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If you’ve ever dreamed of having a chef on retainer, here’s the next best thing (or almost): this column. To start, we ask Ann Gentry, our own executive chef and the visionary founder of the organic vegan eatery Real Food Daily, which kitchen tool she thinks is well worth the splurge. Here’s what she told us:

“My all-time favorite home kitchen tool is the pot I’ve had the longest, a 3 1/2-quart Le Creuset French Oven. After about 25 years, the lid still fits snugly. And the nonreactive enamel coating is scratch-resistant, so it still looks good! I love that it’s perfect for one-pot meals. Made of cast iron, it distributes heat evenly and allows me to cook using a medium to low flame, which works well when you prepare lots of vegetables and grains as I do. I can also put it in the oven for casseroles. I recently splurged on two bigger sizes; each time, I was anxious about the high price, but bought the pot anyway because I knew what a great product I was getting. Also, Le Creuset has added all these bright, fun colors. So not only do I have more pots that will last a lifetime, but now there’??s cherry red and Caribbean blue in my collection.”