Yesterday’s national holiday gift guide collected the best ideas from Grub Street cities and their chefs around the country, and is essential reading for anyone tasked with choosing gifts for a food-driven individual. But while a number of Chicago (and one Cleveland) chefs had great suggestions on the list, we talked to many others whose suggestions didn’t make the national cut but still offer good ideas for holiday gift-giving. So here are some of your favorite Chicago chefs and their ideas for the holidays.
Steve McDonagh, owner of Hearty
My new cocktail book The New Old Bar recently came out and I did a lot of R&D; at home. I have a really well organized bar setup, since it’s for home use, I want it concise and accessible— tools that store easily and make for easy clean up. I found early on that I didn’t want to pull out one of my heavy wooden cutting boards each time I made a cocktail so I have a 10 x 7 bamboo cutting board. It’s easy on knives, dishwasher safe, super light and takes up very little bar space. I recommend one stored along with your bar equipment for cutting bar fruit.
Kady Yon, executive pastry chef, Public Chicago Hotel
A Bamix immersion stick blender. I use this tool for most applications that need emulsification without heating up your product such as: ice cream bases, sorbet bases, custards, etc. This is a great piece of equipment due to the fact that it is affordable, durable, and reliable.
Paul Fehribach, Big Jones
I’ve recently read Marcus Samuelson’s Memoir Yes, Chef. It’s a great read and a great gift for an aspiring chef or anyone looking for a window into what it takes.
Heather Terhune, Sable
A Belkin iPad cabinet mount. A Polder digital scale— it will even measure a pinch! A Nespresso machine, so you can make great espresso at home.
Randy Zweiban, Province
I have been using Giardineira from Bari Market on Grand Ave recently in a few things at home and it’s a great condiment to have around. I also love the knife selections at Korin in NYC and they have a great website which is easy to navigate. I have bought all my knives from them over the years.
Melissa Trimmer, pastry instructor, Le Cordon Bleu Chicago
Right now I’m really into the book Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin. It really sums up the farm to table/sustainable movement as seen from the farmer’s perspective. A must read for those in the know.