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Yum! Great Gift Ideas For Foodies, Gourmands and Gourmet Home Chefs

Updated on May 19, 2011

Give the Unexpected to the Person Whose Kitchen Has Everything

I believe that the best kinds of gifts are things that the gift recipient would never buy themselves. Maybe it's frivolous or expensive, or maybe it's something they never considered buying.

When you are shopping for a serious home cook or food lover, it can be hard to come up with a terrific gift idea that involves their passion for food and cooking — and which they do not already own.

Here are some food-related suggestions that I have tapped for my family members who love to cook, and who seemingly already have everything for the kitchen.

Cooking Lesson

This person is already a great cook, you think. What could she do with a cooking lesson? Think again. Even top-notch home cooks are best in a certain area, and many would love to try new cuisines. So why not give a class in sushi making, a cooking class in the fine art of pastry, a bartending mixology class for the cocktail lover or a course in advanced French sauces? I gave one sister an advanced knife skills class at Sur La Table which she still recalls when we jointly prepare some Thanksgiving dish.

Any local cooking school or community college is sure to have cooking classes that you can give as a gift. Alternately, see if any local chefs offer a master class. Sur La Table and other cooking stores could also have cooking classes, and it is a cinch at any of these to buy a gift certificate for a class, or which the home cook can use to buy their own preferred gift for the well-stocked kitchen.

Truffle Salt

Earthy truffle salt can instantaneously transform a good dish into a great dish. I particularly like to use truffle salt on scrambled eggs. It gives this classic comfort food dish a hint of the sublime. Truffle salt is an exciting, luxurious addition to any home chef's spice cabinet. I particularly like to give truffle salt as a housegift whenever I am an overnight guest somewhere. Once it even inspired my host to make me truffled scrambled eggs for breakfast!

Ceramic Knife

When my sister took that advanced knife skills cooking class at Sur La Table, she used her first ceramic knife. That super sharp blade cut through anything — tomatoes, celery, raw meat, potatoes — like proverbial butter. If there were a way to sell ceramic knives door to door like the Ginsu knives of old, my sister would do it. The cooking class came with a 20% off certificate for any knife in the store, and she bought a ceramic knife. These knives have now been her go-to Christmas and birthday gifts for family members, as she spreads her joy and amazement at how well ceramic knives cut, and how sharp they remain even after frequent use.

Furi Tech Knife Sharpeners

Any good cook knows the importance of sharp knives, and this knife sharpening system is a home cook's dream. Forget about noisy, counter-hogging electric knife sharpeners or the hassle of pulling out a knife steel.

Mandoline Slicer

A mandoline slicer help the home chef achieve slicing perfection, cutting carrots or cucumbers to the exact same width every time. Mandoline slicers also make a tiresome kitchen task go quickly. A hand mandoline slicer is a perfect gift for those small jobs when it is overkill to pull out the Cuisinart.

Caviar Spoons

Nothing works as well for serving caviar as a mother-of-pearl caviar spoon. These don't react with the fish eggs as silver or steel react, leaving rich caviar with a purity of flavor. A gift of caviar spoons offers a refined touch, and may inspire the birthday girl to really treat herself!

Coffee Grinder

There's something rather tasteless about an electric coffee bean grinder, convenient though they are. A gourmet food lover who individually drips each cup of coffee is a purist, and will relish in the opportunity to grind his own beans. 

Real Saffron

Pure saffron is pricey spice, one that can is essential to paella, and which can transform dishes like scallops. 

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