Gift giving for chefs can sometimes be hard, because the majority of them get the things they need, when they need them, but don’t walk away just yet. We asked a few of our chef friends what types of gifts they’d love to receive (even if they already had it), and we were able to narrow down the list to a few top contenders. From the foodie in your life to top chefs, here are our favorite food lover gifts.
1. Pocket Thermometers
Every chef needs a pocket thermometer, and extra on-hand at that. Why you ask? Temperatures of food are everything for a chef – it keeps their patrons safe and the health inspector happy. Thermometers that are small enough to fit in a side chef jacket pocket and can give fast digital readings are preferred, especially when they have accuracy within 1⁰F.
2. Wine Keys
Whether it’s for the chef in your life or a bartender, for some reason or other, wine keys always seem to disappear. Pocket size wine keys are perfect for on the job, but other corkscrew sets are helpful for wine aficionados.
3. German Knives
A knife is at the top of the list for best gifts to give food lovers, but there’s a catch. Most chefs would prefer to hold their knives before making an investment. They fall in love with the feel of the knife before they do the actual make of it. That is, until it comes to German and Japanese knives. German knives are the most widely used and favored of chefs. You can basically get any type of German steel knife (boning, paring, slicing, etc.) and your foodie will be happy.
Our Favorite: Wusthof 10” Cook’s Knife – $32.00
4. Stocking Stuffers
Stocking stuffers are always great, inexpensive items that any chef would adore. A few that were on our list of favorites included: apple corers, peelers, needle nose pliers, micro-plane graters, cherry/olive pitter, fish spatula, garlic press, offset spatulas, bar mats, bar caddies, 1-9 pans, and squeeze bottles.
Our Favorite: San Jamar Dome 3 Quart Garnish Center – $36.49 (may have to get a bigger stocking for this one though)
Mandolins are often an overlooked accessories that (as one of our chefs put it), “You don’t realize how much you need it until you look over and there it is, and you think, “Geez, I’m glad I have that.”” It may not be the center piece of kitchen must-haves, but they’re definitely helpful for getting precise, consistent cuts. They’re also great for any budget, because they range from $6 to $150.
Our Favorite: Jaccard Safe Hands ABS Mandoline – $36.95
6. Knife Bags
What’s a better gift for knife enthusiasts than knife accessories? Our next items on the list are knife bags. If they’re spending the money on nice knives, they also know that it’s worth it to protect their investment, and that’s where knife bags come in. There are different sizes, depending on how many knives your foodie needs to tote around, but a simply knife roll that holds at least 5 knives will do just fine.
Our Favorite: Mercer Cutlery 10-Pocket Knife Roll – $43.20
If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, you know how yucky clothes can get for those working with the food, which is why you can never go wrong with a set of new chef coats, beanies or pants. Make sure you know the color and fit they prefer, because some restaurants are strict on color and some chefs have preference different sleeve length, other than that, prices vary from $5 to $100, so there are a lot of options to fit any budget. Our chefs noted that they could never have enough pants and coats on hand, so this is definitely a winner!
Our Favorite: Chef Works Monte Carlo Chef Coat – $82.92
8. Japanese Knives
Japanese knives are a different story. These knives are handmade and are fit for the best of the best cook out there. The caveat is that these are the type of knives that most chefs want to hold and get a feel for before making a purchase. But, your chef can always exchange the knife, and if they’re a Japanese knife newbie, they’ll love you for being able to experience the beauty of these handcrafted knives.
Our Favorite: World Cuisine 6 ½” Deba Japanese Sushi Knife – $58.05
9. Dutch Ovens
If you haven’t ever invested in a Dutch oven, you’ll be surprised at how pricey they can be, and also why they’re a great gift idea for food lovers. Investing in a great Dutch oven, is like investing in a great set of knives – you collect them overtime, but they last forever. Any cook that has cooked with a Dutch oven will tell you that the way they cook and keep their heat is unlike any deep bottom pot you’ll ever cook with. Prices range from $50 to $360, and there are tons of difference sizes and colors to choose from.
Our Favorite: Lodge Red Enameled 6 Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven – $69.86
10. Knife Sharpeners, Steels, and Stones
Don’t worry, if you don’t know the difference between knife sharpeners, steels, and stones getting any of these will make your chef happy. The difference between getting a countertop, handheld, or manual version is completely up to what your chef is interested in, but you definitely can’t go wrong with a sharpening stone with coarse, medium and fine stones.
Our Favorite: Mundial Course/Medium/Fine Sharpening Stone – $145.59