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Last Minute Gift Guide: Cooks

I know there are some of you out there that are scrambling with your last minute Christmas shopping. No worries. I’m here to toss out some good ideas. Here are some good gift ideas for the food lovers in your life.

Kitchen Confidential
Kitchen ConfidentialIn this book, Anthony Bourdain, executive chef of New York’s Brasserie Les Halles and host of No Reservations, tells his stories of what life in restaurant business is really like. All the shenanigans you don’t get to see from the dining room is revealed candidly. This book is full of rich stories of Tony’s adventures from when he was a little boy just realizing what it means to truly appreciate food to becoming an executive chef in New York. Tony is a natural story teller and anyone should enjoy this book, not just food lovers. If this doesn’t work, get them a good recipe book. I highly recommend these: The Short-Cut Cook, Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook, and Chocolate and Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen.

Boos Block
Boos BlockEvery cook needs a good cutting board. Bad, cheap cutting boards ruin knives almost as much as throwing your knives in a drawer. There are many good boards out there. Boos blocks are great. I’ve been looking to get one myself having used one for a while now. If you’re thinking of getting this for someone, make sure it’s big enough. There’s nothing more frustrating than having your eight inch chef knife hang off the edge of the board.

Chef’s Knife
GlobalSpeaking of cutting things, cooks need knives. Don’t get fooled by those massive knife sets you get for $50. When you pay that little for knives, you will get cheap knives. They will probably lose their edge fast. Having worked in a kitchen for more than a dozen years, I can tell you from experience that 99% of knife injuries are caused by using dull, cheap knives. The truth is, most people at home don’t need the 14-piece knife set. Frankly, I think that most people can get away with a chef knife, a chopping knife, and a paring knife. Everything else is just extra. I personally love Global knives. They’re relatively cheap in price, great metals, light, and holds their edge. Other brands you might want to look at are Shun and Wusthof. Shun is similar to Global but a little fancier and more expensive. Wusthof is kind of the opposite of Global and Shun. They’re heavy and not as sharp. Stay away from their low-end lines.

Slow Cook Oven
Le Creuset French ovenOne of the best purchases I’ve made for my kitchen was a slow cook oven, also referred to as Dutch or French ovens. I use mine all the time. Getting one is the first step to make a classic dish like boeuf bourguignon. The best of the best is a Le Creuset French oven. Use it once and you will know it is worth its cost. The most important thing in a slow cook oven is to get one with a perfect seal when it is covered. Another good option is a Tramontina. I have one of these myself and it is excellent. The build quality is not as refined as a Le Creuset, but it’s nothing to dismiss. If you’re going for cheap, a Lodge works. I have a small one of these that I use on occasion. I know this one won’t last as long, but it’s a good secondary oven.

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