Chef Dan Kluger of New York’s Loring Place restaurant swears by his Microplane, the classic stainless steel grater/zester. You might be thinking, “I already have a grater and a zester — why do I need one of these?” The difference is durability, longevity, and versatility: The James Beard nominee and Jean-Georges protege says he uses it “for all cheeses, citrus zests, nutmeg, and even some bonito I bought back from Japan.”
The Microplane was originally created (Microplane is both a brand name and the name of the product, like Xerox) for smoothing out pieces while woodworking, but it was quickly snatched up by chefs. The manufacturers were disappointed at first, but they’ve since embraced the culinary world and now make more kitchen tools. (There’s a full New York Times profile if you’re dying for more Microplane history.)
The classic Microplane is a long, thin tool that you pull across like you’re playing a violin. Use it on a block of cheese, and the results are the fluffiest little piles of Parmesan you’ve ever seen. Oh, and it’s dishwasher safe.
You can find the essential Microplane for all your cheese, citrus, and bonito needs online at Amazon, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and a bunch of other retailers. It’s an investment in your garnishing future.