The holiday season can feel a bit overwhelming at times – we get it!
In an effort to ease the overwhelm of gift-giving, our team has put together a series of gift guides to help with even the trickiest of folks on your list. Our next gift guide for the season has been curated by Joël; an experienced chef and our in-house expert in kitchen-related essentials.
Why is it that people tend to gather in the kitchen? Perhaps we’re drawn to the energy and vibrance that emanates when a meal is being prepared; or maybe it’s simply the enticing sights, sounds and aromas of a delicious dinner being cooked. Whatever the reason, the kitchen serves as the bookends of a memorable evening. It’s where the food is prepared at the beginning and where the clean up happens at the end.
As someone who loves spending time in the kitchen, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite cooking tools. These are items that I sincerely love using and items that I believe will indulge and delight the food lover on your gift list.
De Buyer Steel Frying Pan
This is truly a chef’s frying pan. When working in professional kitchens these are the pans that we would use and trust me, a busy commercial kitchen is the ultimate test for cooking gear. These pans would get absolutely abused; starting with the searing flambé of the sauté station, then into a blistering 500F oven, followed by the scorching flames of the broiler, then literally thrown and plunged into a soapy sink, then through the high temp dish machine, then slammed down on a clean stack of pans all to restart the cycle until the last meal has been served. Need I say more? Find them here.
Milo Dutch Oven
Without a doubt, my favourite method of cooking is braising. As Michael Ruhlman put it: “Braising is that rare technique that gives you food that tastes better after it’s been chilled and reheated.” Essentially, braising is the process of slow-cooking meat or vegetables in a liquid over low heat. The result is a satisfyingly tender dish and rich silken sauce. Think Anthony Bourdain’s Boeuf Bourguignon or braised root vegetables. This dutch oven is an ideal braising pot as it can be used on the stovetop as well as in the oven. Sure to be a well-loved tool for someone who enjoys spending time in the kitchen. Find it here.
Pallares Chef’s Knife
Knives are a guilty pleasure of mine and probably my favourite tool in the kitchen. With a good knife, I could stand at the cutting board and chop veggies all day! I firmly believe that every home cook needs a good go-to knife and this 8” chef’s knife fits the bill. It’s the Goldilocks principle applied to knives; not too big, not too small, just the right size. Find it here.
Julia Child Cookbook Box Set
Confession: I love the movie, Julie & Julia. In case you’re not familiar, it’s the story of a young New Yorker, played by Amy Adams, who attempts to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s classic cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I won’t spoil it for you by revealing too much, but let me tell you that the film is sure to give you an appreciation for the legacy that Julia Child has left behind and will certainly inspire you to get in the kitchen and cook something up! This box set is a “tasteful” gift for both the beginner and advanced home cook. Find it here.
Wooden Book Holder
Cookbooks are another guilty pleasure of mine. What draws me to cookbooks is not necessarily the recipes but rather the beautiful images and textured paper. I like looking at them, holding them, feeling inspired by them and adding them to my collection on the shelf. So, naturally, when I grab one of these prized possessions to attempt a new recipe, I like to protect them from spills, splatters and other kitchen casualties. This wooden cookbook holder conveniently props up those big encyclopedia sized books while keeping them open at the correct page so that you never lose your spot. Plus, when you’re finished it neatly folds up and can be stored on a bookshelf. Makes a great gift to pair with a cookbook. Find it here.
A chef once told me that a pot of simmering tomato sauce will always find a way onto white clothing; I believe it’s one of the laws of nature. A beautiful linen apron is an essential kitchen accessory and makes a wonderfully practical gift for the foodie on your list. Find them here.
Brass Pepper Mill
Who hates filling up the pepper mill? (Raises hand.) I love how this beautifully crafted pepper mill has a convenient little hatch on the side for easy refilling. No more holding the mill upside down while attempting to make a quasi-funnel with one hand and pouring peppercorns all over the kitchen counter with the other hand. You know what I’m talking about! Plus as a bonus, it’s simply stunning to look at. Beautiful yet practical, that’s a win-win situation in my books. Find it here.
Pearl Serving Platter/Bowl
It’s a well-known fact that food looks more appetizing when served on a white platter. A good serving dish is like a canvas for your beautiful creation, it provides the backdrop that makes the colours pop and the textures shine. After all, you know what they say: “You eat with your eyes first”. So, why not make it tasty for the eyes with a gorgeous large serving platter. Find it here.
Linen Tea Towel
The tea towel is the unsung hero of the kitchen. It’s the humble companion that quietly serves as both a useful tool and decorative piece. Gift a linen tea towel as a pair wrapped in twine for a lovely hostess gift. Find them here.