The holidays are always a fun time to be a chef. I always like seeing what new toys have been dreamt up in the past year. And, of course, it’s always nice to find a new tool or replacement for an old one wrapped up with a bow.
With that in mind, I came up with some holiday gift suggestions for the cooks in your life. These are some of my favorite cooking tools that I use almost daily. This list includes some very cool tools at every price level. Happy holidays and happy cooking.
Crate & Barrel big spoons – We use these spoons in the kitchen for saucing and plating.
Microplane Zester – These zesters are great for grating nutmeg and cheese and for zesting citrus.
Norpro Citrus squeezer – You would be amazed at how much more juice you will get out of your lemons and limes with a citrus squeezer. These are great when making margaritas.
Le Creuset Spatulas (high heat tolerant) – These rubber spatulas are great for stirring hot items as they will not melt. They are also nice because they will not scratch enameled pans.
Weber 18″ Grill Brush – One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone asks me to throw something on the grill and the grill is dirty. Cleaning your grill is like brushing your teeth, it’s something you should do after every meal – and if not, at least before you go to bed!
Camerons Cookware Smoker – I got one of these smokers for my 16th birthday and have been using it ever since. It allows you to add amazing smoke flavor to a dish in a matter of minutes.
One of my favorite recipes for Camerons smoker is a smoked fennel and tomato soup. In the wintertime, we substitute canned tomatoes for the fresh heirloom tomatoes.
Joyce Chen Scissors – These scissors will make you the king or queen of the next crab feed. They cut through seafood shells and chicken bones like a hot knife through butter. My mom always used to talk about her Joyce Chen scissors so much that I thought she was crazy, but after a couple of Dungeness crab seasons I finally learned why people love these. They are undoubtedly the best all-purpose kitchen scissors on the market.
Polder Thermometer – This item is the key to making sure you don’t overcook your expensive turkey or prime rib. This thermometer includes an oven probe and has a timer as well as a temperature alarm.
Boos wooden cutting board – These beautiful, maple cutting boards look nice enough to serve an elegant cheese tray on. They are incredibly sturdy and are built to last.
Vitamix Vita-Prep Blender – This is the blender that you will find in most professional kitchens. This is how chefs make colored oils, super-smooth soups and purees. It is also great for making blended drinks and smoothies.
Dacor pots & pans – These pots and pans are a nice weight; they hold their heat well and cook evenly.
La Caja China Pig Roasting Box – This is one of our favorite ways to cook pigs and it is great for a party.
Dacor Epicure Collection Dual-Fuel Range – For the serious home chefs, this stove cooks like a professional range but does not have that industrial look. This is one of my favorite brands for the home cook – my parents had a Dacor range when I was growing up and it is what I learned to cook on.