The One Kitchen Tool Chris Santos Can't Live Without

Owner of Beauty & Essex — a mashup between a restaurant and pawn shop – and a mainstay judge on Food Network's long-running show "Chopped," New York City-based chef Chris Santos is as talented as they come (via Tao Group).

And just like any chef, he has fancy kitchen tools around when he's cooking, whether it's at his restaurant or at home. While he could have just about anything at his beck-and-call — including that famed "Chopped" ice cream machine — Santos isn't very high maintenance when it comes to the one thing he loves to use when he's creating a meal. It turns out that the tool he cannot live without, though small, is mighty and versatile. It can even fit in his pocket!

"Simple as it sounds, a Microplane — so good for so many reasons. I like to 'grate' red onions over it when making guacamole, which creates a juice to swirl in as opposed to chunks of onion that can dominate certain bites," he told Food Network

What is a Microplane?

The Microplane — which has featured on other chefs' must-have kitchen tools – is one of the simplest tools you may ever use, but one that makes all the difference in flavor and presentation. This tool, per Taste of Home, is a small grater that produces really fine pieces, finer than one a box grater will create. And, a Microplane is a lot smaller than a box grater, which can be a lifesaver when you don't have much space to begin with.

This baby can soften butter, grate garlic, zest fruit, and do so much more. Want to sprinkle some fine bits of chocolate across the mousse you just made? Grab your Microplane. The cupcake you just baked has slightly burned edges? It's your Microplane to the rescue. Need to grind your whole spices down a bit? Yes, this tool can do the job. 

This little kitchen device is definitely worth the investment, according to Today, even if you already have other types of graters. And for a price of just around $15, you too can find out why chefs love to use a Microplane.