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December 05, 2011

Foodie Finds Under $50: Holiday Gift Ideas for Chefs and “Foodies”

Trying to think of a gift this holiday season for a friend, co-worker, or loved one that loves food and cooking? Whether they are a professional Chef or just love to cook, here are some great finds all under $50.

Tools and Gadgets:

A must for any home cook or professional chef. This three piece set will give you the versatility to shred and grate cheese, zest citrus fruits, and grate ginger and garlic. Set includes a fine zester/grater, medium ribbon (best for soft cheese), and extra coarse (great for shredding coconut).

Great for pureeing soups and sauces right in the pot, mincing garlic and herbs for marinades, or whipping cream. Powerful 200-watt motor will puree a gallon of soup in minutes. Comes with chopping and whisk attachments.

Available at Pottery Barn, this vintage set will add an elegant touch to any cheese plate. The set of 4 knives provides the versatility to slice, chip, spread, and pick up any variety of cheese.

Often, recipe ingredients are given in pounds and ounces which can be a challenge to convert for the home cook. Is 8oz. of sugar the same as one cup? How many tablespoons are in 4oz. of shortening? Take the guess work out of cooking with a compact, digital scale. You want one like this that measures in pounds/ounces as well as grams.


Perfect for anyone starting, or thinking about starting, a career in the foodservice business. This book gives great biographical and anecdotal insights into the lives of three very different chefs; Thomas Keller, Michael Symon and Brian Polcyn.

From the same authors of Culinary Artistry, this book is an indispensable guide to any chef creating new menus, recipes and flavor profiles. The Flavor Bible explores the many facets of what creates “taste".  It explains how great cooking involves not only celebrating the ingredients, but must also the experience. This book offers a comprehensive list of hundreds of ingredients and the seasoning, herbs, and flavors that best compliment them.

Salt, although the most basic of seasonings, has a very long and intricate history. This book chronicles how it has been mined, made, harvested, utilized, and most interestingly the tremendous influence it has had on our global civilization throughout history.

Since the early 1980’s, David Tanis has been co-chef of one of our nation’s best restaurants and a pioneer in the organic/locavore/farm to table movement, Chez Panisse. Arranged by seasons, this cookbook is a gentle guide and inspiration to cooking instead of the usual regimented step-by-step approach. Many of the recipes can be describes as “rustic elegant”, and akin to the soul of Chez Panisse, concentrates on utilizing the best seasonal ingredients available - not necessarily the most exotic and expensive.   

Fun Finds:

An everyday need for all the bakers out there. Environmentally conscious and just plain pretty, these spoons will make you feel good when you’re putting together your favorite family recipes.

These placemats are both durable and beautiful. They withstand the messiest of eaters and don’t require a washing machine. Simply wipe clean and dry. They come in all shapes, sizes, textures, and colors. Match your style and home by choosing what fits you—or mix and match and create perfectly unique table top.

Cute, versatile, and perfect for any time of the year. Add a sprig of your favorite herb, or a dash of color with a flower to create a whole new look each time you place them on your table. Great for big parties by streamlining the flow of guests to their particular place at the dinner table.


Hopefully at least one of these items will be the perfect gift for the "Foodie" in your life.  If not, maybe they will lead you to something that is!