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Most Unusual Items in a Chef's Kitchen
Although it's quick and simple, a list can be just as educational as it is easy to read. That's the idea behind TravelsinTaste.com's new "Lists" feature, which includes lists of some of the country's most exciting food trends, innovative ingredients, unusual restaurants, intriguing cocktails and more. Our editors have scoured America's kitchens, markets and menus in search of the most up-to-date, unusual items for your reading -- and dining – pleasure, then published them in a convenient, easy-to-chew list format. Scan, savor and enjoy!

A chef’s kitchen likely differs from our own in some obvious ways, but most of us can probably imagine what might be inside of a top notch kitchen. Their appliances are bigger and better, plus they must have some ingredients and tools a bit off of the beaten path. To feed our curiosity, we asked a few of our favorite chefs what the most unusual item in their kitchen is and compiled a very unique list.

5. Eucalyptus
South Gate
154 Central Park South
New York, NY
212 484 5120

Chef Kerry Heffernan was wandering through the market after buying some fresh albacore in the Hudson Canyons when it dawned on him to pair the fish with eucalyptus. “The eucalyptus smells good, but I didn’t know anyone using it in cooking,” he said. “I figured it was probably most soluble in oil, so we would warm the oil up with the leaves inside. Obviously it’s very strong, so you need to grace it just a touch. Learning about that relationship was an exciting moment.”

4. Bamboo
Bar Masa
3730 Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV
(877) 230-2742

At Bar Masa, Chef Drew Terp considers an 8-foot stalk of bamboo to be the most unusual item in his kitchen. “We import bamboo that we use as decorations. Whenever there is any sort of downtime, we take that and — to keep each other busy — carve it down into functional utensils.” But bamboo carving is not just fun and games. “Whenever we run out, we chop it down into chop sticks or spoons.”

3. Celebrity Signed Door
4321 West Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV
(702) 933-9900

Chef Barry Dakake has a top-of-the-line kitchen, but his favorite thing? The door to his office. And that door happens to be a pretty special door. “It started two years ago,” Chef Dakake explained. “Carmelo Anthony, a basketball player for the Denver Nuggets, used to eat here all the time. I’m a big sports fan, so I used to tell him, ‘When are you bringing me my basketball? You’re always shaking me down — I want a basketball jersey or something.’ So one day Carmelo said, ‘Let’s go in the back; come on.’ So he’s walking in my kitchen and says, ‘Take me to your office,’ then, ‘Give me a marker.’ And he signs my door — the people’s champ.” Since Anthony left his John Hancock on his door, Chef Dakake has invited a host of celebrity guests to do the same. Among those who’ve signed his door, for instance, are Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Gary Sheffield, Johnny Bench, Ernie Banks, Jerry West, President Bill Clinton and Derek Jeter.

2. Celebrity Signed Door
4321 West Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV
(702) 942-6800

In Vegas, one is never enough. Chef Geno Bernardo has got his own celebrity signed door to brag about. In fact, they have a long running competition to see who can get the most signatures on them. “I love it,” Chef Bernardo said. “I love to get them on the door. Barry is serious about it. I have it; it’s fun. “Who’s signed Chef Bernardo’s door, we wondered?”I have Joe Montana,” he told us. “My favorite one is Eva Mendez. Barry is jealous about Eva Mendez. He doesn’t have Eva Mendez. I have Miss Rhode Island. I have all of them!”

1. Pig’s Head
Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina
3720 Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV
(702) 238-1000

“There’s a pig’s head in my walk-in right now,” Chef Dustin Lewandowski answered, straight faced, then laughed. “That’s kind of unusual to some.” Just what does Chef Lewandowski use a giant pig’s head for? He makes his own head cheese, Fromage de Tete. The pig’s head is rinsed, soaked and then brined and slow cooked until all the meat falls off. “Then we pull it and make a terrine out of it,” he says.

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