5 Practical Chef's Gifts for the Cook in Your Life - aLittleBitOfAll
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5 Practical Chef’s Gifts for the Cook in Your Life

person pulling on a knife from a knife stand

5 Practical Chef’s Gifts for the Cook in Your Life

Everyone has someone in their life who enjoys cooking. They could be a professional chef or a gourmet who simply loves to experiment with food. When it comes to giving gifts to folks like this, the decision is simple: something kitchen-related. There are plenty of tools and accessories that chefs can use in the kitchen, so you have a lot of options.

Knife Stand

a wooden knife stand in a white kitchen
source; amazon.com

Every person who’s passionate about food and loves to cook probably has their own knife set. A professional set that’s made of high-quality materials that they don’t let anyone else use. They’re particularly proud of owning it and will gladly put it on display. If they still don’t have a place to do so, you can surprise them by getting them a beautiful and practical knife stand.

Your friend will stop keeping their knives in the drawer and will proudly prop them to the kitchen counter for everyone to see. This way, they’ll also be within reach when they need to switch between cuts and food prep without fumbling around in cupboards or drawers. Plus, they won’t get damaged from constantly being in touch with each other.

These stands can be made of different materials with wood being the most common choice. Manufacturers often use hardwoods because of their durability. You’ll find stands made of beechwood, chestnut, teak or walnut. They’re a real combination of functionality and style. With their gorgeous woody tones, you can match them to any aesthetic.

A more modern version of this kitchen accessory is made of acrylic. These displays are usually transparent, which gives them a contemporary vibe. They look elegant and can optimise a kitchen’s sleek aesthetic. As a material, acrylic is also easier and simpler to clean and maintain. Wood requires more upkeep.

Knife displays vary in size. Which to choose mainly depends on the number of knives your friend owns. Do they have a full set? What’s the size of their knives? Do they want to display all of them? Displays are usually made for 5–15 knives, but some can hold even more than this. Each stand has designated slots, wide or narrow, for each type of knife.

The stand’s stability is also important. It should be stable enough not to tip over when someone pulls a knife out or places it in. Avoid wobbly and shaky displays because they can be a hazard in the kitchen. Some of them even have a rubberised bottom to keep them in place and are almost glued to the kitchen counter.

Knife Sharpeners

Knives are something we use every day in the kitchen. They’re helping with meal prep, bread slicing and many other things. So, it’s natural that they get dull after a while. They can even get dull from the knife stand. To help your friend keep their knives sharp, you can get them some sharpeners.

There’s a saying, “A sharp knife is a safe knife,” and that’s very true. A dull knife is more likely to cause accidents and cuts because the person will apply more pressure to cut and struggle during the task. There are several types of sharpeners you can choose from. The simplest option is the manual type. It has a handle that is used to stabilise it to the counter while the person pulls the knife through the slot and sharpens both sides.

If you don’t want your friend to do things manually, you can buy them an electric sharpener. This version has a motor, wheels and abrasive disks. There are different levels of speeds and abrasion they can choose from to get the right sharpness of a specific knife.

A whetstone is a very traditional option. The knife is sharpened by holding it horizontally at a slight angle and skimming it back and forth. There are also sharpening rods or steels. Steels are made of either steel or ceramic and their purpose is to align the steel fibres to the knife’s edge. Rods have a rougher surface and take the metal off the blade.

Chopping Board

The cutting board is a kitchen accessory that doesn’t get as much appreciation as it needs to. It’s a very practical item that makes kitchen tasks much easier. Even if your friend owns one already, they’ll welcome a new one gladly. The number one thing to consider is the material. The board has to be strong and not warp, shrink or crack.

Your friend will use it with various foods, it’ll come in contact with liquids, and it needs to stand the test of time. Invest in a large cutting board that has a lot of workspace. Maple is the best option when it comes to materials. It’s really sturdy, and has a beautiful aesthetic.

Teak and walnut are also a hit. Plus, you can match its aesthetics with the knife display stand and make a nice cohesive look. If you can, get a board with some extra features like scales, rubber bottom, liquid-catching groves or knife sanitisers.

Mortar and Pestle

woman using mortar ans pestle
source: epicurious.com

A mortar and pestle is a great way for any chef and cooking enthusiast to grind spices and herbs. If your friend doesn’t own one, now is the time to surprise them. Look for a large pestle. Something that can fit a large mortar and grind the ingredients on the mortar’s edge.

Stone is probably the best material choice because it’s dense, strong and durable. Marble or granite provides a perfect crushing surface. Avoid ceramic because it can get damaged quickly. Wood may seem appealing but it’s less effective in grinding. 

Stay away from mortars that have a smooth, glossy finish. They don’t have the abrasiveness needed for grinding and crushing foods. Shape matters as well. A round bowl is the best choice. Don’t buy mortars with sharp edges, the pestle won’t be able to reach the food there. They’re not efficient and are difficult to work with.

Spice Grinder

Spice grinders are a modernised version of the mortar and pestle. If your friend likes contemporary grinding methods, this is the perfect gift. Take note of the minimum and maximum capacity of the grinder. If your buddy grinds one teaspoon of spices at a time, the device should be able to complete the task.

There are, of course, manual and electric options. Electric ones are faster, more efficient and can handle large food quantities. The manual type is more affordable, more compact and simpler to use. No matter which one you choose, your friend will be delighted to have it in the kitchen.

Ian Tompson