This Is Plastics: Plastics Are an Essential Tool in Professional and Home Kitchens


Plastics Are an Essential Tool in Professional and Home Kitchens

Plastics help professional chefs and home cooks innovate in the kitchen and bring flavorful dishes to life.


Plastics are an unsung hero for convenience, efficiency and innovation in the kitchen. Thanks to the material’s versatility, plastic culinary tools and steaming techniques using food-grade plastics are key to creating flavorful dishes in kitchens of all levels of expertise.

Plastics help home and professional cooks prepare meals

The first step for any recipe is preparation, or mise en place. During mise en place, plastics are essential to helping professional chefs and home cooks organize and measure all ingredients prior to cooking to save time. For example, in a bustling restaurant kitchen, professional chefs often use plastic containers to safely prepare ingredients for each meal, ensuring they are able to quickly cook meals as they are ordered. In the home, kitchen chefs often use plastic measuring spoons and cups to prep and measure wet and dry ingredients. Once ingredients are measured, plastic bowls and containers of different colors and sizes can be a helpful way for chefs to organize each step of the recipe. In any kitchen used by cooks of all kinds, plastics are not only more affordable and practical but also more hygienic and durable than alternatives like wood, glass or metal, as they are easy to clean and non-porous, meaning the material discourages the growth of harmful bacteria.

Some highly organized home cooks take meal preparation to the next level, cooking entire meals in advance and using plastic storage containers to easily reheat at mealtime. This type of meal preparation, a long-time trend among millennials, can save busy adults roughly 6 hours per month by providing chefs with the extra time needed to be creative, rather than rushing to prepare a meal after a long day. Plastic storage containers help preserve the flavor of meals while providing a safe and sturdy alternative to glass or aluminum containers. Prepared meals can also be stored and reheated for up to a week, reducing food waste—a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions.

Plastic tools provide chefs with innovative techniques in the kitchen

Once meal preparation is complete, plastics allow professional chefs and home cooks to experiment and create exceptional meals and desserts by using silicone trays, molds and utensils. Silicone molds come in countless shapes and sizes, allowing professionals and at-home bakers to create sweets for every occasion. Silicone molds can be baked at high temperatures and then frozen to create all kinds of desserts and treats. Additionally, silicone is used to create nonstick cooking trays, which allow chefs to test out different cuisines with ease. Silicone tools are flexible, easy to clean and versatile, taking the mess and guesswork out of baking and cooking.  

Along with silicone tools, plastics are essential in many electrical kitchen appliances used by both professional chefs and home cooks. Food mixers, blenders, toasters and other necessary tools are made with plastics because they are more durable and easier to clean than glass, wood or metal alternatives. Plastic does not conduct electricity, making it a safe choice for encasing electronic components in the kitchen. These kitchen appliances allow chefs to safely speed up the cooking and clean-up processes while creating unique meals and desserts.

Food-grade plastics allow for unique cooking techniques

Sous vide, or “under vacuum,” is an innovative cooking technique that uses safe, food-grade plastics to vacuum seal meat, fish, chicken or vegetables and cook them slowly in warm water. These plastics are FDA-approved for use in cooking and maintain their integrity throughout the heating and cooking processes. The technique started as an innovation for professional chefs, but modern technology has brought this to the kitchens of everyday home cooks. Sous vide also reduces food waste. Meat and fish typically lose around 25 percent of their volume as they dry out with traditional cooking methods, but sous vide seals in moisture and cooks food evenly, allowing consumers to enjoy every ounce of food, minimizing waste and maximizing value.

In addition to vacuum sealing, food-grade plastic steam bags allow home chefs to cook vegetables, rice and even whole turkeys. Steaming vegetables in plastics can be a healthier way to eat nutritious foods because the vegetables do not lose the amount of water or nutrients as they would in oven or stovetop cooking. Plastic oven bags, designed to cook turkeys or other tender meats, allow for easy clean-up and produce juicier, more flavorful dishes by locking in moisture. Techniques using plastics have made cooking faster and easier, allowing for innovative yet tasty dishes in a fraction of the typical time.

From preparation to creation, both professional and home chefs use plastics in bowls and tools and as part of innovative techniques to create unique and flavorful dishes with efficiency and easier clean-up. Plastics are safe, high-performing, durable and versatile, making them a smart choice for all types of kitchens.

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