Top 9 Gifts for Chefs, Cooks and All Around Food Lovers
Hello interwebs! I am sure the music on the radio, that pesky neighbor who puts up his tree the day after Halloween and every toy store within 5 miles have let you know that Christmas is almost here! With that comes the struggle of trying to find the right gift for all your friends. Maybe you should just give them money this year, right? That is what everyone wants for Christmas, right? Please don’t go to Amazon and search “Cook Books” and buy them “Thug Kitchen”. No one wants that.
Well, if your friend is into food, look no further. I have compiled a list of gifts that any food maker or lover would more than appreciate! If they like to bake, cook, butcher… or maybe they just like talking about all the cookbooks they have(but never use). Then this list will be great. At the very least, it will help point you in the right direction! Plus, with some of these gifts…you can convince them to make you something afterwards! It is a win-win! Hey! Maybe you will find something to give yourself!
First, lets start with a cookbook, but I mean a really good one!
Personally, these books are more for the Food Porn. All the pictures in here are gorgeous and the recipes are great. Honestly, you should just keep this book in your house for a slow day. Get a nice warm cup of coffee and spend hours glancing at the pure beauty of the food Tartine puts out (Although, I wish they had more pictures!). They are beyond just “Solid Technique”. Just the few pictures from the front, I think tell you it all. There is a lot of technique in this book. You might want to Youtube a few things before you bake away. Nevertheless. Go at it! Maybe send me a picture of your final creations!
Don’t let your friend keep using the broiler to brulee his or her creme brulee. Nope, get them a handy dandy mini blow torch. It does wonders! Instead of heating up the entire custard(as with the oven), you are properly caramelizing the top. They can also caramelize bananas, strawberries, meringues and so much more. Get them this cute little tool, and watch their eyes glisten!
Maybe you don’t have 500$ to spend on your friend to get the full set of Modernist books. Well Modernist has made a great version of their ginormous serious for the home cook. We all have that one friend, you know, the know it all. The person who tells you about the molecular structure of the milk you are drinking and how bad it is for your body. Maybe they don’t have all the fancy equipment the Modernist Chefs had, don’t worry. The whole point of this book was to allow the home cook to do some cool things, without buying 10000$ of new equipment. This book may not be the 5 volumes…but it is a great replacement.
In case you are interested, here is the 5 volume set. Maybe you plan to spoil someone this year ;). Maybe you can ship it to me?
Wusthof has several tiers, and this is by far the most expensive. Amazon has this chef knife for a little over 100$. This is a great deal for this style of knife. What this knife offers is a sturdy structure, and hard steel. This means it retains its edge very well. This was my personal Chef knife through out my entire career. Even when I happened to chip the tip of my knife, it was easy to re=sharpen the knife and bring back the tip. It fits great in any Chef knife bag or roll and you don’t have to sharpen it as often as you would a softer steeled knife.
What I really like about this knife though is its grip. There are several other tiers in the Wusthof family. Each of them have the same steel and blade for the most part. The issue with the other knives is that they feel cheap. The hilts are made out of a funky plastic and it really doesn’t have that full tang effect. So if you want a knife under 100$ then you could pick either the Wusthof, or Wusthof Classic. These are decent knives, but they are not on my top 5 list of knives
Alright, you have got to really like the person you are getting this gift for. This is a super sexy looking Knife bag that really shows off the makers skill and craftsmanship. It allows your friend or partner to nestle each of their knives cozily into their knife bag. 17 slots allow for knives, spoons, fish spatulas and more to comfortably travel. If your friend is still walking around using a 5$ knife roll. Maybe treat him or her a little bit.
6. A Pasta Machine– Get it while it is only 45$ vs 89$
First off, these are fairly inexpensive for the amount of hardware. So you might be getting something your friend always wanted, but maybe they couldn’t afford it because they were on a cooks salary(which is basically minimum wage). For home use a hand crank works great. If you are like me, you will actually start singing a little Italian Opera while rolling out the dough. Picture that in your head for a little bit. I am not sure why, I just always do it.
Like I said above, with this gift, your friend can now make a Delicious pasta dinner. It is a win-win!
Most ice cream machines will be more than 200$. The best ones sadly are :(. Now if you are like most people and can’t afford these. Buying a cheaper Cuisinart can work. Most of the better ice cream makers will be 200$ or more and often time, you will only find them in restaurants. This product is the first product with an actual compressor. This means it cools on its own. Unlike the Cuisine Arts that require a frozen core. It can be a little bit of a pain to clean. Any of the one piece cleaners have their difficulties because you can’t really separate the pieces easily. Nevertheless, I love not having to freeze the core. Then you can easily do multiple batches. If you forget to freeze the core, no problem. This puppy just needs to spin. It can be noisy, because of the compressor. It is a small price to pay for the convenience
Now here is a slightly cheaper option that the one above. It is still far above 100$ However, this ice cream machine is one of the cheaper non-frozen cores I can find. I personally can’t attest to it like the one above. But try to take it for a spin!
I have one more reference book I would recommend everybody who wants to be good at cooking get or read. That would be On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee. If you want to understand the science behind cheese, sweetness, and food in general. This book is amazing. When I first started at the Herbfarm, the current Sous Chef handed me this book and I couldn’t get enough of it. Don’t expect any pretty pictures, only basic diagrams of microbes and fauna here! I am a firm believer in understanding something at its lowest point first and then building from there. That way you can really make it your own. I say this a lot. However, if you want to break the rules like a master, learn the rules like a pro. Once you can wax on and wax off. No one can beat you! Not that this is a competition or anything.
This one is specifically for your pastry chef friends. If they love making chocolate. Make their lives easier so they can make lots of chocolate for you! The purpose of these tools is to help them dip their chocolates and cookies into tempered chocolate cleanly. They might also want a new infrared thermometer. The best part is that these are not that expensive, so maybe buy them a pound of chocolate too! That way, they have no excuses. They have to make you chocolate.
If you liked this check out Part 2 of my Christmas List !
What is on your Christmas list this year? Did I write about any of them?