The shopping season is officially here, and after this damn good year it pays to order early, shop locally, and give these lists extra thought. Kitchen utensils are always a hardworking gift, and they have never felt so important with so many people still cooped up trying to create comfort at home. To cut through all of the tricky gadgets and discount offers, we went to the food and drink pros to see what they are giving for the 2020 holidays. After all, wouldn’t you rather get a serrated knife recommended by a sourdough baker than the Instant Pot or the five thousand air fryer? And isn’t it exciting to discover which wine glasses a master sommelier doesn’t even like to break at home?
Here is the holiday hookup for chef-approved gifts.
A reliable thermometer for Christmas roasts
Last year I gave my mother-in-law a thermometer to check the cooking temperatures on roasts. Being in the kitchen when you’re cooking a large piece of meat, or even a pie or pie, is a good thing – it’s the easiest way to tell exactly whether things are done or not. I have one with an alarm so you plug it in, put it in the oven and it rings on temperature. It’s the same one I have at home so I can put a chicken in the oven and go play with my daughter. It cost about $ 40. It’s not a fancy model. – Nicolas Delaroque, Michelin Starred Chef, Maison Nico
To buy: Thermoworks ($ 43)
A stylish jigger for mezcal margaritas
A jigger is the best way to have consistent drinks, measure over and over, and measure accurately. Just like when you are baking cookies, you don’t want to randomly throw them together. Don’t wing it. Even when I make a margarita at home … I always measure so that it doesn’t have too much lime and get too sour or too much syrup and too sweet. … Any [jigger] will do, and there is the classic cone shape. But if you want, Cocktail Kingdom’s bell shape is a little more elegant. … And you always have a good bottle in your bar. I love a mezcal margarita, it’s my jam. So toss a good artisanal mezcal from your local bottle or corner shop. – Eric Ochoa, bartender, Elda
To buy: Cocktail Kingdom ($ 27.99)
Toast essentials for sourdough obsessives
Riverview Orchard organic almond butter and Mountain Fruit co-jams for every taste. For a special gift a Shun stainless steel bread knife. Real bread needs a good knife. – Thomas “Mac” McConnell, sourdough baker, midwife and baker
To buy: Williams-Sonoma ($ 149.95)
A pouring kettle for coffee lovers
Pour over kettles (hot water kettles with a narrow spout for precision) are a kind of coffee specialist chef’s knife, and I use my Fellow Stagg EKG every day. You can set it to the exact temperature you want and it has handy features like turning it off if you forget. – Nicholas Cho, chief barista, wrecking ball
To buy: Stagg (149 USD) / Williams-Sonoma (149 USD)
Wild glassware for beer buds
The latest trend in beer is not the beer itself, but the glass you drink it from. Stylized glasses with colorful art and individual “vase wear” in wild shapes are eye-catching ways to give your Instagram beer photos more personality and dimension. Stores like Juan Travolta and Synth Hop have a variety of fun shapes, sizes, and designs to choose from. – Tim Sciascia, head brewer, cellarmaker
Buy: Juan Travolta (contact for custom orders) / Synth Hop (follow for upcoming releases)
On the table
Everyday glasses and bubble stoppers for wine lovers
A must-have wine is an all-purpose wine glass. We have a ton of different wine glasses in our house, but we only ever use our all-purpose glass, a Schott Zwiesel Riesling glass, which only costs a few dollars per stem. It’s really just a regular white wine glass, but it’s my favorite glass for any type of wine. Since if it breaks (or when) it isn’t expensive at all, it’s no big deal.
I [also] Consider a stopper of champagne as a necessary household item. I even traveled with a plastic (before) just in case, and I used it. I’ve done so many virtual tastings in the past few months and I’ve found that most people don’t have a stopper of champagne in their home. that needs to change. When stored properly, champagne tastes great for 2 to 3 days. You can buy a 3-pack on Amazon for under $ 10. – Rebecca Fineman, Sommelier Master, ungrafted
To buy: Sur la Table glasses ($ 84) / Stopper at Amazon ($ 9.99)