As we head into the final weeks before Christmas, I have gift guides for people with specific interests. Sometimes I get stuck when I’m brainstorming for gifts for friends and family and don’t step back to think about other things they would like that aren’t obvious or already on my gift list. Hobbies and interests, old and new are great starting points. There are some gifts on here that are specifically great for those cooks, chefs and bakers in your life, but lots are also great gift toppers, coworker gifts, and presents for people who might not do a lot of cooking but are interested in learning more about it. One of the best things about this gift guide is that there are gifts for every price point. Some of these items are under $15 and with all of the sales going on right now nothing is more than $42! Just as I hope this blog provides inspiration and ideas that you can make in your kitchen at home, I hope this gift guide for the baker and chef can spark some present ideas for you too.
Silpats and nonstick baking mats are ideal for the baker who makes lots of cookies and pastries. Not only do they allow baked goods to release from the pan easily with little mess, they also help the products cook and brown at the same rate, so all of their cookies come out a uniform shade of golden. It is great for making macarons and choux pastry too!
I picked up a pretty pie server from the sale section of Anthropologie one day and use it more than any other serving piece in the drawer. It is great for serving pies, cakes, plated appetizers, pizza, quiche, you name it! I am shocked how often we pull it out, but so glad to have it on hand for unexpected entertaining. Since there is such a range of prices on pretty pie servers, you could give one to a hostess on it’s own, to a friend on top of the rest of their baking-themed gift, or in your dad’s stocking. Bake a pie and tie one on top for the perfect built-in gift and contribution to your in-laws’ feast.
Copper is clearly in vogue right now. I walked into Crate and Barrel the other day and saw a whole wall of copper tools and bowls. It is everywhere and it is beautiful. This copper-handled whisk, copper bowl and copper and rose gold colored measuring cups and spoons are an affordable way to bring the beauty into your favorite baker or chef’s kitchen. All of this copper reminds me of the wall of copper pots on the wall of Julia Child’s kitchen in the Smithsonian Museum. How can you go wrong with that famous chef as your guide?
I love a cute oven mitt and pot holder, and these Kate Spade ones take the cake (some quite literally)! These oven mitt and pot holder sets have such fun and whimsical patterns and even have aprons in matching patterns so your baker can be fully decked out and lovely while spreading flour and handling hot dishes (I imagine someone effortlessly doing both at once, while adjusting the music, spicing the soup on the stove and still making conversation with you. Maybe cute oven mitts have magical multitasking powers?)
Most bakers have the classic square metal pan for making brownies and bars, but this ceramic painted brownie pan would be a beautiful step up from the old (probably scraped up) one they usually use. Pretty enough to serve treats in, but useful at the same time – those are some of the best gifts. I always love gifts that I know someone will use, but wouldn’t typically buy for themselves (in this case because they already have a square pan, but not a pretty one). Local pottery stores or flea markets are also great places to find unique, pretty baking pans.
Another small gift that is extremely useful is a spoon rest. I never realized how useful it was until Will got one for Christmas last year. It has made cleaning up the stove and the counter so much easier since there is less to clean, and keeps your spoons from getting too hot because you don’t leave them in the pan. There are lots of great options that will blend in with your kitchen decor, and fun ones that stand out.
One of the best gifts you can get for chefs, bakers and home cooks of all experience levels is a cookbook. I have at least one cookbook on my list every year and love reading through the recipes (and the stories of the recipes) after we all exchange gifts and have some down time before brunch. No matter how experienced or inexperienced the cook, a good cookbook with new recipes is always useful and helpful. You can give them a cookbook written by a local chef, one you have and love, or a new one that you have heard great things about recently.