Chef Todd's Gift Giving Guide for the Foodie or just that friends that loves to cook!
This list generally consists of things I want, things I love and this year things I sell. Self serving as this may sound, we have a lot of simple, stocking stuffing items from the Chef Todd Pantry of magic yum-yums that will thrill your foodie, but we will get to that as I like to wrap the list up with the stocking stuffer section.
***We took the time to add some links to items Chef Todd likes that are found at amazon as option for you, those items result in us getting paid a small commission from the link, though all items are ones he personally uses and opinions are his own (we all know he's full of opinions)*** this disclosure is required and where happy to comply --this is the first time we've done this several items are linked with info and details for you but we have no affiliation with, just love the products!***
The item people generally ask me about more than any item are knives. What brand, what style, what set?? That is a great question, dare I say, an easy question, that is really hard to answer. There are so many really good knives on the market and there are so many styles and they all have a different function or purpose. A knife also picks the user in my opinion. What I mean by that, is the most important factor in picking a knife is not what shape of blade, who makes the knife or even what metal was used to forge the knife. The most important factor is how does the knife feel in your hand? Is it the right weight, does the handle hit the pads of your fingers just right where it feels like an extension of your hand rather than a tool in your hand. These are questions you can't answer for someone else, because how a knife feels in your hand may be like holding a shovel to another. I am very comfortable with a 12 inch blade on my classic French Chefs knife, but that would feel like using a paddle from a row boat as a spatula to my beautiful bride. As far as what set, I generally stay away from sets, not every knife made by the same manufacturer will have the same handle or weighted balance as another. So again, I suggest picking the knife that feels right for each task. I will tell you that I love my Shun Knives. My 10-inch Shun Classic Chef Knife is in my hand for hours at a time some days. That being said, for many of you, a Classic 8-inch is going to be more comfortable. Funny, we've had a menagerie of random knives for years (often a gift at gigs for chefs) but last year we finally went out and did exactly what I'm suggesting here - bought individual knives and my brides left-handed, so she noticed while shopping a lot of them are designed for righties! The one she grabs 9/10 is our Master Utility 6.5". To her it is more versatile and unlike myself, she does various tasks back to back vs at work I am doing a task repetitively for a longer period of time. Another thing she said people don't realize is the height of the blade and the size of your hand determine if your knuckles hit the cutting board, i.e. that Master Utility knife she loves is too small for my huge paws and I find it challenging. My Shun curved Boning knife is one of my absolute favorite tools that I own. The Classic Shun is designed with an oddly shaped handle that is designed for right-handed people, left handers will hate the knife, trust me. The other knife to add to any arsenal is this Miyabi Mizu Utility 5" . I was in love with the Global brand knives when they first came out, the sleek look with the almost gun handle-like feel to the knives, but once I owned them, I found them a little too light and the handle was too thin for my big paws. That being said, I really like their kitchen scissors, great for poultry (think spatchcocking), snipping herbs among other things (like opening the damn packaging). The Miyabi Kaizen knives are awesome and I am always on the look out for an old F.Dick knife. A German classic, Friedrick Dicks are still some of my favorite knives. The Old Wooden handle ones are the ones I look for, the new ones are great, chunky and a little heavy, but damn they are a god knife. I have put a few links on my website that you can look at and if you are so inclined, click on and it will take you straight to a link to purchase. You can certainly buy and return, that is the way of the internet shopper these days. Or make a pass through our local Williams Sonoma and check out a lot of options in one spot. And PROMISE me you wont ever put your knives in the dishwasher. Ever.
OK, I love All-Clad pots and pans, specifically the stainless D5. With all the handles facing one way, and lids on the small pots, it feels like you're cooking in a Michelin-starred kitchen at home. They often come in a set, but there's something great about adding one at a time, for whatever you're lacking in the kitchen and wishing you had…at least that’s how we’ve added to our home stash. My "editor" has taken the time to find several links and options for you here, these are for quick ship options but the same product is available in your hometown kitchen store - buy there, please help support to small business in your town! I (lets be real, its her) just can't link it.
Every home chef needs a Staub Cocotte for their stews and or bread baking. I am way over Le Creuset. It must be French, for made like crap… these days they don't last more than a year or two without the enamel wearing off. And damnit, they used to last forever… If you're reading this Le Creuset, fix it!
It is no secret and this gift will be hard to keep a secret, but I love my Big Green Egg. I have the Extra Large, which is fairly large, perhaps the medium size at home for you will do just fine. They are tremendous tools and the things you can do on them is damn near limitless. Wood fired ovens are a passion of mine, wood fired cooking in general is my favorite way to cook. I loved my Forno Bravo wood fired oven - and someday will have another Vesuvius in the yard! Notice I am not calling it a Pizza Oven, because it can do so much more than pizza. Now you won't be able to get a FB oven before the 25th… But if you're thinking about a stellar gift, that would be it. In the oven, I've boiled pasta water for a side dish, along with roasting a whole fish, and cooked my entire Thanksgiving in it - they are ultimate outdoor cooking.
As for table top versions, I have worked with a couple of them and they can do the job. I will say the Ooni and the Roccbox are good for a table top pizza ovens, but they fit like 1 pizza at a time. The Gozney Dome in Olive green is sexy and bad ass for the size… And the thing is awesome, throw a Tomahawk steak in that bad boy and oh my, charred to perfection! Yes it does pizza and so much more, they will get you with all the cool, keep it sexy upgrades for sure. I don't have one, but oh man I'd love to tinker with one!
Aprons are a great gift and a good apron makes you feel like you know what you are doing while making sure you don't look like you don’t… And if you don’t want to not know a thing or two, the Food Lover’s Companion has been a thumbs-up suggestion for years for young cooks, to veterans who need an expanded culinary dialogue. I have at least three and I still use them all the time. That being said, I hear it may be out of print, so nows the
time to hunt for one with all the post its/torn pieces of paper stuck in the pages at your parents house or thrift stores. Its indispensable.
Now that we’ve got you looking like a chef and talking like a chef. Every chef I know has a special spoon, or a style of spoon they love. I am a Mercer spoon guy, they have a great bowl, perfect tip and great weight and feel to the handle. They come in super duper cool gun metal black as well and that makes them, and you, even cooler.
If you're like me and you like really good wine but you're different from me in the sense that when you open a really good bottle of wine and you don't drink the whole bottle… Coravin. Previously a restaurant thing… A funny spray-head-looking apparatus that has a long needle that you push down through the cork of an unopened bottle of wine and then it allows the wine to flow out through the pour spout, giving you a delicious glass of wine without ever popping a cork. Because as you know, as soon as the cork is pulled, the timer starts ticking on the quality of that wine. I am a firm believer…
I get serious about stocking stuffers. I am a fun sock freak and nothing says stocking stuffer more than food socks! We’ve got 4 kinds in the shop. You can bet that most Tuesdays given the choice, I’m wearing taco socks!
In my stocking last year, hidden behind the coal was a new smart thermometer (wireless digital thermometer), I was stoked!! I had been talking about these things for 2 years (but apparently not to the right person). Finally got one! But before I could even use it, one of the puppies got a hold of it and decided to make it a chew toy… so, I still don’t have one. Maybe this year??? [Wink, Wink. That’s for my editor] Now I've done a bit of research and the two contenders are The Meater Plus & The Meatstick - both will do exactly what they say - give you the insight into what temp your meat is without lifting a lid or opening an oven and that means meat cooked to the proper temperature. The app even suggests cooking time for specific cuts of all kinds of proteins, so there's really no guess work. The differences seem to be range of wifi connection, ambient temp and well, adding additional gauges to the lineup. If "Editor-Santa" brings me one, I'll follow up with my findings.
If your foodie isn’t a techie then a simple digital stick thermometer like we sell in
the shop is a great and easy to use stocking option. Here is where it may sound a bit self-serving because it is. I buy excellent products that I love and put them out on the shelf for you to enjoy as well. Most of them make a really great stocking stuffer or gift basket. Let me start with the Black Garlic Molasses. Deep salinity, sweet but funk, thick and syrupy. Excellent brushed on to grilling pork chops or a Denver Steak, cast iron seared and finished in the oven with a lacquer like glaze of the molasses. Maybe your foodie is more of a mixologist, the Pine Bud Syrup we stock makes an amazing Old Fashion. Not to mention, drizzled over Goose Mouse or Foie Gras Torchon, sublime. Sneak a Yuzu Kosho or two into a stocking. What’s that? A paste of Yuzu rind, chilies and salt, excellent in stew for a unique twist, awesome in a carne crudo or ceviche. Thin Yuzu Kosho with olive oil for a sensational rub for skirt steak. Our pouches of Original Rub, Poultry and Pig Powder are great and the newest addition, the Black Magic. A Cajun style Blackening spice that is in fact black. Really want to make a statement, a couple Santa Carota Ribeye Steaks and a tin of Black Magic. [Warning: Steaks cannot be left in a stocking hanging in front of the fireplace… ]
Lastly, for those you don't know what to get, a Meatery Gift Card is a perfect gift because they can be used on all the things I just outlined!
Happy Holidays to each of you from the Fisher Family!
See Ya at the Counter!