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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. 

You don’t have to be a spicy food fan to be part of Fly by Jing‘s Chili Crisp cult following. The brand’s founder, Jing Gao, just dropped her very first cookbook, packed with 85 recipes that range from snackable dumplings to spicy-sweet desserts. Really, though, The Sichuan Chili Crisp Cookbook is more than a resource to keep on your kitchen counter, it’s the culmination of Gao’s life story, all fueled by a hunger to discover her identity through food. And yes, you’ll find some seriously delish dishes to whip up—Hongshao Carnitas Tacos, for example—but the book is also loaded with Gao’s heartfelt insights into the magic of condiments, and it details her mission to make these hard-to-come-by flavors accessible to everyone. And because she’s the real deal, she shared with us some of her must-have kitchen products that help tie it all together.

The Book of Sichuan Chili Crisp

The Kitchen Tool I Use the Most in Recipe Development

You can do anything with a wok—you can steam, stir-fry, braise—it’s all about versatility. 

The One Thing I Always Buy in Bulk

Black vinegar. There’s one that we carry that’s aged for 10 years. It’s so deep and complex that you can literally drink it out of the bottle. It’s called for in most of my recipes, so I always have several bottles on hand. 

Worth the Splurge

The most expensive things I have in the kitchen are my cooking vessels. I love clay pots. There’s a store in L.A. called Toiro that specializes in Japanese donabes that really seal in flavor. I have about eight of them. They’re pricey, but they make such a difference in soups, stews, and rice. 

My Favorite Cheap Cooking Thrill

There’s a lot, but I get the most out of ingredients like fish sauce and flaky salts. Fish sauce is one of those things that can be so cheap, but if you use the right amount, it’s transformative for a dish. 

The Utensils I Can’t Live Without 

My GIR spatulas. They’re so functional and so beautiful, and I just love a rubber spatula. 

How I Set the Table for Friends and Family

Most recently I bought these color-blocked chopsticks from Hay that look so great on a table. I love the Sophie Lou Jacobsen x Ghia collaboration; they made these chic martini glasses that I always put out for drinks. The green Night + Day glasses from Our Place are my go-to for water, and when it comes to serveware, I use a combination of things. I love East Fork pottery, but I’ll usually serve a dish right out of the cooking vessel, like my Toiro donabe. 

How I Keep My Kitchen Organized

My pantry is so densely packed. I use a lot of risers so that all of my condiments are displayed and I can easily see everything. I also keep a marble lazy Susan on my counter for all of my most frequently used pantry items. 

The Appliances That Stay on My Countertop 

What isn’t on my counter?! My Cosori air fryer is very frequently used, so that stays out. I drink a lot of tea, and my dream is to have a hot water tap in my kitchen, but until then I keep my Fellow kettle handy.