Holiday Gift Guide for the Home Culinarian

                                                                                                                                                              Photo Courtesy Bugs and Fishes

Holiday gift shopping can be tough, especially when you have an aspiring home chef, entertainer or gourmet in your life.  How do you know what they already have, or would love and use in the kitchen?  I mean, you may be Santa, but your elves are probably on permanent vacation.  There are so many days when I wish I had a staff of elves.  Anyway…

As an avid home cook myself, I compiled this list categorized by price (because let’s face it, we all have different gift budgets).  There’s also some creative stocking stuffers and gifts to get kids in the kitchen.

I handpicked these gifts from some of my favorite retailers and artists, including Williams-Sonoma Cookware, Anthropologie, Sur La Table, DEAN & DELUCA, artist Carrol Boyes, Amazon, Crate & Barrel, UncommonGoods and more. Each item is available online to make your holiday shopping a little easier.

Whether you’re shopping for friends, family or, ahem…yourself, these gifts will inspire your home cook to create all kinds of goodness in the kitchen.

Stocking Stuffers

Castle Key Bottle Opener, $12.00

Key bottle openers are a great conversation piece and lovely to look at.  Plus, you can keep it in your purse for wine or beer emergencies.

Zesty Measuring Spoons, $18.00

There’s no need for measuring spoons to be boring. These colorful measuring spoons make cooking and baking a little more fun.

OXO Nonstick Tongs, $12.00

I generally love OXO products for their sturdiness and ergonomics.  The nylon tips on these tongs will protect your non-stick cookware and provide a strong grip on whatever you’re picking up or turning.

Taste No. 5 Umami Paste, $6.00

If umami means “deliciousness”, I want to squirt this umami paste into everything.  I can imagine putting this in soups, gravies, sauces and…well, the list goes on.

Compact Chopsticks, $22.00

I can’t stand those cheap wooden, splinter-laden chopsticks that you get with takeout.  Carry your own chopsticks that fit in your purse or pocket. Also good for anal-retentive germaphobe types.


Gifts Under $25


Joseph Joseph® Chop2Pot™ Plus Folding Cutting Boards, $16.00

I’m constantly chopping vegetables on a cutting board, then scooping them up with my knife and carrying them across the kitchen to put in whatever I’m cooking.  While my dog is a great vacuum cleaner, avoid the mess with these chop and scoop boards.

Cook Like a Rock Star: 125 Recipes, Lessons, and Culinary Secrets by Anne Burrell

I find Anne Burrell’s instructional style really easy to follow, and she’s full of helpful tips to improve your cooking.  This would be great for novice to intermediate home cooks.

OXO Cookie Scoops, $12.00

Didn’t I mention that I love OXO products?  Here’s another one.  This cookie scoop comes in two sizes and is easy to squeeze and release the batter.  Normally, you would use an ice cream scoop to scoop out cookie batter, but here, you could use this cookie scoop for ice cream.  Those crazy OXO people.

Imprinted Palette Egg Caddy, $24.00

How gorgeous is this?  It might be the prettiest deviled egg holder I’ve ever seen.  Conversation piece + fun.

Fat Daddio’s Square Springform Pan, 9″ x 3″, $24.95

Yes, a square springform pan.  I’ve never seen one before, and how cool would it be to make square cheesecakes?  It would be cool, trust me.


Gifts $25 to $50

Cuisinart DLC-4CHB Food Processor, Mini Prep Plus, $49.99

This is one of my most use kitchen electrics.  I have a full-sized food processor as well, but this mini one can do most jobs and it’s way easier to get out and to clean up.  Chop nuts and make pesto in seconds.

Prinsenhof Pie Dish, $36.00

Ahhh.  Isn’t that pretty?  It’d almost be a shame putting a pie in it and covering it all up.

Olive Wood Salt Keeper, $49.95

Keeping salt close at hand is key in home cooking.  I currently keep mine in a Tupperware container because I’m ghetto.  But how sophisticated and lovely is this salt keeper?  Just grab a pinch and go.

Tear-Off Cocktail Napkins, $28.00

These cocktail napkins are crazy.  They come in a roll, and you can rip them off individually when entertaining.  They’re machine washable for up to eight uses, or toss them if your guests ruin them when things get too wild.

The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook: 2,000 Recipes from 20 Years of America’s Most Trusted Cooking Magazine, $40.00

The new Cook’s Illustrated cookbook came out this year, and it’s been getting great reviews.  I tend to like cookbooks with LOTS of recipes, and this one has 2,000.  I think that’s enough.


Gifts $50 to $100

Cooking Classes

Sur La Table has cooking classes in 18 states, but there is also most likely a cooking class or school near where you live.  Generally, they are under $100 (although not always)

A cooking class is the perfect gift for someone who doesn’t like a lot of stuff around them and prefers experiences, rather than presents.  Not to mention, they’re fun.  And (bonus!) they usually they serve wine.

Carrol Boyes Woman/Man Salad Servers, $90.00

I traveled to South Africa in 2006 and fell in love with functional art pieces by Carrol Boyes.  I started collecting them because I couldn’t resist the idea that functional items could be incredibly beautiful and interesting.  They are of incredible quality and make amazing gifts for any occasion.

Olivier Roellinger Pepper Mill By Peugeot, $100.00

A well-made pepper mill can be a gift that lasts a lifetime.  I would be happy to leave this on my counter or table.

Teas from Around the World, $75.00

Sometimes it’s fun to experiment with new flavors, and trying new teas can inspire your cooking.  Plus, it’s pretty.

Picot Platter, $98.00

Food typically  looks best on white dishes and platters. I love the shape of this platter, and the delicate detail around the edge.


Gifts $100 to $200

Marble Pastry Board, $129.00

In making doughs for pies or pastries, it can be hard to keep the dough and butter cold.  Using a marble board will help keep everything cool.  Plus, it’ll look gorgeous on your counter.

Subscription to Donna Hay Magazine, $107.09

Food lovers worldwide praise Donna Hay as being one of the best food magazines.  Yes, it’s an expensive subscription.  But receiving this in the mail six times a year will be a treat.

All-Clad® Stainless Steel Multi-Cooker, 12 qt., $169.95

A good stockpot is a must for every kitchen.  I not only use mine for stocks, but also for soups and boiling pasta.  This one is great because it comes with colander and steaming inserts, which makes it versatile enough to replace multiple kitchen tools.

Carrol Boyes Recipe Stand, $125.00

My cookbook stand is one of my favorite wedding gifts we received.  Until they start designing cookbooks to stay open themselves, why not display yours on this gorgeous stainless steel one by Carrol Boyes?

Retired Wine Barrel Lazy Susan, $125.00

How cool are these reclaimed wine barrel lazy Susans?  They show the wear and tear of their age, look gorgeous and serve a purpose.


Gifts $200 and over

Le Creuset Signature Round Dutch Oven, 5 1/2 Quart, $330.00

I often sing the praises of Le Creuset, and I could have filled this list with all Le Creuset products.  Their durability, design and performance is second to none.  That said, this is my most used piece of kitchen equipment by far, and I recommend it to anyone looking for cookware.


Mauviel® M’Heritage 250 Copper 5-Piece Cookware Set, $749.95

Copper cookware costs a pretty penny, but it is classic and lasts forever.  These are certainly a showpiece for any kitchen.

Vitamix Professional Series 200 Blender, $550.00

This is not just another blender.  The Vitamix is the Rolls Royce of blenders.  It’s often used in professional kitchens and will out-perform any other blender out there.

Kitchenaid® Custom Metallic Series® Copper Stand Mixer, $499.95

Most cooks have a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer, but this one is limited edition in a gorgeous shimmery copper.  Plus, the glass bowl is neat.

Weber® Performer Grill, $349.95

Weber grills have long been a staple in backyards all over the country.  But this one comes in a sweet green color and on its own cart, handy for prep and storing grill tools.


Gifts for the Mini Culinarian

Martha Stewart Collection Kid’s Melamine Prep Set, $29.99

Get the kids in the kitchen with their own tools!  I’m a firm believer that if you making cooking fun, kids will not only learn to cook, but they will be more likely to try new foods.

Williams-Sonoma Cooking Together Cookbook, $19.95

This would make a great first cookbook for any kid.  It contains recipes that are easy enough to make for a budding chef.

Personalized Kids Apron, $16.99

A personalized apron will keep that little bugger clean, and cute.

Ninjabread Men Cookie Cutters, $12.00

Yes, you read that right.  Ninjabread cookie cutters.  I mean, how could I resist including these?  Kick your gingerbread men up a notch.

Kids Cooking Classes, prices vary

Cooking classes are not just for adults anymore.  Check your local area for kids cooking classes, or find your local Young Chefs Academy to get kids excited about cooking.


Note: This is NOT a paid or sponsored post.  I just love shopping and helping people find cool stuff.  I’d love to be a professional shopper.  Wait?!  Is that such a thing? Now taking job offers.

Author: Adrienne | Categories: Leftovers | Comments: 3


  1. Posted November 20, 2011 at 1:11 AM | Permalink

    Great post! Love the folding cutting boards. I was having the same problem transporting chopped veggies from the counter to the pan, but now that I have a set of glass prep bowls (a wedding gift!), I’ve started using the “mise en place” method. I chop the veggies, put each type in a different bowl, then set then by my pan, ready to go in when needed.

  2. Posted November 20, 2011 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

    Thanks, Roxanne! You’re way more organized than I am! If I tried the mise en place method, my husband would complain about how many dishes I used 😉

  3. Posted November 30, 2011 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

    What a great “foodie” gift round up! Sign me up for the marble pastry board and the lazy Susan. Thanks for sharing such a well-edited collection.

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