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Holiday Gift Guide

Gift Ideas from Our Chefs, for Yours!

Coming up with the perfect holiday gift doesn’t have to be a daunting task. We asked our team of chefs for their recommendations to help you snag the perfect gifts for the home cooks and foodie enthusiasts on your list. Plus, we picked up their chef-y tips and tricks to fit every elf’s budget!

  1. A durable, fashionable apron

Cesar Oceguera, Executive Chef of Searsucker Del Mar, is our master of function *and* style. When he’s at home cooking for him and his new wifey, he sports his apron from NYC brand Tilit, known for their perfect combination of fashion and durability: Check ‘Em Out ($65 & up)

Money-saving tip: Invite a friend to purchase one too, and get $20 towards your order. PLUS, get free shipping on your first order when you sign up for their newsletter!

  1. A fish spatula

Don’t let the name fool you. The fish spatula, also known as a slotted offset spatula, is the most versatile, comfortable spatula option out there, and it’s usage goes far beyond just flippin’ fish. Executive Sous Chef Ryan Star, believes that every well-equipped kitchen should have a solid fish spatula, and it’s the perfect shape & size to stuff into your home cook’s stocking. We love this option from Williams Sonoma ($26.95) but you can snag cheaper options for under 10 bucks on Amazon.

Money-saving tip: Use code MERRY at Williams-sonoma.com for 20% off your order, plus free shipping.

  1. Sous Vide

And for the more adventurous home cook on your list who you *thought* had everything? Chef Ryan recommends an Imersion Circulator. High-end restaurants have been using sous vide cooking for years to cook food to the exact level of desired doneness, and this technique recently became popular for home cooks with the availability of affordable cooking equipment like the Imersion Circulator! For a sleek, easy-to-use option, we like this Tamaya option from Amazon ($40). Feeling extra generous? Anova makes this Bluetooth option that syncs up with your phone so that you can cook restaurant-level recipes without being glued to the kitchen.

  1. Ceramic Plates

Brand Development Chef Oscar Granados claims that Heath Ceramics makes the “Best. Plates. EVER!” Check out the range of solid colors to fun patterns, different shapes and finishing options. This dishware is a timeless gift for that hostess with the mostest, and just *almost* too pretty to eat off of ($18 & up).

  1. A useful cookbook

Chef Oscar claims you can never have enough and “if you read them…they work!”

 – A MUST READ for the die-hard foodie, the dishes shared in David Chang’s Momofuku are coveted by all who’ve dined—or yearned to—at any Momofuku location (yes, the acclaimed pork buns are in there).

 – If you’re feeling extra giving, Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking is basically the home cook’s bible. It’s six volumes were created by a team of scientists, chefs, editors, and writers, exploring research spanning the field of culinary science, with careful attention to practicality and applicability in the kitchen.

 – For home cooks who crave an all-in-one repertoire of wholesome, straight-forward recipes, Tartine All Day is Oscar’s top pick. James Beard Award-winning Elisabeth Prueitt, cofounder of San Francisco’s acclaimed Tartine Bakery, shares 200 recipes for the way people want to eat and bake at home today–everything from the best-ever salad dressings to genius gluten-free pancakes (and 45 other gluten-free options), the greatest potato gratin, fool-proof salmon and more.

 – The Noma Guide to Fermentation was named New York Times’ “Best Cookbook of Fall 2018,” and it’s no surprise as Fermentation is gaining major traction as a top food trend associated with stellar gut health. Your home cook will love the never-before-revealed techniques to creating Noma—four times named the world’s best restaurant—’s extensive pantry of ferments.

 – For the Chef looking to cross culinary borders, Oscar loves Mexico from the Inside Out by Enrique Olvera–the most famous and celebrated Mexican chef working today. It captures and presents a new contemporary Mexican style of food, rooted in tradition but forward thinking in its modern approach.

 – Have a fluent Spanish speaker on your list? 500 Anos de Fusion by Gaston Acurio is a must-gift. Initially released in limited quantities in Latin America, it quickly became a Gourmand World Cookbook Awards winner was named Best Book in the World at the Madrid Conference. This vast collection of recipes from Acurio’s numerous restaurants includes a poetic history of Peruvian ingredients and cooking styles.

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

  1. Quality Chef’s Knives

No. More. Tomato. Mush! Dull knives can ruin the shape and texture of certain fruit & veg, so Executive Sous Chef Santanna Salas will always splurge on a solid Chef’s Knife. Her go-to brand? Shun Cutlery (Starting from $75 per knife).

Money-saving tip: Macy’s currently has a sale on the Shun Premier Cutlery Collection!  Check it Out.

  1. A food scale

For the baker, or for that friend who insists on buying European cookbooks that measure ingredients in grams, Our San Diego Executive Chef Chris Gerwig loves the OXO Stainless steel scale. His favorite has a sleek design for convenient storage and an easy-to-read display: Check It Out ($49.99 for 11lb)

  1. Electric Wine Opener

Know those home cooks who *must* sip while they cook? This nifty electric wine opener is for them! Sous Chef Katie Shackelford uses hers daily to open bottles fast when she needs to deglaze a dish like risotto or stew. We trust the pioneers of all fancy wine opening mechanisms, Rabbit Wine: Check it out! ($50)

Money-saving tip: Like an iPhone, these devices get better and better every year, but the OG’s are still available. Check out one of their earlier models for a less expensive option!

  1. A Food Processor

Zip! Swirl! Chop! Mix! Chef Katie insists that no home kitchen is complete without a food processor. She loves how much time it saves when she needs super fine miepoix or bread crumbs. The Cuisineart 14-Cup continues to be the best seller, but we love Wirecutter’s Round-Up of other smart buys, too! ($160)

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!