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In our series “Shopping Buddy,” we ask our favorite in-the-know authors, actors, musicians, and tastemakers to share their most coveted home purchases, from kitchen essentials to entertaining must-haves, so that you can shop along with confidence. 

Ask food personality and record producer Benny Blanco what a party at his house is like, and he’ll tell you: “I like to bring all walks of life together,” he says. “Unexpected pairings are my forte.” 

Then things get a little Stefon-like: “My mom will walk in with a glitter shirt that says ‘Bada bing’ on it, while a baby is carrying around a wheel of Parmesan that weighs as much as they do, and somehow out of the corner of your eye you spot Ed Sheeran playing a guitar poolside, as a 75-year-old man does a cannonball into the Jacuzzi.” To which we reply—where’s our invite?

Open Wide book cover with man eating chicken
Open Wide by Benny Blanco with Jess Damuck, Amazon ($13)
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Here, in his own words, the man behind Open Wide, his cookbook about serving up epic meals for friends, shares his favorite cooking essentials for when company’s coming over. 

My Favorite Countertop Appliance

Rice cooker
Zojirushi 5.5-Cup Pressure Induction Heating Rice Cooker, Amazon ($460)
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The One Knife That Does It All

Japanese Knife
Gesshin Stainless 210MM Wa-Gyuto , Japanese Knife Imports ($140)
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I have a trusty all purpose Japanese knife from Japanese Knife Imports. I don’t really use knives that patina because I have too many people in my kitchen who wanna cut a lemon, so I want a knife that’s stainless steel.

My Preferred Pans

Matheson Cast Iron Skillet With Lid
10″ Cast Iron Pan, Matheson ($250)
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It depends on what I’m cooking, but I feel like everyone needs a really good stainless steel pan and a really good cast-iron pan. Don’t wash your cast iron with soap unless you’re stupid.

The Salad Spinner I Rely On

Oxo Large Salad Spinner
OXO Good Grips Large Salad Spinner, Amazon ($30)
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Whichever one Jess Damuck [who cowrote Open Wide] bought for me. She’s the salad freak.

The Food Storage I Buy in Bulk

Pyrex Glass food storage
Pyrex Freshlock 14-Piece Glass Food Storage Set, Amazon ($45)
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Anything glass.

The Most Underrated Cooking Tool

Microplane Zester in mustard
Microplane Premium Zester Grater, Amazon ($17)
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A good zester. You’d be surprised how many people don’t have a zester.

The Single-Use Kitchen Tool You Actually Need

Oxo Garlic Press
OXO Good Grips Garlic Press, Amazon ($17)
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The Best Speaker to Keep in the Kitchen

Gray speaker with walnut top
Klipsch Heritage Wireless The One II Tabletop Stereo, Amazon ($189)
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Whatever speakers you’ve got. It’s music, baby. 

The Splurge That’s Worth It

Benny Blanco Serves Up His Epic Party Food on a Leanne Ford Platter
Ironwood Grill, Traeger ($1,799)
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The Serving Platters I Always Use During Parties

Something huge so everyone can get their hands in it.