Chef Inspired Holiday Gifts for the Home Cook

With many of us shopping online for holiday gifts this year, there are so many ideas at our fingertips. But how do you weed through it all to find that perfect gift…especially one for your favorite home cook?

We’ve made it easier for you to choose that special something, whether the recipient is a pastry aficionado or aspiring chef. Escoffier chef instructors have assembled some of their absolute favorite, can’t-do-without kitchen tools that your home cook may love just as much. Take a look for some culinary, holiday gift-giving inspiration…and maybe even a cooking tip or two.


Sous Vide Tool

Online Pastry Chef instructor NaDean Johnson“I absolutely love my immersion circulator and cannot live without it! Because life is so busy, I can set my sous vide to the exact temperature I wish to bring my steak, roast, or chicken to, and it does all the work. The best part is it’s impossible to over-cook anything because once it reaches the desired temperature, it holds it there until you’re ready for it. I usually give my steak a quick sear before serving, to get that wonderful crust! It works for anything, too – seafood, vegetables…you name it. It’s a fun way to prepare food and I enjoy the continuous learning that comes with using it!”

Online Pastry Chef instructor NaDean Johnson

Rada Peeler

Austin Culinary Chef Instructor Gary Ackerman“Yep, a peeler. Think of it as more of a stocking stuffer. No clumsy ‘loop’ over top to hold up the far end of the blade. This also means all your carrot peelings keep flying off, instead of building up into a big lump that you will have to stop and clear. Matters not when peeling two small carrots. Changes your life and brings tears when doing twenty pounds. A very well engineered simple tool.”

Austin Culinary Chef Instructor Gary Ackerman

Japanese Mandolin / Slicer

Online Culinary Chef Instructor Luke Shaffer“I use my mandolin all the time when slicing larger amounts of produce. From perfect potato chips to paper-thin garlic to uniform apple slices, this thing does the trick. It stays super sharp, has an adjustable slicing width, and includes attachments for various julienne cut sizes as well..”

Online Culinary Chef Instructor Luke Shaffer

Dutch Oven

Online Pastry Chef Instructor Anne Tutuska“I absolutely could not live without my Dutch oven! Dutch ovens are perfect for roasting, searing, broiling, browning, deep frying and even baking bread!! I use mine year round, but as we move into the colder months I find myself using it for hearty soups and stews most of all! I prefer the enameled cast iron varieties for ease of cleanup, and the wonderful cast iron for heat retention and love that they come in a variety of sizes and colors so you can pick the one that matches your style! ”

Online Pastry Chef Instructor Anne Tutuska

Dutch Oven


Austin Campus Head of Academics, Chef Robyne McArthur“AI think a microplane is a kitchen must have for anyone who loves to cook. The product that is grated on the microplane is small enough to not become a distraction in sauces whether it be zest of citrus or cheese. Handles minced garlic and ginger easily and grates spices like nutmeg and cinnamon as well.”

Austin Campus Head of Academics, Chef Robyne McArthur

Pastry Cutter

Online Pastry Chef Instructor Susie Wolek“I really love my 6 Wheel Stainless Steel Pastry Cutter. It comes in a 5 Wheel version too, both are great. It’s great for cutting strips of dough as well as fondant. I use mine most for cutting my shortbread cookies in a rectangular shape and marking the portion sizes on my brownies-just roll it over the top of the brownies and you have a line to follow for consistent cutting!”

Online Pastry Chef Instructor Susie Wolek

All-Clad Pots and Pans

Boulder Lead Pastry Chef Instructor Dan Widmann“I love my All-Clad pots and pans (D5 model). They are great pans, heat evenly, cook well and hold up to years of abuse. I stay away from the non-stick pans, they can’t handle high heat. These pans go right from stove to oven with no problem and clean up easily. They aren’t cheap but a good pan will last you 10+years, yes this is how old my set is, and still performs beautifully.”

Boulder Lead Pastry Chef Instructor Dan Widmann

All Clad D5 panCutting Board

Online Pastry Instructor Tom Beckman“The John Boos cutting board. I have the large walnut cutting board and I love it. It’s the center of all of my cooking and baking. It’s easily cleaned and if you keep it oiled, it will last you for your lifetime. I recommend getting a thick one as it gives stability when cutting and working with all types of food. A good companion with this cutting board is the Butcher Block Oil. I oil mine once a week and it stays perfect and ready for work.”

Online Pastry Instructor Tom Beckman


Austin Culinary Chef Instructor Tammie Barnhill“I love my NutriBullet Blender. It is small, easy to clean and blends small amounts to the same smooth texture as my Vitamix Blender – but is a much less expensive piece of equipment. I have actually given them out as Christmas gifts to family members. ”

Austin Culinary Chef Instructor Tammie Barnhill

Immersion Blender

Online Pastry Chef Instructor Rachel Cuzzone“I love my immersion blender! Pull it out almost daily for so many different things. I personally love the Breville brand and it comes with so many different attachments. It is pretty easy to store and clean as well. There are also so many other affordable options from different brands too! ”

Online Pastry Chef Instructor Rachel Cuzzone


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