Gifts For The Chef In Your Life
Whether the Chef in your life is a professional or it is just a hobby, there are a ton of great gifts out there for them. Here are a few of my suggestions:
A quarterly journal of food writing created by David Chang, the James Beard Award–winning chef behind Momofuku in New York, and published by McSweeney’s. The first issue goes online for $100 or more and featured articles from and interviews with such names as Anthony Bourdain and Harold McGee. The latest issue is number nine and is no less ambitious (and a whole lot more affordable at $9). Or you can get a subscription for $28.
My girlfriend got last year’s edition for me last holiday season and it has been a great source of information, recipes and tips. It features every recipe from the TV show along with product ratings for appliances and brand name ingredients. It’s a hefty sized book but it is worth it. And, while I am all for ebooks, they are not as handy in the kitchen as they are when reading on an airplane, so for that reason I say to get the hardcover editon. Added bonus? The hard cover is more impressive to see if it MUST sit on a shelf.
One important thing that culinary school makes sure you understand is just how easy it is to make someone very sick, or even kill them, if food is not cooked or stored properly. A few degrees off in storage or during cooking and that hamburger can be a breeding ground for pathogens. An accurate thermometer is one of the most important weapons a chef has against this. The Termapen from ThermoWorks is one of the most popular thermometers, not just because of it’s accuracy, but also it’s speed. Who wants to hold their hand over a hot pan or in a hot oven waiting for their thermometer to read? The Thermapen is as close to instant as possible. Plus it comes in a whole rainbow of colors so it adds a little splash of color to chef whites.
Fermented foods are all around us and, quite frankly, are delicious. This book by Sandor Ellix Katz (with a foreword by Michael Pollan) bills itself as “an in-depth exploration of essential concepts and processes from around the world.” It has a ton of recipes but it also includes the history and science behind fermenting and, at over 500 pages, it will no doubt have some new and exciting fermented foods for you to try.
Cooks are infamously a crass bunch of people. They are also the type that work hard and play hard. This card game swept the tech and geek community a year ago. It’s a very simple game with hilarious and debauched results and would fit in well during any after-work “therapy” session.
Yes, its a travel mug but the technology behind the Zojirushi keeps liquids hot or cold for hours longer than any other travel mug. But it’s not just for coffee and tea. It is so impressive it is being used more and more in professional kitchens. Imagine having a delicate and intricately crafted sauce for a dish but you can’t keep it on the stove or on the steam table for hours while service is going on. Instead, you make your sauce and store it in the Zojirushi and pour it out of there as you need it. Genius.
The Aeropress is the quickest and easiest way to get a delicious cup of coffee or shot of espresso. It’s super simple and uses pressure, generated by you pushing down on it, to extract the flavor from your favorite coffee beans. As a bonus the coffee comes out with lower acidity and bitterness. The device is compact and portable so you can avoid those horrendous hotel room coffee machines. Plus it was designed by Allen Adler, the man behind the Aerobie Flying Disc!