Tools They Use: Carriage House Executive Chef Devon Sanner

By Jackie Tran
November 8, 2016

Tools They Use takes a look at local food artisans, such as chefs, bakers, brewers, and more with a simple photo displaying their signature items and favorite tools.

Devon Sanner is Executive Chef at the Carriage House and has worked with James Beard award-winning chef Janos Wilder since 2005. Sanner has also staged at Tru and Alinea in Chicago and Momofuku Ssam Bar and Noodle Bar in New York.


32-Ounce Deli Storage Container

"A versatile tool. It stores mise en place efficiently, it functions as a on quart measuring scoop, and it's universally used by professional cooks as a beverage container. Don't forget to stay hydrated! If you're not drinking enough water in the kitchen, your body will crave salt to compensate. It will actually affect your taste perception and you can end up over-seasoning your food."

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US Balance Minibench Digital Scale

"A requisite for measuring out precise amounts of magic white powders. Need 1.2 grams of xanthan and 5 grams of lecithin to create that lychee foam on your peachy-lychee mimosa? Grab the dope scale."

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Chicopee Brand Foodservice Towel

"Even if you're not trying to create Instagrammable food porn pics evocative of Art Culinaire circa 1986, you don't want greasy thumbprints on your plates. Get a little cup of vinegar diluted with water, dab your chix towel, and wipe your plate."

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Togiharu 240 mm Inox Gyutou Knife

"Gyutou knives are the happy medium between traditional Japanese-style knives and Western (French or German-style) chef's knives. This gyutou (meaning "beef knife") has the higher hardness and thinner blade profile of Japanese high carbon knives, but with improved oxidation resistance. This is a workhorse in the kitchen."

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Chinese Cleaver

Although it's called a cleaver, don't use it on bones. It's more like a slicer and chopper. The wide blade makes for easy scooping.

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Tapered Rolling Pin

"Also quaintly labeled "Face Stick" if you go looking for it at Grantstone Market. This single-handed rolling pin is great for making quick work of char siu bao dough for dim sum. Additionally, while it's not the largest weapon in the arsenal of staff motivation, it'll do in a pinch."

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Kuhn Rikon Peeler

The sharp blades make peeling a snap. However, the carbon steel can rust easily, so make sure to dry it thoroughly after use.

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H. F. Coors Coffee Mug

"When you have a two-year-old and live a chef's life, it's likely that your blood type is Arabica. The perfect locally-made vessel for my drug of choice."

Lucky Peach Magazine

"Cooks and chefs — please keep being inspired, keep learning, keep sharing. There are phenomenal chef communities developing where professionals are sharing their passion and craft. Lucky Peach is a wonderful repository of information and inspiration for professionals and food lovers in general. Travel writing, food science, literature, chefs' shop talk, technique, humor — it's all here."

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Moleskine Journal

"While many functions have been replaced by smartphones, sometimes longhand writing is the only suitably generative medium for thinking out a menu, plate diagrams, et al."

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iPhone 5

"Where's that recipe? What's my price on teres major from each of my purveyors? What are 57 things I can do with chard stems? A smartphone has become a sine qua non for many a chef today. Pro-tip: if you're using one in a professional kitchen, get a military-grade case and/or insurance. It will take abuse. Guaranteed."

Car Keys

"A reliable car is a must. Lee Lee Oriental Supermarket isn't going to deliver you pandan leaves, Caravan Market can't just send somebody over to drop off your Tunisian olives, and San Xavier Co-Op Farms isn't going to drop everything to rush you out a pound of cholla buds. If you're running a kitchen, you're running errands. Better make sure you've got good transportation."

American Express Card

"While you're at it, might as well have one of these. You're running the errands and making the purchases, why not use all that purchasing to get points for an Amtrak ride to Santa Barbara? Just saying."

Masking Tape and Sharpie

"Wait. Is that pale yellow liquid in that bottle my crème anglaise, or my chile guero emulsion, or my roasted corn vinaigrette, or my Caesar dressing? Label it. Put a date on it. You'll still need to taste everything to make sure it's quality product, but this is the first step in preventing that line cook from squirting a bottle of oyster sauce over that cinnamon ice cream."

Demitasse Spoons

"Taste everything. All the time. Make sure your cooks are doing the same. Get a bazillion demitasse spoons and encourage the habit. Also, these are perfect for making quenelles (those triangulated ovoid rugby football looking scoops) of tasty treats like fig jam, honey-chamomile infused goat cheese, or salmon mousse."

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F. Dick Multicut Honing Steel

"Sure, the name sounds like it's a mohel with bad aim and a tremor, but it's a very handy tool. Use hard-pressure strokes to sharpen your knife edge, use lighter pressure to "true" or straighten out the knife edge."

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Executive Chef Devon Sanner at The Carriage House (Credit: Jackie Tran)
Executive Chef Devon Sanner at The Carriage House (Credit: Jackie Tran)

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Jackie Tran is a Tucson-based food writer, photographer, culinary educator, and owner-chef of the food truck Tran's Fats. Although he...

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