By Liz Warton
67% of the total respondents were chefs in the restaurant industry.
Executive Chefs and Chefs were the largest categories to respond.
By cuisine, 23% of the responses came from Italian chefs while 33%
specialized in American cuisine.
The survey separated ingredients into
five categories: canned and dried goods, condiments, herbs, meat
and produce. According to our respondents, pasta is rated the number
one essential ingredient in the canned and dried goods pantry, with
flour, canned tomatoes and rice closely following. Canned tomatoes
and dried porcini mushrooms also rate high for Italian chefs. We
discovered that penne, fettuccine and linguine are the most popular,
and radiatore, mostaccioli and elbow shapes were the least.
Canned & Dried
Canned Tomatoes and Dried Porcini
Olive oil is the top rated condiment with red and
white wine following closely behind. Italian chefs rate wine and
balsamic vinegar higher on their list than non-Italian chefs, who
name olives as one of the more important condiments. Capers and
anchovies are considered the least essential of the group.
There was no contest with herbs: fresh basil and
fresh parsley came out on top. Black peppercorns and Kosher salt
are also considered indispensable ingredients in the kitchen, while
garlic powder ranks least important. Italian chefs cite fresh rosemary
as high in importance but non-Italian chefs favor fresh oregano.
In the protein category, fish beat prosciutto by
a slight margin, with pork and chicken trailing not far behind.
Italian chefs rate beef and lamb much higher than other chefs.
Lamb and Beef
Tomatoes, garlic and onions are considered extremely important
in the produce department; broccoli, green beans, and squash are
Over half of our respondents rate quality as the most important factor
in purchasing products with freshness, availability and seasonality
also factoring in purchasing decisions. Price and brand name are considered
to be the least important.
We asked respondents to offer tips for cooking Italian food at home
as well as in a restaurant. A large majority suggested keeping it
simple, respecting ingredients and using the freshest quality products
you can find. In cooking pasta, always salt the water and make sure
to cook the pasta al dente, using the pasta water to flavor or moisten
sauces. The consensus names slow cooking, integrity of ingredients,
passion and love as the most essential components in the Italian