicken
“Everyone likes chicken. It is such a versatile meat that you can cook using a variety of methods, from grilled to roasted, poached, steamed, minced, fried, stir fried and so forth. Marinate chicken with a little soy sauce, a few drops of sesame oil, crushed garlic and ginger, then fry, grill, roast or simply pan-fry it. Reserve the ‘juice’ after cooking and toss in some fresh greens like bok choy, snow pea or broccoli.”
Egg
”You can simply enjoy them fried or on toasts, or scrambled with smoked salmon; they are a must to keep at all times. And if you like baking, you can use eggs to create plenty of dishes, from a simple meringue to a pound cake. I always choose organic eggs — they are a bit more expensive but taste so much better.”
Tomato
“Either fresh or tinned, it is always useful to have some on hand. Keep them out of the fridge. You can prepare a simple starter with sliced tomatoes. I always prefer to peel them by dropping them in boiling water for 10 seconds and cool in ice water directly before removing the skin. Drizzle with good olive oil, a few drops of balsamic vinegar, and a shaving of Parmesan or some cubes of feta cheese. I love adding some freshly chopped herbs such as basil or chives. I love this as a simple lunch with toasted sourdough.”
Lemon 
“Whether as a base for dressings or for a cocktail, lemon is always welcome. I always start my day with a glass of ‘morning punch’: wash 2 lemons, halve them and boil for five minutes with a few slices of ginger. Strain and cool. A great way to start your day.”

Pasta
“Pasta, or any type of noodles, is especially great if you have kids! The combinations are infinite, but a quick and simple arrabbiata is always welcome. Heat 50ml olive oil, add two cloves of crushed garlic, fry until fragrant. Add one small tin of peeled tomatoes, two tablespoons of chilli flakes, and a handful of chopped parsley. Et voila!”

Onions 
“Add onions to salad for extra sweetness. I also love to use them as a base for sauces: add them in the arrabbiata with some chicken and lemon zest.”

Chickpeas 
“This is a very versatile and healthy ingredient to play with. You can use them in salads and curries. Tossed with avocado, tomato, cashew nuts, some baby romaine and my favourite brand of mayonnaise — it takes five minutes to make this simple dinner or packed lunch when I go back to work at the office.”

Chocolate 
“For me, this is an essential ingredient! Bring 50ml cream to boil, remove from the stove and add 50g of dark chocolate: this makes a perfect topping for ice cream, any dessert or to add in your coffee.”