What a Chef Swears By: Secrets from Pastry Pro Caroline Schiff

Caroline Schiff is the friend we turn to when we need some guidance in the kitchen. Caroline has made it to the top of the heap (or the tiered cake, as the case may be) as a successful restaurant chef and executive pastry chef in New York's competitive culinary scene. Caroline has since packaged all her chef smarts into a dessert and pastry consulting service called ParadigmSchiff (swoon, we’re suckers for wordplay), where she develops menus and connects the restaurant world’s best chefs, event planners, finance experts and social media influencers. And, wait for it, she also makes custom cakes. And finds time to be an active and avid runner. And appears on foodie TV from Beat Bobby Flay to the docu-series Her Name is Chef, which profiles the real “she-roes of the kitchen.” We caught up with Caroline on her Brooklyn stoop for some always-seasonal rosé and the download on her Swears, designed to turn any newbie into an at-home chef.

Photo credit: Michelle Rose Photo

Guittard Bittersweet Chocolate Wafers

“You have to bake with good chocolate. There are no substitutions. It makes all the difference in your cookies, cakes and confections. For incredible quality, that’s American made and female owned to boot, you cannot beat Guittard. It’s great for melting, dipping, adding to batters and makes the most perfect chocolate chip cookie. It’s available in most markets now, and is affordable as well. It’s become my go-to and I usually have a milk and dark variety around, plus their white chocolate rules!”

Photo credit: Michelle Rose Photo

Woodstock Classic Apron by Hedley&Bennett

“Handmade by an amazing female owned company in LA, it’s super durable and also flattering. Great for home and professional cooks. They are really stylish, but you can dirty them up and throw them in the wash with everything else. I love the functional pockets too.”

Photo credit: Michelle Rose Photo

Bodum French Press

“I’m a total coffee addict. I’ve always loved French press coffee. I do enjoy espresso drinks, but I have no skills in that department, so I leave that to the baristas at my local coffee shop. At home, this is how I brew about two big, strong cups for myself, which is a daily habit. I can’t get my day going without it. Bodum makes some of the best at a great price. They’ll last you a lifetime.”

Photo credit: Michelle Rose Photo

Oslo Thor House Blend

“Piggybacking on my french press Swear; I love Oslo beans for my coffee. They’re a Brooklyn based roaster and I love supporting local businesses. ‘Thor’ blend is my favorite and makes a great, rich cup. I buy a pound bag at a time and have it ground by my local grocer. It stays fresh in my freezer for the week and keeps me going all day.”

Photo credit: Michelle Rose Photo

Vrac Boxed Rosé

“OK. I know what you’re thinking. Boxed wine?! But let me tell you. Boxed wine is awesome! The nature of the packaging keeps it airtight, so it doesn’t go bad after it’s opened, and then you can drink it at your own pace. The packaging cuts down on the cost as well, so it’s very affordable and less wasteful since it won’t go bad and down the drain. There’s a ton of pleasure in pouring yourself a glass as you bake or cook in the afternoon. If I’m just in the kitchen for leisure and winding down my day, waiting for something to come out of the oven before dinner, I’ll pour a little into a small tumbler or jar. I almost never use a wine glass. Vrac Rosé is my favorite right now. To buy wine ‘en vrac’ in french means ‘in bulk,’ direct from the winemaker. With this box you’re getting approximately four bottles for about the cost of two or three.”

Photo credit: Michelle Rose Photo

Cherry Bombe x PolkaPants

“This is the first actually fashionable and flattering kitchen pant for women chefs and great for anyone with an active job. I even wear them when I running around town, to the farmers market or restaurant supply. They’re super cute and very durable; made to last. I own several pairs. The company is owned and run by its female founder, who has also designed each style.”

Photo credit: Michelle Rose Photo

Dansko Reggie Shoes

“My feet are really important. I work on my feet, I run marathons. I need to keep them happy! And I need them to feel great even after a long day baking, an event or shoot, without looking totally frumpy. I wear clogs in the kitchen, but when I’m going to meetings, or want to look a little more put together in my chef wear for a shoot or event, I’ll go with one of the Dansko heeled styles. They are incredibly comfortable but don’t look orthopedic. Right now, I’m wearing their heeled sandals which provide a little style with max comfort. They have great options for every season and are nearly indestructible.”

We think you deserve to buy only awesome things. We've asked the most discerning women out there to share what they honestly, truly swear by so you can get on with life and find your next favorite product, faster. What do you SwearBy?