The 27 Best Gifts for the Aspiring Home Chef
And really, aren't we all aspiring home chefs now?
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Visit InsideHook’s Holiday 2020 gifting hub to find gift ideas for every person on your list this year. Also, who are we kidding? Find lots of ideas for yourself there, too.
It is no doubt trite to talk about “silver linings” around the massive cloud that has hung over 2020, but if there even is such a thing — and I believe, for those fortunate enough to have made it through more or less unscathed, that there is — the extra time we’ve all had to cook would certainly qualify.
Whether it’s been for ourselves or for our families, the act of providing sustenance and stability while also being able to get lost in creating something is more valuable than ever.
So this holiday season, consider giving a gift that allows your loved ones to do just that. Whether you know someone who’s just getting started in the kitchen or someone who’s already got all the basics in place but is looking to expand their repertoire, the 25 items below will help them make the most of the bad hand we’ve all been dealt. And they’ll still have them long after this has passed. How’s that for a silver lining?
Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender
So, everyone sorta wants a Vitamix, and no one is entirely sure they’ll use it enough to justify the admittedly high cost. But here’s the thing: they will. So help them over that other hurdle and just buy it for them.
The James Brand The Hell’s Canyon
For the cook whose kitchen skills extend to the campsite. The James Brand’s first foray into kitchen-specific cutlery is essentially a miniature chef’s knife, measuring 5.4 inches and featuring Crucible stainless steel. It comes with a Molded Kydex sheath, too, for added protection.
Made In Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pan
Carbon steel has been all the rage of late, for its drop-dead good looks, sure, but also because it boasts many of the same features and benefits of cast iron — durability, top-notch searing capabilities — while weighing half as much. Made In’s version is fast becoming a staple
Material 10.5″ Classic Pan
Everyone needs a stainless steel pan, and, really, everyone will eventually find that they need multiple stainless steel pans. We’re fond of this one from DTC brand Material, for its perfectly sloped sides and comfortable handle.
Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor
Even if their knife skills are second to none, they will occasionally wish they had a food processor on hand to make the task a whole lot easier. And now they will.
John Boos & Co. Reversible Walnut Cutting Board
If you spend any amount of time watching cooking shows, you know that every cool chef on the planet has a John Boos cutting board. This one is reversible, with one flat side and another side featuring a cutout for meat juices. Mmm, meat juices.
Our Place Always Pan
We’ll have a full review of this pan published soon, but here’s the short version: you might be inclined to roll your eyes at the most “online” kitchen product ever made, and we would not blame you, but it’s really very good. It’s a non-toxic non-stick pan that comes with a steamer, a lid, and a nifty little mount for a wooden spatula (also included). It performs very well, is super easy to clean, and, yes, looks very nice. If you know someone who’s just getting into cooking, this is a great option — especially with the $50 discount.
Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer
You’re cooking more now, which means you have more leftovers. Don’t let them go bad.
Matty Matheson: Home Style Cookery
For a younger generation of home cooks, Matty Matheson is probably one of of the most influential people in the food world. His no-bullshit approach to cooking is refreshing, and his food is delicious.
Sardel 4 QT Sauté Pan
Made in Italy by a family three generations in the steel business, Sardel is some of our favorite stainless steel cookware out there. This 4 QT big boy has been our workhorse, roomy enough to tackle large batches of things like paella and also conducts heat well enough to hook up a restaurant-level crust on a steak (trust us, we’ve done it). Oven safe and cleans up easy peasy.
Bob Kramer 8″ Carbon Steel Chef’s Knife
Speaking of Matty Matheson, he uses a Bob Kramer knife, and you probably should too. Just look at that thing.
Misen Chef’s Knife
But if you’re not looking to shell out $300+ on a knife, this one from Misen will do just fine. We’ve had one on our knife strip for a couple of years now, and it’s maintained its edge nicely.
Le Creuset Signature Round Dutch Oven, 7.25 qt.
Yes, it’s expensive. And yes, it will last a lifetime. Stews, sauces, soups, bread … the possibilities are endless.
Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo
We’ve been testing this thing for the past couple months, and we’ll have more to say soon, but if you or someone you know is really into good pizza, has a decent amount of counter space and can afford to drop nearly a grand on an indoor pizza oven, this thing is no joke. It heats up to 750 degrees in about 15 minutes and makes extremely authentic and extremely delicious wood-oven-style pizza in less time than it takes to order delivery.
Technivorm Moccamaster KBG
Pour-over coffee is great. Pour-over coffee is also an enormous pain in the ass that is wildly impractical for people who currently work from home and want to grab a quick cup as soon as their last one is done. The Moccamaster is one of the few drip machines on the market that makes consistently great coffee. She’s a real looker, too.
MÄNNKITCHEN Pepper Cannon
Mark our words: you’re going to be hearing a lot more about this pepper mill in the coming months. Kenji has already sung its praises, and the Kickstarter as raised nearly a million dollars. It grinds pepper extremely fast, with great consistency and astoundingly little effort. It also looks and feels like an art object. Get in on the ground floor.
Dualit Azure-Blue NewGen 4-Slice Toaster
Dualit toasters are lusted after by kitchen dorks everywhere, and this azure-blue version is next-level.
Breville Smart Grinder Pro
One of the most effective and technologically advanced grinders on the market, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is the perfect companion to the Moccamaster listed above. Or to any coffee system, really.
Emile Henry Olive Oil Bottle
Those green bottles your olive oil comes in? They let in light, which causes the oil to develop off flavors. And no one wants off flavors in their olive oil. You know what everyone does want, though? Really nice-looking red olive oil bottles to display on their kitchen counter.
Taylor Ultra-Fast Thermocouple
Crazy fast, accurate temperature readings to make sure you don’t cook that steak a single degree past medium-rare.
Bamboozle Bamboo Compost Bin
When you’re prepping vegetables, there’s a not-insignificant amount of waste produced, which can then be used as an environmentally friendly way to condition soil. Collect all those onion skins and garlic peels in this handsome bin as you’re chopping, then read this handy article on how to start composting at home.
Thieffry Oatmeal Linen Border Stripe Tea Towels
No one who cooks a lot has ever been disappointed to receive kitchen towels as a gift. Especially super good-looking ones that’ll look sexy draped over their shoulder.
BergHOFF Magnetic Ash Knife Holder
Knife blocks are fucking gross and conceal the coolest looking part of your knives. Get a magnetic knife strip instead.
Bee House Salt Box
Every single time we reach into this thing to grab a big ol’ pinch of salt to toss in a pot of boiling water or sprinkle liberally over a thick-ass steak, we experience a little spark of joy. It holds a ton of salt, is easily opened with one hand and, like everything else on this list, it looks great on display.
Staub Olive Wood Spoon & Spatula Set
Among the most important tools in any chef’s kitchen is his or her collection of wooden spoons, scrapers and spatulas. This set from Staub has super comfortable handles and are carved into just the right shapes to perform any number of tasks.
Bergkoch 13″ Grease Splatter Screen
File this one under “gift that doesn’t seem so sexy at first but is actually super legit because it’s something no one thinks to buy for themselves and actually turns out to be a total game changer that gets nonstop use in the kitchen and makes post-cooking cleanup a much easier proposition.”
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