Ask the Chef: What Do I Give a Foodie?

They follow food blogs daily, are the first in line to try new restaurants, and can be found at the farmers market every weekend. What to give your foodie fanatic for the holiday? We've prepped a few shopping lists of chef favorites to help you out. Today, great gifts to stock the kitchen.

Benriner
Benriner
Carol Blonder

The Benriner Japanese Mandoline is a prep cook's best friend. Less expensive and more durable than other slicers on the market, using a "bennie" makes easy work of slicing thin, even cuts of food. The best model comes 3 exchangeable blades and a fitted container to catch the sliced food. Find at The House of Rice, Phoenix Knife House, and kitchenware stores. Price range: $50

more gift suggestions and where to find after the jump

Suribachi
Suribachi
Carol Blonder

Not all motor and pestles are created equal. We like a Suribachi, a Japanese ceramic motor and Surikogi, a wooden pestle to make quick work of grinding herbs and spices. The outside of the earthenware bowl is glazed, the interior has a ridged pattern. The wooden pestle is kinder to the ridged clay than a stone pestle. Find at The House of Rice and Lee Lee Oriental Market and other Asian groceries. Price range: $25-65

Molcajete
Molcajete
Carol Blonder

The traditional Mexican molcajete (motor bowl) and tejolote (pestle) are made from volcanic stone. Both the motor and pestle have rough surfaces, making a perfect vessel for grinding and pulverizing. The larger sizes are wonderful for making and serving table side salsas and guacamole. Find these at Mercado Mexico , Phoenix Ranch Market, and other Mexican import and grocery stores. Price range $15-30.

Immersion Blender
Immersion Blender
Carol Blonder

Large size immersion blenders first appeared in professional European kitchens. The 2 ft shaft was fantastic in large scale food preparation for pureeing, blending and emulsifying. Smaller home versions allow the cook to preform these techniques directly in the container food is prepared in. Great for sauces, dressings, and blended soups. Find at Sur La Table and William Sonoma. Price range: $35-100

Chinoise Strainer
Chinoise Strainer
Carol Blonder

A Chinoise is a versatile fine mesh conical strainer. Great for smoothing the texture of pastry cream, custards, sauces, and soups. Creates perfect purees. Find at Sur La Table and William Sonoma. Price range: $35-135

Boos Block cutting board
Boos Block cutting board
Carol Blonder

There is nothing prettier than a wood cutting board topping a kitchen counter.For the hard working cook who values their knives, there is no better cutting surface. Boos Block boards come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be custom made to specification. Find at: Sur La Table and William Sonoma. Price range: $35-200

Sharpening Stones
Sharpening Stones
Carol Blonder

A quality knife is a point of pride for the good cook. Having the right sharpening tool and knowing how to use it keeps those gleaming blades ready to rock. Find at: Phoenix Knife House and kitchen ware stores.Price range: $27 and up

Microplane graters
Microplane graters
Carol Blonder

Microplane tools come in all shapes and sizes, box graters have been recently added to the product line of graters and zesters. Prized for razor sharp work grating chocolate, nutmeg, and cheese. Find at kitchen ware stores and specialty groceries. Price range: $15 and up

isi charger
isi charger
Carol Blonder

Whip chargers are used in pastry shops for dispensing perfect whipped cream, buttercream frosting as well as a means of injecting liquids in the hot food kitchen. A must have tool for the molecular gastronomist , the new models have an injector and dispenser in one. Cartridges sold separately. Find at kitchen ware stores. Price range: $25-100

Salt Pig and Pepper Mill
Salt Pig and Pepper Mill
Carol Blonder

The busy cook likes to have seasonings at hand. The salt cellar stores salt within easy reach. A high quality pepper mill provides fresh pungent pepper. Choose a pepper mill with an adjustable grind feature and metal grinder. Find at kitchen ware stores. Price range:$25 and up (a high quality mill will run $50-89)


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