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Holiday Gift Ideas for Chefs 2005

By Nina Rubin

What do you get for the chef who has everything? We asked some of our 2005 Rising Stars for their indispensable kitchen tools. Here are their must-haves—just in time for the holidays. Keep this list in your back pocket when you’re shopping for your favorite chef or ambitious foodie.

  1. Misono knife: Misonos are the Ferraris of knives. Sharp, thin, able to slice through just about anything, they’re the preferred tool of not one, but four of our Rising Star chefs. Noriyuki Sugie of Asiate in New York uses one knife for everything, and this is his pick. Chris Cosentino of Incanto in San Francisco “can’t live without” his. For Paul Piscopo of XYZ at W Hotel, San Francisco, it’s the easy maintenance that keeps him coming back. And Josh DeChellis of Sumile and Jovia in New York raves about his Misono UX 10 Slicer, which has a carbon-steel blend—carbon for the razor-like sharpness, steel for the length. “It’s the longest slicer that they make,” says DeChellis. The 240 mm Misono UX 10 Slicer is $159.57 at japanesechefsknife.com.

  2. Gray Kunz Sauce Spoon: The sauce spoon is one of the unsung heroes of the kitchen. Sean Griffin of Neros at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, finds that using a spoon for saucing is “more artistic than a squirt bottle.” Eric Klein of SW Steakhouse at Wynn Las Vegas has had his favorite spoon since 1996, and always has it with him. The Gray Kunz Sauce Spoon, an especially popular model amongst chefs, is $8.50 at jbprince.com.

  3. Truffle slicer: If you’re lucky (and funded) enough to have truffles in your kitchen, like Sven Mede of Nobhill at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, you might as well spring for a slicer. They come in a range of prices, but on the more economical end, the Messermeister Professional Truffle Slicer is only $39.95 at sharpknives.com.

  4. Food injector: The concept is simple: A food injector is basically a syringe used for cooking. Larger ones are used for solids like garlic and butter, while smaller injectors are for thin marinades and other liquids. Pastry Chef Ralph Perrazzo of Bradley Ogden at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, loves to use it when making his homemade ice pops. The ZAP Injector is sold at kitchenconservatory.com for $9.95.

  5. Zassenhaus Peppermill: Zassenhaus peppermills have been produced for over 100 years, so you know you’re getting something that’s been refined over the ages. Chris Cosentino of Incanto swears by his, though sadly, he lost it at a James Beard event. He could get another one at penzeys.com for $37.95 (7.5 inches).

  6. Taylor Digital Instant Read Thermometer: Thermometers go well beyond cooking turkey at Thanksgiving. Two of our San Francisco Rising Star Pastry Chefs, Christine Law of Postrio and Boris Portnoy of Winterland, think that they’re absolutely indispensable for dessert making. Taylor makes several high-quality, shatterproof models with easy-to-read displays. They’re sold for $18.50 at cooking.com.

   Published: December 2005