11. Citric Acid
Naturally occurs in citrus fruits and is available in powder form. A tiny amount does wonders to heighten the flavor of any preparation containing fruit; it provides the sour element without any additional flavors and won't dilute the product as lemon juice would. It can be used in buttercream, mousses and jams.
12. Creole Seasoning
It's my best friend in the kitchen. It's the perfect blend of salt, peppers and other herbs and spices and makes for a one-stop seasoning shop.
The Originals with Emeril
I love transforming less-than-fresh bread into crispy seasoned croutons or breadcrumbs and putting them on pasta or salads for crunch. Rye or cornbread croutons are especially good on bacony beans.
Mary Sue Milliken
Border Grill, Los Angeles
I always add fresh dill to the mix of fresh herbs in lobster dishes — it really enhances the flavors. It's also great paired with beets, and when making egg salad, it's the only other ingredient you ever really need besides mayonnaise and salt.
Telepan, New York City
16. Espelette Pepper
This chile pepper comes from a small region in France and gives food a nice, spicy flavor but not too much heat. I especially like to use it with salmon: I marinate the fish with cocoa nibs, Espelette pepper powder and salt.
Jacques Torres Chocolate, multiple locations
17. Fish Sauce
Fish sauce injects serious flavor into any dish where garlic plays a key role. I use it in Caesar dressing, in several spicy dipping sauces and in roasted tomato preparations. I can't live without it.
RM Seafood, Las Vegas
18. French's Yellow Mustard
There is no substitute for French's — I use it in chow-chows and relishes. I make tons of mustard, but I always keep store-bought around.
City Grocery, Oxford, MS
19. Garlic, Ginger and Green Onion Paste
When I started at Chinois many years ago, my secret weapon was a blend of 1 tablespoon of chopped ginger, 1 1/2 tablespoons of chopped garlic and 3 minced green onions mixed into a rough paste. I would add it to almost every dish, like sautéed chicken and vegetables or scallion pancakes.
Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air and Spago, Los Angeles
20. Gulf Shrimp
The flesh of Gulf shrimp have a subtle, sweet and briny taste, but I also cook down the shrimp heads to extract the beautiful nutty flavor; I use the broth to make bisques and sauces come alive.
August, New Orleans