The One Item Jeremy Ford Says You Need In Your Kitchen - Exclusive

No one knows the heat of the kitchen better than Jeremy Ford — he rose to prominence as the Season 13 winner of the reality TV competition show "Top Chef." He has also competed alongside fellow "Top Chef" winner Kristen Kish and "Iron Chef America" winner Justin Sutherland in "Fast Foodies," and he is the owner of three different restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Stubborn Seed and his newest venture, The Butcher's Club at PGA National Resort. His cooking expertise ranges from quality meat cuts cooked to perfection to delicate appetizers and desserts to exciting cocktails.

With this varied career and wide range, it is clear that Ford knows his way around a well-stocked kitchen — so we asked him in an exclusive interview what he thinks every kitchen needs. His answer is a standby favorite and absolutely cannot be overlooked; if you are new to cooking or trying to build out your own kitchen, you'll want to listen to his explanation (and possibly plan a shopping trip).

Cast iron always

With so many necessary implements in a kitchen, Jeremy Ford found it hard to pick just one, but a particular item stood out to him first. "Man, there's so many things you need — a good cast iron pan. A lot of people don't realize the sear you get on a good cast iron, because I can have an electric stove or a gas stove, and it's still going to get my pan hot ... I would love to have a gas stove, but [with] a cast iron pan, no matter what you have, you're going to get a good sear." Cast iron pans are solid iron pans, so while they are heavy, as Ford points out, they are some of the most versatile pieces of cookware.

In addition to searing, a well-seasoned cast iron pan is often considered the original non-stick pan. While they require some easy maintenance, any effort put in will be worth it. They work on gas, induction, and electric stoves and can be placed in an oven. So especially if you're cooking a lot of meat, do yourself a favor, and follow Jeremy Ford's advice to get a good cast iron pan — your steaks will thank you.

Jeremy Ford recently appeared at The South Beach Wine & Food Festival, which takes place annually in South Beach, Florida.