Rachael Ray's Kitchen Advice For New Cooks

For anyone with a television and access to Food Network, Rachael Ray is a household name. She's known for her cooking shows, cookbooks, and has her own lifestyle magazine to wrap it all together (via Biography). Her shows and recipes are designed for the busy cook looking for hassle-free ideas ready in no time, with titles like 30 Minute Meals and 3 in the Bag. While we could imagine certain high-maintenance cooking personalities require special cookware for each step of a recipe, we don't really see it fitting in with Rachael Ray's style. 

Indeed, when Food Network asked for her top advice for new cooks, Rachael recommended against buying pot sets. She pointed out that they're often expensive for what you get, joking that her own cookware merchandise was the exception. Her 12-piece set includes some saucepans, frying pans, a stockpot, a spatula, and a large spoon (via The Spruce Eats). While it's pretty comprehensive and sells at a competitive price, we are inclined to follow her recommendation about avoiding sets.

What do new cooks really need in the kitchen?

First of all, if you search for essential cookware online, the number of items varies pretty significantly. Is five the magic number of pots and pans required or do you need 13 to be able to cook a meal? While a chef preparing a number of dishes for a group might actually use 20 different pots and pans in a session, the average beginner cook will probably start slowly. If you're just getting into cooking, it's hard to know what you will be making two months from now. If you buy the set with all the "essentials," it'll likely have items you won't use unless all your other pots are dirty, and might lack a size you realize is actually useful.

If you're planning to cook long-term, investing in quality pots and pans is a good idea. However, these are usually priced accordingly and it can be prohibitive to try to buy a whole set, as Rachael Ray said. For this reason, picking a few basic pieces to start, and slowly adding to your collection is a better strategy to ensure you still have some cash for ingredients! Real Simple stays true to their name by recommending only three pots and pans you need: a sturdy stockpot, frying pan, and saucepan. These three should have you covered and keep you busy experimenting with recipes. Once you are comfortable trying new dishes (and decide whether you actually like cooking!) you can make additional purchases based on your needs.