Coming up with the perfect holiday gift doesn’t have to be an exhausting task. Our team of expert chefs share their recommendations to help you snag the perfect gifts for the home cooks and foodie enthusiasts on your list. We’ve got their tips and tricks to fit any elf’s budget!
1. A durable, fashionable apron
Executive Sous Chef Santanna Salas recommends Hedley & Bennet for their top notch quality and fun color / patterns: Check ‘Em Out ($64 & up)
Money-saving tip: Sign up for their newsletter and receive 10% off your first order!
Cesar Oceguera, Executive Chef of Searsucker Del Mar, loves the aprons from NYC brand Tilt for their perfect combination of fashion and durability: Check ‘Em Out ($35 & up)
Money-saving tip: Get free shipping on your first order when you sign up for their newsletter!
2. A food scale
Our San Diego Chef team loves the OXO Stainless steel scale for it’s sleek design and easy-to-read display: Check It Out ($49.99 for 11lb)
3. A quality cutting board or butcher block
For a serious home cook who needs strong durability, Chef Santanna recommends John Boos Cutting Boards: Check ‘Em Out ($66 & up)
Money-saving tip: If you don’t care about the brand name and would prefer to make this gift a bit more sentimental, this site will engrave a fine quality Bamboo Cutting Board with a name or initials!
4. A mandolin
Home cooks will love the time saved in the kitchen and perfectly even slices of fruits and veggies with Austin Executive Chef Andrew Turner’s top gift of the Benriner Mandoline Slicer: Check It Out ($40 on Amazon).
5. A salad spinner
An often overlooked but much needed tool for every kitchen. Corporate Chef Jordan Davis argues that to avoid limp lettuce, you need the kind with the pump on top, like this one by OXO, not the pull string kind: Check It Out ($29.99):
Another top notch and long-lasting gift Chef Jordan recommends?…
6. A Cast Iron skillet
Forego the fancy brand names, Lodge cast iron skillets will last you a lifetime: Check It Out ($25.50 for a 10-inch)
Money-saving tip: Sign up for newsletter and get 15% off
Pro-Chef tip: These are pre-seasoned skillets, which means a coating of wax or oil has been applied to prevent the pan from rusting. If you find a non-pre-seasoned skillet that you like, Chef Jordan has a tip for seasoning it at home (which all at-home chefs will need to do on occasion to help preserve). The secret weapon? Flaxseed Oil! Why not print out instructions for seasoning, and wrap up a bottle of flaxseed oil as a thoughtful addition to the skillet? We’ve got you covered on the instructions:
Heat the new cast iron skillet in a 200°F oven to be sure it’s bone dry and to open the pores of the iron. Once warm, place on a paper towel, pour a spoonful of flaxseed oil right into the skillet (shake it up first!), and rub all over with your hands, making sure to get into every nook and cranny.
7. A sturdy whisk
Corporate Pastry Chef Becky Kastelz has tried ‘em all! Her favorite? Sur la Table’s Stainless Steel Balloon Whisks: Check ‘Em Out ($10 & up)
Chef Becky’s touch—get the handle engraved! Google your local engraving store, and add a thoughtful personalization to the handle.
8-14. A useful cookbook
Chef Cesar claims you can never have enough!
For a more novice cook, he suggests “Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine” from The French Culinary Institute, Eric Ripert’s “On the Line,” and our own Founding Chef Brian Malarkey’s “Come Early, Stay Late.”
For the more seasoned and innovative chef, “Alinea” from chef Grant Achatz Alex Atala’s “D.O.M,” and Ferran Adrià’s “El Bulli.”
And for the true culinary bookworm? Marco Pierre White’s “The Devil in the Kitchen” or “White Heat,” and “Letters to a Young Chef” by Daniel Boulud.
Money saving tip: Amazon has options to purchase books from other online sellers, which you can usually find in new condition for a friendlier price
15. Chef Cesar also argues that you can never go wrong with a gift card to Sur La Table or Williams Sonoma for literally anyone with a kitchen. Money saving tip: Normal kitchen items here can be pricey. If you think your gift recipient is genuinely in need of a few kitchen tools, Chef Cesar suggests a gift card to a restaurant supply store. Restaurant Depots are all over the country, but you can also do a quick Google search to find your closest.
16. Not sure any of these will suit your recipient’s fancy? There’s one gift that every single chef on the Searsucker team agreed is perfect for any at home cook. It can enhance any sweet or savory recipe, it doesn’t take up a ton of space in the kitchen, and it will help any chef through recipe victories and failures: A great bottle of wine!