Athena Calderone's 36 Must-Have Kitchen Essentials Are Stylish and Practical

Updated 12/27/18
Athena Calderone—kitchen essentials
Johnny Miller

When it comes to interior style icons, one name always immediately springs to mind: Athena Calderone of . The  is an entertaining expert who's worked with major brands to create dreamy table settings and delicious food to match—this  is to die for. It's her stylish knack for creating recipes (her debut cookbook, is a must-have) that not only taste good but look beautiful too that has us all following her every move and wanting to replicate it at home too.

Well, as we enter the season of entertaining, we reached out to the impeccably cool and stylish Calderone to share some of her kitchen must-haves. From glassware to dinnerware, knives, and linen for the tablescapes, these 36 kitchen essentials will create the most stylish and practical cooking space for the new year. 

Il Buco Honeycomb Patterned Tumbler
Il Buco Honeycomb Patterned Tumbler $34

"These handblown, honeycomb patterned glasses from Il Buco are perfect everyday glassware that can be used for everything from water to wine. Versatility at its finest. Bonus: Textured glassware filled with water or wine sparkles in the natural light, reflecting dappled, dancing shadows onto the table."

CB2 Set of 8 Marta Juice Glasses
CB2 Set of 8 Marta Juice Glasses $12 $10

"[These are] super minimal and really functional. I love these CB2 juice glasses because the glass is extra-thin and lightweight, but the body of the glass is quite grand."

Kkokkodek Mug No. 2
Kkokkodek Mug No. 2 $44

"The tactile and textural finish on this Kkokkodek Mug sets this piece apart. Each mug is handmade and every one of is different, which gives a bespoke, artisan feel to your coffee cup."

Goop x CB2 Bedside Glass Pitcher
Goop x CB2 Bedside Glass Pitcher $25

"When I have guests over, it’s always a thoughtful touch to leave out water pitchers throughout the living and dining space. This way they can serve themselves without feeling like they are constantly asking their host for water."

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Johnny Miller
Eric Bonnin Ceramic Plates, Set of 4
Eric Bonnin Ceramic Plates, Set of 4 $128
Food 52 Dinnerware, by Jono Pandolfi
Food 52 Dinnerware, by Jono Pandolfi $34

"From Eleven Madison Park to Lilia to your very own dinner table, Jono Pandolfi’s classic designs are highly regarded in the New York restaurant world and are equally simple and durable for your daily use."

CB2 Crisp Matte Black Dinnerware
CB2 Crisp Matte Black Dinnerware $4

"These handmade modern stoneware dinnerware pieces with a matte black glaze expertly compliment a bold, dark kitchen. Plate hearty dishes or vibrant desserts on these deep black sets."

Il Buco Bevagna Oval Serving Platter
Il Buco Bevagna Oval Serving Platter $264

"Trust me, finding a truly beautiful platter to plate your family style meal is tough. This one from Il Buco Vita is perfect for just that."

tablescape ideas
Sarah Elliott
Cutipol Aero Black 5-Piece Flatware Place Setting - Crate and Barrel
Cutipol Aero Black 5-Piece Flatware Place Setting - Crate and Barrel $60 $48

"This beautiful black and brushed steel flatware is slender and designed flawlessly. They are elegant yet work perfectly as an everyday set."

Fog Linen Striped Kitchen Towel
Fog Linen Striped Kitchen Towel $15

"A classic cotton cloth is always a kitchen staple for me. This one from Fog Linen has a natural yet soft texture that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. They also wear well and last longer than other dishtowels."

Silk & Willow Organic Handloom Tight Weave Table Runner
Silk & Willow Organic Handloom Tight Weave Table Runner $26

"This twill table runner from my go-to source for linens, Silk & Willow, offer a gauzy, raw, and textural component to the tables. They are bold, moody, and offer natural movement to the kitchen and dining area."

Anthropologie Frayed Linen Napkins, Set of 4
Anthropologie Frayed Linen Napkins, Set of 4 $95

"I tend to crave an undone look. I embrace wrinkles and love a frayed edge. Actually, an amazing styling secret (if you dislike an iron as much as I do) is to dampen your table linens and throw them in the dryer for that perfectly tossed and crumpled, imperfect look."

winter table setting
Johnny Miller
Rough Linen Orkney Linen Tablecloth
Rough Linen Orkney Linen Tablecloth $130

"Rough Linen is my go-to classic in both white and charcoal. I love its European style linen tablecloth runners, napkins, and aprons, which have a lovely homespun texture and slightly heavier weight. I'm rather obsessed."

Jacob May Wesley Butcher Blocks
Jacob May Wesley Butcher Blocks $400

"This black walnut butcher block is alluring for so many reasons. From the impeccable craftsmanship (look at that brass inlay) to the stunning natural grooves of the wood, this cutting board makes for an amazing, thoughtful gift."

John Boos & Co. Maple Cutting Board
John Boos & Co. Maple Cutting Board $100

"Simply put, this cutting board is the workhorse of my kitchen. I chop, dice, and filet nearly everything on this thick cut of maple."

kitchen items
Athena Calderone
Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co. Blackline Large Board
Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co. Blackline Large Board $235 $141

"This stunning, sculptural board is crafted to last through the ages. It’s an EyeSwoon obsession."

Material Kitchen The Knives
Material Kitchen The Knives $75

"This knife is sleek, stylish, and super sharp. There is no substitute for a high-quality knife in the kitchen. This one marries both function, technique, and aesthetics."

Adler & Co. Cast Iron Mortar and Pestle
Adler & Co. Cast Iron Mortar and Pestle $74

"This mortal and pestle is a really helpful tool in the kitchen, especially when making cocktails (or pesto) for your guests. It's made from cast iron. I also really love the sheer weight of this piece."

Sur La Table Super Benriner Mandoline
Sur La Table Super Benriner Mandoline $65

"Any veggie becomes salad-worthy when elegantly sliced and diced with a mandoline. This beloved model is the one I, and myriad chefs, recommend."

kitchen essentials
Athena Calderone
Microplane Master Series Zester
Microplane Master Series Zester $27

"No surprise a lover of bold, bright flavors would covet her zester, but it’s also invaluable for grating cheese and garlic."

Peter Zumthor for Alessi Wood Pepper Mill
Peter Zumthor for Alessi Wood Pepper Mill $200

"I’ve been using this graceful, minimal mill to freshly crack pepper for years."

Arno Triple Tray 2.0
Arno Triple Tray 2.0 $1560

"I'm just enamored by all the beauty that Arno creates. I love the African-inspired sculptural quality of this triple tray. I styled the vessel with gorgeous concord grapes cascading over each bowl for my holiday table."

Sin Uni Candlestick
Sin Uni Candlestick $38

"Just about anything matte, plaster, or ceramic and made with a handmade touch is heaven in my design book. I love these."

tablescape ideas
Johnny Miller
George Jensen Ilse Candle Holder
George Jensen Ilse Candle Holder $145

"These timeless and elegant Ilse Crawford brass candle holders are my go-to. I actually love when they get all mucked up with candle drippings and how the brass develops a patina over time. I’ve even helped them along with a little salt water spritz and interaction from the outdoor elements."

Adler & Co. Natural Taper Candles
Adler & Co. Natural Taper Candles $12

"Extra tall and slender, these taper candles are elegant and natural with a waxy finish. Perfect for mood lighting."

Roman and Williams Guild Montauk Candelabra
Roman and Williams Guild Montauk Candelabra $275

"I have been a friend of Robin and Stephens for 10 years now and have always swooned over the vintage candelabras that have illuminated their Montauk tablescapes for their annual July 4 BBQ. Now we can all have them from RW Guild. Whoot, Whoot."

Beehive Alchemy Tapered Bayberry Candles, Set of 8
Beehive Alchemy Tapered Bayberry Candles, Set of 8 $58

"With a natural green hue and waxy texture, these tapered candles are elegant neutral accents that effortlessly set the ambiance of any room."

Athena Calderone tablescape ideas
Johnny Miller
Adler & Co. Brass Match Scratcher
Adler & Co. Brass Match Scratcher $130

"When hosting, matches are a must. Forego an old matchbook, with this chic brass match scratcher on your dining table, coffee table, or mantle."

Tina Frey Resin Champagne Bucket With Leather Handles
Tina Frey Resin Champagne Bucket With Leather Handles $242

"This champagne bucket is unconventional in all the best ways. Crafted from resin, this piece maintains a sleek yet organic shape and is bookended with two leather handles. I love how casual it is, even if the occasion might not be."

Mauviel M150c2 Copper Sauce Pan and Lid
Mauviel M150c2 Copper Sauce Pan and Lid $190

"Yes, she’s an investment but she’s worth it. For the swooner at heart, she is just soooooo purdy perched on your stove top."

The Field Company Field Cast Iron Skillet No. 8
The Field Company Field Cast Iron Skillet No. 8 $125

"There's a reason people rave about cast-iron skillets—they get ultra-hot and cook evenly."

winter tablescape
Sarah Elliott
Staub Oval Cocotte
Staub Oval Cocotte $365

"Once you use this cast-iron dutch oven, you'll never want to use another one again. Staub is my mainstay and just gets it right for any braise, soup, or stock."

Cuisinart Mini-Prep® 2.6-Cup Food Processor
Cuisinart Mini-Prep® 2.6-Cup Food Processor $44 $35

"Don't they always say that good things come in small packages? This mini-prep is petite but powerful and will surely speed up your cooking process."

Kitchen Aid Artisan Mini Stand Mixer
Kitchen Aid Artisan Mini Stand Mixer $400 $330

"Every good home chef needs a KitchenAid, so let yours make a bold statement. A handy appliance like this, in a deep shade of matte black, will be used again and again in any kitchen."

Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series Blender, Stainless-Steel
Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series Blender, Stainless-Steel $550

"From smoothies to soup, my Vitamix seamlessly blends my various ingredients into smooth and creamy bliss."

Athena Calderone Cook Beautiful
Athena Calderone Cook Beautiful $24

"Cook Beautiful is where design meets food, where culinary tradition marries food styling, where home chefs become experts. These are luscious dishes to make for friends and family, with advice that will inspire you to create visually stunning, and still wholly delicious, culinary masterpieces. Even if I do say so myself."

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