When opening our residency with Chloe at 71 Lordship Lane, R was immediately set on Deli Containers. He had ordered samples to his house to find the right colour and material; and as soon as we opened he proceeded to buy us 750 of them.... 750! I've been keeping track of some of the best uses for these containers, so have a look...
For most chefs out there in the UK, we have not had to deal with these in a kitchen before - but they are essentially round mise-en-place tubs. For all normal people out there, in layman's terms, they are small useful storage containers that us chefs can keep stuff in, essential to a kitchen operation and are usually small square tubs, ice-cream tubs or even small gastronorm pans such as these:
I was initially sceptical about using Deli Containers, they are round, the largest ones might be unstable when full, they might not stack neatly and they definitely do not tessellate nicely into a fridge. However over time I have been converted to the usefulness of a deli container - they have won me over with their charm - although I definitely still pine after some square tubs... but that is a blog post for later!
Okay so I haven't come up with 101 uses for Deli Containers yet, it was a little ambitious of me to title to post with that, but here are my top uses:
1. Tea Cup - Our Delis are resistant to heat and so make the perfect drinking vessel for tea - put one inside the other and voila - an insulated tea cup so you don't burn your hands!
2. Coffee Percolator - With the simple addition of a rubber band and a jay cloth (two things you always find in kitchen) you have your very own makeshift coffee strainer - we're too good for instant coffee you see.
3. Personal Effects storage - I usually have small bits and pieces lying around my station - phone charger, keys, ring cutter, batteries etc. Delis are perfect for slinging loose odds and ends into to store.
4. Phone Speaker - I am not sure of the scientific explanation when it comes to amplifying the acoustics on your phone but trust me music is louder when played from your phone and put inside a deli container. (Side note: it works best if your phone is speaker-down in the deli.)
5. Water glass - always have tap water to hand to keep me hydrated.
6. Cocktail Shaker - Okay so I'm not usually making boozy cocktails during service but we will occasionally make what we affectionately call 'drank' in the kitchen with sugar, leftover citrus rind and water - a deli is perfect for shaking it all up together.
7. Breakfast bowl - a medium is the perfect size for your morning granola, fruit and yoghurt.
8. Measuring - Delis conform with the lazy American way of cooking - a small deli is 1 cup, a medium is 2 and a 'quart' deli (whatever a quart is) is equal to 4 cups. This means if you get one of those stupid recipes that just calls for cups of stuff... a deli is what you need to measure out your ingredients!
9. Pen Pot - If we didn't always lose/misplace/steal/borrow our own and each other's pens then I'm sure we would have one as a pen pot... in a more civilized working environment however...
10. Piping bags – if you don't have any friends (like me) willing to hold your piping bag while you fill it with delicious pastry cream (not a euphemism) then the deli container will become your new best friend!
If you want some delis of your own I recommend visiting Jenpak to grab your own and when you have, let me know (chefs and non-chefs) about your own uses for delis, I will add them to the list! A.