Here’s a short list of gift ideas any gourmet chef would be thrilled to add to their kitchen. There’s one for every budget—from $25 to $130—and many are at bargain prices:
1) Lavatools Javelin Digital Instant Read Thermometer, $25 @ Amazon: Every serious cook has moments when they could use an instant-read thermometer. From grilling steaks to checking the temperature of yeast. There are swarms of inexpensive ones out there, but only a handful get solid reviews like the Lavatools Javelin. P.S. For a heavy-duty user, you might want to jump up to the gold standard—the ThermoWorks Thermapen ($116).
2) Wusthof Classic Ikon Paring Knife, 3.5-inch, $60 @ Sur La Table and Amazon: I’m a sucker for the curvy handle, but the engineering of the blade and the steel are quite acceptable. A top-notch paring knife from one of Germany’s premier knifemakers. For more on Wusthof, saunter over to KitchenKnifeGuru’s buyer’s guide.
3) Johnny Apple Peeler by Victorio, $20 @ Amazon: I should write a testimonial for this incredibly handy-dandy kitchen tool that, ever since it graced our kitchen, has saved us oodles of apple pie prep time. It peels, it cores, and slices the whole apple into one, continuous spiral which you can then section up as you please. Voilá! (Sur la Table sells their own version which appears to be a body double.)
4) Fagor Lux Multicooker, 6-qrt, $130 @ Amazon and Sur La Table: It does everything but wash the dishes! No, but seriously. . .it’s a slow cooker, pressure cooker, and rice cooker all-in-one. And unlike your typical slow-cooker, it can, supposedly, brown, sauté, and simmer. I’m not usually captivated by the latest cooking craze, but this puppy tempts me. (As do the rave reviews on Sur La Table and Amazon.) Besides the champagne finish pictured, it comes in copper, stainless, white, and black.
5) 12-Year Aged Balsamic Vinegar, 8½ oz., $30 @ Amazon and Sur La Table: Straight from the hills of Modena, Italy, aged in oak barrels—revered to be the best-tasting balsamic you’ll ever sample. For the foodie who’s tasted it all.
6) Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Skillet, 12-inch, $30 @ Amazon and Sur La Table ($33): A cast iron skillet in your kitchen-tools arsenal is must—if for no other reason than to bake the best cornbread the world has to offer. Pre-seasoned and ready to fry right out of the box.
7) Miyabi Evolution Chef Knife, 8-inch, $100 @ Sur La Table: Made in Seki, Japan, one of the knifemaking capitals of the world. It’s what I call a Japanese hybrid—thin and razor-sharp Japanese blade with an arty, Western handle. Designed exclusively for Sur La Table and, currently, going for a song. And, even if it says you can, please don’t wash it in the dishwasher.
Have a happy holiday and eat well, but not too much!