Everyone has their own personal wish list of gifts when it comes to holiday time. You know, it’s that list you keep in the back of your mind of gifts you hope your friends and family members will get you. It’s that hope for a gift you’ve wanted that makes the receiving of it even more special and exciting — even if it took a lot of hint dropping.
Food Network celebrity chefs are no different — they too have wish lists that include culinary gadgets, tools and appliances that they’re hoping to get under the tree on Christmas. FN Dish caught up with some of them to find out what’s on their wish lists this year, what kind of gifts they’ve loved receiving in the past, and what items they would give as gifts.
Vitamix blender: “You can get the lower-priced version of the Vitamix, and it still works absolute magic. It’s a perfect gift because you don’t know that you need it until you own it. And then you wonder why you didn’t get a second mortgage on your house to buy one sooner.”
Espresso machine: “The Nespresso Pixie is super cute! We love espresso, and I gave one to my sister last year for Christmas — now they’re hooked too!”
Stocking stuffer: “A great handheld lemon squeezer! You get so much more out of a lemon with one of these inexpensive gadgets that you will be saving money before you know it.”
Meat grinder/sausage stuffer: “Grinding and stuffing sausage is one of my family traditions. It’s great to get everyone involved and it’s fun for the whole family. I use this Weston meat grinder and sausage stuffer at home and in my restaurants.”
Cooking pans: “Calphalon Your Set is the first opportunity to customize your own set of pans to your cookware needs and Calphalon makes a great-quality pan.”
Stand mixer: “I’m absolutely in love with my KitchenAid stand mixer. It’s a splurge, for sure, but it transforms any home kitchen into a professional-level cooking hub. I’m especially in favor of adding the various attachments — I use mine (the Professional 5 Plus series, Black Onyx) for everything from homemade ice cream to fresh sausages to hand-rolled pastas.”
Stocking stuffers: “For gifts, my Garces Trading Company chocolate bars make amazing stocking stuffers and hostess gifts. We created the four varieties (dark chocolate with Marcona almonds and smoked paprika, white chocolate with porcini mushroom and organic thyme, milk chocolate with mole amarillo and roasted sesame seeds, and cafe con leche — milk chocolate blended with my own GTC Reserva blend custom-roasted coffee) to incorporate chef-driven flavors into a bite-sized, handheld treat, and they’re some of my own personal favorite splurges this time of year.”
Grill pan: “I absolutely cannot live without my Scanpan Professional Nonstick Square Grill Pan. It fits four sandwiches perfectly and is so heavy and well-constructed that anything griddled or seared is beautifully crisp and even.”
Stocking stuffer: “I do secretly hope Santa puts a Rosle Garlic Press in my stocking this Christmas. I’ve never pulled the trigger on purchasing a good garlic press because I felt that it was a lazy cook’s cop-out. I’ve realized now, that’s ridiculous thinking. Good garlic presses are a time-saver and, more importantly, a stinky finger-saver.”
Chestnut knife: “I like a chestnut knife because it really comes in handy during the holidays. I love roasting chestnuts with my family. It’s also a great conversation piece when people see it and don’t know what it’s for.”
Pressure cooker: “A few months ago, while researching cooking techniques, I got over my fear of using a pressure cooker. Because I love making stocks and stews, I bought the biggest one available — the 12 Qt Family Style Stockpot by Kuhn Rikon. This Swiss manufacturer is considered the Rolls-Royce of pressure cookers, with a price tag to match! I’ve had great success with this model, and this summer even used it for making preserves and for canning. Now I would like to expand my collection, and supplement the big guy with smaller pressure cookers. The same manufacturer produces smaller models, which are great for cooking in a fraction of the time it takes using conventional methods. From vegetables to meats, the resulting flavors are intense, more nutrients are preserved, and the process is significantly more green by saving energy. I would love to try the 2.5 Qt Pressure Frypan/Braiser that has a waffle-textured surface, allowing for browning and sauteing without added fat.”