I can feel your nerves growing bigger & bigger as you think about how you have forgotten to get a present for your coworker, have to return a gift for your friend because she already has a light blue monogrammed pen, and just can't figure out what to buy for your busy mom this year. I am here to help! Although this guide is labeled for a chef, it is really for all the people in your life you love to step into the kitchen and create an edible work of art for their loved ones. This is all about finding unique gifts for people who love to cook. I'm not referencing the $400 food processor you've been wanting or the white square plates your cousins scanned to their wedding registry. Here, we are looking for simple finds with an amazing outcome. You should be able to find at least one present for someone in your life and maybe even a few for your own wishlist. Most of these purchases were made at T.J. Maxx, Target, local shops, and Department stores. A lot of them have been collected over a few years, so I have linked similar items if I cannot find the exact items. Here are your Chef Gift Guide inspirations.
1. Eye Catching Bakeware
I am obsessed with styling food photography photos with things that have a pop of color because they grab people's attention. Your dad's 1980's sheet trays might look so disgusting that they steer you away from eating anything off of them. Instead of going with the typical cookie sheet, look for something with a character that matches who you want to give it to. This ranges from rolling pins to parchment paper to cupcake liners to tongs. The list can go on & on.
2. Quality Knives
One thing that can really elevate cooking is proper knife skills and those cannot be achieved without a good knife to work with. If you are looking for the home cook, buy them a superior chef knife with about a 6 inch blade. If you are buying knives, please remember price and quality match. It is better to get a more expensive knife because it will last longer and is a lot safer. For the chef, look into unique shaped knifes or ones for a special purpose.
3. Playful Kitchen Towels
In Culinary School, I was known for always having fun towels attached to my clean, white uniform. Towels may seem boring, but it is a good indicator for your personality in a white cloth world. Towels are pretty inexpensive and are so necessary in the kitchen. They always seem to get dirty and old fast, so get new ones once in a while is very welcomed.
4. Good Wooden Spoons
There is nothing more unappealing then seeing a purple dyed spoon after making jam. Bad wooden spoons are made of cheap, porous wood which allows colors, bacteria, and other harmful things to live in them. Buying someone a quality made spoon will keep them safe and ensure long lasting happy stirring.
5. Specialized Spices & Oils
A great way to keep a chef inspired is to tell them to put a unheard of ingredient to the test. That is why we all love Chopped right? Making mystery taste good is so rewarding and fuels us to keep trying new temptations which disables us from getting in a creative rut. My family's favorite place to find these unique flavors is T.J. Maxx. They usually stock a plethora of shelves with mixed matched ingredients to try, but you can even buy them at grocery stores or specialty spice and oil shops.
6. Handy Notebooks
Inspiration can strike at any time for a chef and having something to write down notes, recipes, new ideas, among other things is vital because we just certainly have too much going on to remember it all. A notebook can be a savior when we have seem to forgotten our grandmother's roll recipe that we have been making for 7 years or when we see a palate of colors at the paint store that gives us inspiration for a new dish. Notebooks of all sizes will work, jut be sure to give us a couple. We may lose them.
7. Magazine Subscriptions & Cookbooks
Another way inspirations feeds into our brains is through other forms of cooking media. The idea is to not copy, but it helps us learn more about a certain type of cuisine or allergy and keeps us up to date on the latest trends. Those things are so important for a chef or cook to stay relevant.
8. Good, Strong Coffee
This is probably one of the best ones on this list. Every chef I have ever met needs their morning coffee. It is most likely because we stay up way too late and just cannot get our shit together. This is going to make your chef laugh, but also be very thankful because you have saved them from another horrible morning. I recommend going to a local coffee shop and buying their most popular roast or you can buy a good company based one linked below.