Sunday, February 3, 2019

Gift Ideas For Chefs And Home Cooks

Well it is that time of year again! It is time to buy your family and closest friends great gifts to show how thankful you are. The question is what gifts are you going to buy them? What is the perfect gift?
Our team has collaborated to create a list of some of our favorite gifts and kitchen tools we would love to get this year. So if your friend or loved one loves to be in the kitchen this list of amazing gifts will help guide you. You might find the perfect gift or who knows, you might be inspired by looking through this list.
We hope you enjoy reading through our various excerpts about the gifts and let us know if you have any favorite gift ideas in the list below! We would love to have more possible great ideas below for gifs that people would love this holiday season!

The Flavor Bible

cook books for chefs
Look, our team is a bunch of book worms! So we always love books as gifts. Now some food books have beautiful pictures, others have amazing recipes. The flavor bible is neither. So why do we recommend you buy this book as a gift? Because if your friend is a major foodie who loves being creative in the kitchen or maybe your son or daughter wants to be a chef one day, this is the book for them.
The Flavor Bible is a reference book for flavor. It helps young and experienced cooks gain a better idea of how flavors blend. It also helps them create new dishes and new concepts by looking for what flavors work with other flavors. It is a great starting place to help all cooks get inspired. In addition, it is a great tool to help chefs create amazing dishes.
For many of us it was a differentiator when we worked in the restaurant industry because it lets you know what is possible. Flavor profiles you might have never thought of appear and new combinations that don’t even exist in the book suddenly make sense. We would love to provide our own personal experiences if you have a young cook who would like some examples!

Kitchen Aid

kitchen aid gift
Do you have a significant other that loves baking or perhaps a son or daughter? A great gift idea for them is a kitchen aid. Now this does lean on the more expensive side of gifts but it is still cheaper than that IPhone X that they wanted and it makes much better cakes.
Many of us grew up with the hand held mixers…and it was a terrible experience. It is much more convenient to start a Kitchen Aid and have your hands free to mix in other ingredients. Also, if your recipes are alot like some of ours waiting for a dozen egg whites to hit stiff peaks while having to hold your mixer is no fun. Instead, getting to walk away is really nice.
Of course, what is great about a kitchen aid is it provides much more than just mixing cakes, doughs and just about everything else. It has a great pasta attachment that again allows for much more hands free approach to making pasta.
So consider buying a kitchen aid instead of that very expensive tablet or IPhone.

Anova Culinary Immersion Circulator

Let’s say instead of a baker or a young cook you are friends with a really great chef who loves cooking and experimenting with new techniques and recipes. Then consider buying them an immersion circulator.
Immersion circulators are great gifts that have become significantly cheaper and more accessible to home cooks and expert chefs. You no longer need a $1000 machine from polyscience. Instead, there are many more affordable and they are great gifts for those of us who look at the kitchen as more of a lab. If you have a friend or family member who goes on and on about modernist cuisine then we can almost guarantee this is the gift for them.

Leather Chef Knife Roll

chef knife roll
Let’s say your friend is already a professional chef. They love cooking, they talk about sharpening their knives every weekend and how much they love cleaning cast iron pans. The chefs are the thoroughbreds. They are the craftsman, they might not be into all the fancy molecular gastronomy of the 2000s but you better believe their classic technique and love of their craft is second to none.
If you have someone like this in your life and your struggling to find them a gift. Consider getting them a really nice knife roll like this one. Something you know they will take pride in and cherish. This gift is not for that friend that destroys everything they own. No, this is the friend who is the reason you do have nice things.

Sourdough: Recipes For Rustic Bread

gift guide for cook books
Alright…another great baking book. You are probably tired of seeing books as gifts in this list but everyone needs a good sourdough book. Owning one book devoted to the secret art of sourdough is a must. If I were to tell you to pick one baking book then I would lean towards this one. Understanding sourdough, gives the baker a much better understanding of where bread has been and where it is going. Bread before yeast relied on so many different forms of leavening. Starters were one form! So being able to understand this mother of breads will help you further define your skills. The key is getting this as a gift but making sure you see some of the fresh baked bread show up at your door!

 Escali Primo Digital Kitchen Scale

Do you have a friend who loves being precise and loves to bake? Then consider buying a bakers scale like the one above as a possible gift idea to ensure high quality outcomes. Personally, as a pastry cook, most of my recipes were in grams. So I did have to flip back and forth between grams and oz. That is where this baking scale came in handy! When I was baking gateau, bread, gelato, custard, and everything else. What is also great about this scale. Is it is relativity cheap. Thankfully…One weekend while I was away someone happened to steal my scale…I never did find it, I just had to buy another scale. Hopefully, when you get this gift your friend does not suffer the same fate!

A New Knife

No list of gifts for chefs would be complete without knives. Now, we could talk about all the fancy knives with damascus steel and Japanese styles. However, we are a big fan of the classics and german steel. Wusthof is one of our favorites. It has several tiers but they do stand to be a little pricey. Amazon has this chef knife for a little over 100$. This is a great deal for this style of knife. What this knife offers is a sturdy structure, and hard steel. This means it retains its edge very well. This was my personal Chef knife throughout my entire career. Even when I happened to chip the tip of my knife, it was easy to sharpen the knife and bring back the tip. It fits great in any Chef knife bag or roll and you don’t have to sharpen it as often as you would a softer steeled knife.
What I really like about this knife though is its grip. There are several other tiers in the Wusthof family. Each of them have the same steel and blade for the most part. The issue with the other knives is that they feel cheap. The hilts are made out of a funky plastic and it really doesn’t have that full tang effect. So if you want a knife under 100$ then you could pick either the Wusthof, or Wusthof Classic. Now, there are many other knives that you could pick up, so if the Wusthof isn’t the right one then consider continuing to look for another knife for a gift.

The Children’s Step-By-Step Cook Book

gift ideas
Alright, you might be laughing at this gift recommendation. There is a real soft spot in my heart for this book in particular. If you have kids ages 3-10 that want to learn to cook, this book is a personal favorite. My mother and I used this cookbook a lot when I was a kid. I remember making the cream puffs, and chocolate truffles a hundred times (ok, maybe just a couple of dozen times). They were just so simple and the pictures made the whole experience seem so easy. You are not going to learn any fancy techniques here, just a few basics. Personally, this book is more about the time spent with your kids vs. what you will learn from it.
It doesn’t have anything too difficult or unsafe and it offers great exposure to any young and budding chef.

The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science

new gift ideas

Alright, one more book gift idea. In this case the book’s title alone…sell me…
Some people have cloths, bags, or power tools. I have my books and sometimes authors and book publishers know how to sell their products. At least The Food Lab is a good cook book!
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this book for beginners. It would be like drinking from a fire hose. The author of this book cleverly designed it like a bunch of research papers. Instead of recipes, they breakdown materials, methods, procedures, data, conclusions etc. The Food Lab tells the end user how to properly approach experiments and eliminate bias (scientific method). In the end, the book is a great combination of learning about food, learning how to make your food better and learning a lot about the whys.
That is why I don’t recommend this book for inexperienced cooks. All you will end up with is a bunch of facts with no context. The value will be very little. If on the other hand, you have a few years of cooking under your belt, then you can start making valuable connections. Suddenly you start to understand temperature, acidity, etc, on a whole new level. It is like the first time you realized what calculus really was, or other subject that you really enjoyed in school (ok, I might be one of the few that enjoyed calculus).
Just saying, for 2019, you got to “Science the shit out of cooking”.
We do hope you enjoyed this list of great gift ideas for 2019. We hope it helped guide you towards new ideas and possible gifts that you would like to get your loved ones. Again, do let us know if we missed any gift recommendations in the comments below. Have an amazing holiday season and happy cooking!
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