We're not going to lie: as much as we VT staffers really do enjoy giving away fabulous reader prizes, we were more than a little bit envious of reader Michael Smith for winning The Ultimate Kitchen Tools Giveaway. Who wouldn't be? The prize package—worth a whopping $1,750—included 25 must-have cook's tools selected with love by VT staffers, recipe developers, and food stylists (featured in November's "Smart Kitchen Essentials"). But when we saw the smile on Michael's face in the picture he sent in (above), our envy melted into pure joy. Below, this lucky winner shares how he's putting his new kitchen gear to great use. Congrats Michael!
Where were you when you found out that you won?
I was studying abroad in India when I first received the email telling me I had won. We were in a hotel in the southern part of Delhi where I fortunately had an internet connection.
Did you share the good news with anyone?
My companions on the trip found out the second I got the email, and none of them believed me until we returned to the United States and they saw the prizes themselves.
Which kitchen tool are you most excited to use?
The pressure cooker was an entirely new tool for me that I have used several times now. It's amazing how easy it makes cooking anything that requires boiling.
Is there a local dish that you discovered in India that you plan to recreate?
Biryani is a delicious rice dish from southern India which we had several times while in the country. Traditionally it is made with meat, but it's pretty easy to make it veg. I have already made it several times thanks to the pressure cooker!
Is there a dish you’ve been itching to make but you didn’t have the tools for?
As simple as it may be, I am a big fan of pesto, and until now I have not had a food processor to make it with.
Which tool intimidates you the most? How do you plan to tackle it?
The zester is not a complicated tool, but since receiving it I realized that I never zest anything. The challenge will be to integrate it into my cooking.
Will you be cooking for anyone else?
I am always cooking for friends and family. I have already enticed my neighbors over more than a few times to help me try everything out.