Okay, I get it — having my holiday shopping done by now would certainly be nice. But everyone telling me how well they planned ahead is not helping my Hanukkah spirit. At this point I just want everything gift-wrapped and good to go so I can sit back and enjoy the multi-cultural eggnog, and if it means everyone in my family is getting something from Cook Culture, they’re just going to have to deal with it.
That said, we do have a pretty big catalogue, especially now that Cookworks has joined the fold, so I asked a few of our chefs what they’re coveting this holiday season. If you’re looking for something that’ll inspire your loved ones to cook for you, this is your list.
For the Pastry-inclined
If your special someone has cake batter in their veins, you should probably take them to the hospital. But if they simply love to bake, Chef Megan Hennis of Victoria’s Empress Hotel has a few suggestions for all budgets.
“Makes cleaning counters a breeze.”
“It’s a pastry must have in my opinion. For spreading batters in pans, decorating cakes and sliding under rolled pastry to make sure the pastry doesn’t stick when moved.”
“A splurge item — the perfect immersion blender for ganache, and the flat attachment whips cream and egg whites so beautifully!”
Staub Pie Dish 11-in. $52.00 / 9-in. $42.00
“Function and beauty.”
The Bread Also Rises
There’s really nothing better than homemade bread, and with this lineup from Origin Gluten-Free Bakery’s Chef Tara Black, your favourite cook will have plenty of taste-testing for you to do.
KitchenAid Pro 600 Stand Mixer $699.00 (Tangerine on promo: $449.97)
“I have two of these in my home kitchen because they do such a good job and they stand the test of time.”
Wedgwood Plateware - available in-store @ Cook Culture, Victoria
“I love the delicate yet sturdy nature of these dishes and they are a wonderful canvas for all styles of food, from rustic down-home comfort food, to elegant and exquisite presentation.”
Keen to get a sharp edge?
Chef knives are at the core of every recipe, so it’s no surprise that more than one of our chefs have these on their Christmas lists. “I love a great knife,” said Executive Chef Ned Bell of the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver. “They inspire, they are a tool, precise, individual, a truly fantastic personal gift!” Our own sushi and zen food chef Akemi Akutsu had one particular set in mind…
Miyabi 3pc Birchwood Set w/ Santoku or Chef’s Knife $729.00 promo price, usually $895.00
“They are royal jewels in the kitchen. There is no cooking and no cooks without knives. All you need is this set in your life — A good investment I promise.”
Something to slake your thirst
Though there’s plenty of rain outside, having the heat on indoors can often make for some pretty dry air. Keep your belle or beau well-hydrated with these beverage tools from coffee-lover and Shaw TV’s Island Chef Michael Williams, as well as kombucha-crazy Chef Cosmo Meens and his Hot & Cold Café.
“A french press makes great coffee, but the versatility of the Aeropress allows it to win out every time. It is the reason I sip on such delicious coffee while camping. I also make the most amazing vanilla bean latte using real vanilla beans and all without a big expensive espresso machine. For what it costs, it is absolutely indispensable.”
Sodastream Soda Maker Source $159.95
“I really love bubbly drinks! I also love creating different flavour profiles. This would be a fun tool to play with and make lots of natural soda pops for me and the kids to have around the house. I also make kombucha and I like it to be a bit more carbonated than it is naturally so I could add carbonation without watering down the flavor!”
The Final Frontier of blender technology
As a gearhead, writing about the Vitamix (see my previous blog) was basically a dream come true. It’s just a monster of a tool, with a super-powerful motor and a design honed to perfection over decades of development. And though our chefs might not always agree on technique, style or tools, nearly all of them are lobbying for one of these under the tree — especially Jason MacIssac, who was moved to wax poetic.
Vitamix 750 Professional Series $729.00 promo price, usually $829.00
“It is freakin’ awesome, I have one at each of my bakeries and they do everything including grinding seeds for our breads… Now I just need to get one in my home kitchen!” -Tara Black
“The best extraordinary kitchen toy ever! It makes two major comfort foods, hot soups and cold ice cream, in a machine. Quick n’ easy. Move over chefs, pots n’ pans, even stoves! Saves my time, saves my LIFE! I think this is also a great wedding gift. This could be a lot more useful than husbands!” -Akemi Akutsu
“Oh the power! And such finesse that a safe cracker would find pleasure in adjusting the speeds. It will make all of my blending fantasies come true. My surfeit of kitchen appliances will surrender to its opulence and majesty. Pureed soups will be whizzed into perfection. Vinaigrette and aioli emulsifications will be formulated effortlessly. The secret spice mixture for my infamous fried chicken will be ground with efficiency and convenience. My sauces will be continuous and eventful. I would be pleased to say the least.” –Jason MacIssac