Posted December 17, 2014

Our Chef-Recommended, Must-Have Gifts for Cooks

Eat + Drink

Wolf Outdoor Grill

Grill big or go home with this howlingly great outdoor grill from Wolf.

Are you looking for the perfect present for the kitchen wizard in your life? Or maybe you want to feed your own cooking muse and treat yourself to a kitchen tool that will take you to the next level. Well, we checked in with a few of our chefs and asked what gizmos are indispensable to them. So here are a few of our chef-recommended, must-have gifts for cooks.

Executive Chef Elise Wiggins, Panzano, Denver

Chef Elise Wiggins

My Shun Ceramic Honing Rod! It sharpens my knife to almost razor sharp every time I use it. It’s gentle on the knife, as well, so it doesn’t wear it down.

My Wolf 54-inch outdoor gas grill. It’s a grill/smoker/rotisserie so the sky is the limit on what you can do with this thing. I’ve done tacos al pastor on the rotisserie and smoked bananas, which are amazing (barbecue sauce is sweet and smoky, so it works).

Executive Chef Kyle Rourke, Red Star Tavern, Portland, OR

Chef Kyle Rourke

Vitamix Vita-Prep 3 commercial food blender, variable speed, 64-ounce container. It makes a lot of noise but does its job and is a true workhorse in the kitchen: aioli, dressings, smooth purées, soups, salsa, spices, chilies — it makes just about anything smooth. Can’t live without it.



Executive Chef Ethan McKee, Urbana, Washington, DC

Chef Ethan McKee

Super Benriner Japanese mandoline! It’s an absolute must-have for slicing and dicing vegetables quickly. This piece of equipment will save you an amazing amount of prep time, along with giving you precise, even cuts that would otherwise be difficult unless you have professional knife skills.

Executive Chef Luca Corazzina, 312 Chicago, Chicago

Chef Luca Corazinna

I can’t live without a grinder. I grind fresh pork, veal and beef to make my bolognese sauce. I also use it to grind the bread to make my strozzapreti, and grind the sun-dried tomatoes, olives, garlic and capers to make my tapenade. The grinder also comes with attachments to pipe my homemade sausages.

How about you? What can’t you live without in your kitchen?


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  1. Anne Marie Jefrey says:

    I use various salts for different dishes. Black salt is something I can not live without. It’s flavor is very distinct. Also I have a whisk collection from 3 inches to 2.5 feet long, and use every one.

    • Faith Yi Kimpton says:

      Love it Anne! We think a diverse salt (and hot sauce) collection is a must for every home kitchen.