What Chicago Chefs Think You Should Get This Holiday Season

All Heather Terhune wants for Christmas is Modernist Cuisine.
All Heather Terhune wants for Christmas is Modernist Cuisine.

Yesterday we shared responses from Chicago and midwestern chefs to the question “What would you give other chefs for the holidays?” Today we’ve got their answers to an even more pressing question— what do they think you should have? From cookbooks to gadgets, here are a bunch of great ideas for things the cook on your list would actually use, because chefs already do.

All Heather Terhune wants for Christmas is Modernist Cuisine.

Jill Barron. MANA Food Bar:

The best gift for a chef is a new knife. I like Globals. We think everyone should have a microplane— you can use them for so much.

Susan Goss, West Town Tavern:

For my foodie friends I still find that a set of Microplane graters is much appreciated. These excellent graters are pretty inexpensive and I am amazed that people don’t buy them for themselves.

Michael Kornick, MK:

Everyone should also have a Japanese mandolin. It’s inexpensive, and everyone should also have a Vita-Mix blender. The greatest gift is the gift of knowledge. This year it’s the book “Modernist Cuisine; The Art and Science of Cooking” now only $451 on Amazon.

Heather Terhune, Sable:

Everyone should get the books “Modernist Cuisine: the Art and Science of Cooking” ( I would love to get this as a gift. A gadget— a garlic peeler tube. I hate when the garlic skins stick to my fingers!

Greg Biggers, Cafe des Architectes:

Cookbooks: the new Eleven Madison Park, Joe Beef, Momofuku Milk. These are three very hot cookbooks that just came out. It’s very hard to buy these and then wrap them up and not keep them for myself! As far as kitchen gadgets; for the professional cook I like to give “Grey Kunz” spoons. They are the perfect chef spoon for saucing!

Celina Tio, Julian (Kansas City, MO):

Everyone should definitely have a gram scale.

Perry Hendrix, Custom House Tavern:

My gadget of choice is a cheap stocking stuffer: a thin cake tester. You can use it to check your cakes, but I use it for a ton of things: for fish temperature, to see if vegetables are done roasting, to check if meat braises are finished and if reheated food is hot in the middle. It’s one thing that I always have with me on the line and it gets used constantly.

Nathan Sears, Vie:

For chefs: a cavatelli maker. For everyone: an immersion blender.

Chrissy Camba, Vincent:

My boyfriend cooks as well, so for all special occasions I usually get him knives— the last one was from the Korin website and it was a 9.4” Misono 440 Molybdenum Gyutou— right handed. I think everyone should have a good peeler— like, a Kuhn Rikon 4” Swiss peeler. it’s cheap too!

Derek Simcik, Atwood Cafe:

A spaghetti measurer–either a classic stainless steel model, or one with an adjustable camera-style aperture like this.

Rob Levitt, The Butcher & Larder:

1- A Benton’s Country Ham 2- Crock Pot/slow cooker

What Chicago Chefs Think You Should Get This Holiday Season