Out of all the types of guys to buy for during the holidays, the Chef is arguably the most challenging. There’s so much subjectivity out there. Does your gift recipient like German knives? Perhaps more importantly, does he hate German knives? What’s his preferred coffee brewing method? (Editor’s note: It’s pour over isn’t it? It’s always pour over until your alarm doesn’t go off.)
Every year, more and more gadgets and gizmos — you know, gear — come out for the kitchen. And every year, there are plenty of food fans that have distinct opinions on all of it. So regardless of if you’re buying for your favorite foodie, friend, or yourself, we’ve curated some of the best, most unique gastronomic options to ensure your present makes the cut.
Able Brewing Kone Coffee Filter
Pour More: For many coffee lovers, the pour-over method of brewing is the only method. Proclaiming a well-balanced flavor profile, the biggest problem with pour over has always been the time spent brewing and the waste spent from using cloth filters. Obviously pour-over fans, the folks at Able Brewing have created the Kone, a reusable conical filter for Chemex coffee makers. The stainless steel screens cut waste down to zero, and even expedites the brewing process by eliminating the once necessary step of pre-wetting the filter. The Kone may even win over some French-press fans, delivering a cup that is more rich and full compared to traditional pour-over coffees.
Breville Oracle Espresso Machine
It’s the One: Let’s get one thing straight: any kitchen device that dubs itself “the Oracle” is definitely going to get a look from the GP staff. However, slap on a price tag of two stacks, and that look may soon turn into a quick glance. Lucky for you, trust-fund foodie, the Oracle is worthy of your attention. Though many machines may claim to make coffee shop–quality mud automagically, few can boast of an automated tamping mechanism to go along with an integrated burr grinder and double boiler system. Side bonus: if you register your two-thousand dollar machine with Breville, they’ll send you two bags of coffee for free.
Anova One Sous Vide Immersion Circulator
Low and Slow: One of the problems with shopping for a home cook is that the moment you think he has everything he needs is when something bananas becomes popular. In the case of the last few years, sous vide cooking has been the banana. And though prices did start out Michelin-star high, their rise in popularity has finally brought these ultimate slow cookers down to attainable levels. Considered by many experts to be the best of the circulating bunch, the Anova One brings with it a touchscreen LCD, stainless steel build, and the ability to move up to 22 liters of water. In case you’re not familiar with metric, that converts into one tasty turkey.
Finex Cast Iron Cookware
Step into the Octagon: Even an epicurean ignoramus knows that cast iron skillets last forever. So if you’re going to have one ‘til death do you part, why not make it beautiful? Crafted in Portland (Maine. No, we’re kidding; of course it’s Oregon), the Finex line of cast iron looks like something straight out of Tony Stark’s cabin. Its octagonal shape allows for a hexagon of pouring options (i.e. you can drain the skillet in six different directions), and its ingenious handle made out of a stainless-steel spring means no more burning yourself when trying to be the first one to grab for the gravy. Oh yeah, we know.
The Orange Chef Prep Pad
Weight, There’s More: It may not be the food replicator from Star Trek, but at least it’s a step closer. Proclaiming itself as a “smart food scale,” the Orange Chef Prep Pad is a digital scale that helps you get precise, real nutritional readings on the food you so haphazardly put in your mouth. Used in tandem with its iOS app, Countertop, the Prep Pad doles out facts and figures in categories like protein, fats, and carbohydrates. It can even link up to your Jawbone Up, analyzing your daily workouts to configure what you should be eating next. #thefuture
Kiss the Book: There’s a reason the phrase “food porn” has entered our lexicon, and it’s not just because of Instagram. From the veggie-friendly Thug Kitchen (tagline: “Eat like you give a fuck”), to the outdoor-loving Taming the Feast from Ben Ford (yes, his dad is Han Solo), to a collection of fifty foodie scenes from literary classics literally called Fictitious Dishes (trust us, it’s much better than it sounds): the modern day cook book has never been more fun, inspiring, and loosely defined.
Zwilling J.A. Henckles Bob Kramer Collection Chef’s Knife
The Best of Both Worlds: A good carpenter may never blame his tools, but he damn well knows when to give them credit. Made in Seki, Japan, the confusingly named Euroline Chef’s Knife is the ultimate kitchen tool that blends the best of both German and Japanese knife making. Forged from carbon steel, this full-tanged blade boasts an African blackwood handle with brass bolsters down its side. It’s power, control, and beauty all in one, which means if your slices end up dicey, you have only one place to shift the blame.
Tortoise Large Japanese Porcelain Lidded Bowl
Feast Your Eyes: A work of art deserves a proper frame, and there are few frames more proper for framing your culinary genius than this Japanese porcelain bowl from acclaimed housewares experts, Tortoise. Made from a proprietary clay blend, the bowls are fired in Nagasaki, “a region famed for a history of over 400 years of porcelain manufacturing, beginning in the Edo period of Japan.” You’ll have to forgive us our limited knowledge of Japanese porcelain dynasties. What we do know is that these matte black bowls and their ash lids will definitely make your next dinner party memorable — even if the food isn’t.
The Heat is On: Any guy worth his salt (ahem) believes he can grill. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. On the off chance that you or your giftee isn’t the greatest when it comes to putting meat to flame, there’s the modern day panacea — and of course it has to do with your smartphone. The iGrill2 is a Bluetooth-enabled grilling thermometer that pairs with your Android or iOS device to help you get immediate, accurate reads on what’s cooking. And with a 150’ range for phone alerts and the ability to connect up to four (four!) temperature probes at once, any excuse for poor grilling will go up in smoke.
Norm Bottle Grinder Set
Cool To the Touch: On the seriousness of cooking scale, there are few things more next level than preparing your own spices. True, you could just go to the store and pick up a red-capped bottle like everyone else. But is that really worthy of the grass-fed, hormone-free, dry-aged proteins you just carefully selected? Norm bottle grinders are not only beautiful in their grey and cream — excuse us, “carbon” and “ash” — forms, they’re also highly effective. Each bottle is engineered with efficient ceramic grinders to ensure minimal heat transfer, meaning your secret recipe spice mixture won’t cook before you’re ready.
Burn One Down: Every culinarian should know how to build a fire for cooking, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a fire-breathing blowtorch if one is at your disposal. The Bison Airlighter delivers a 4-inch flame to help start charcoal and wood fires, followed by a strong, continuous stream of air to ensure a properly stoked flame. The portable catalyst claims it can ignite coals in 10 seconds, leaving you ready to grill in only a matter of minutes. And though the company doesn’t recommend it, let’s just say brûlées just got a helluva lot easier.
D’Artagnan Mail Order Foods
Boar to Door: Your food guy probably already has his food guys: the butchers and fishmongers he hits up when in need of something special. But even the best meat men can’t stock everything, and they certainly can’t guarantee that they’ll bring it straight to your kitchen. Long known by many of the country’s best chefs, D’Artagnan is the three-decade old meats purveyor that supplies most of America’s finest restaurants while also offering its services to any discerning cookie with a home mailing address. The Manhattan-based company offers everything from heritage and wild proteins to foie gras and caviar. So even if you can’t cook like a James Beard winner, you can at least buy like one.