I thought if I was going to create a gift guide for foodies, why not go to the experts? Some of LA’s best chefs have taken the time to provide you with their recommendations for the perfect gift.
David LeFevre of MB Post, Fishing with Dynamite and The Arthur J:
“One of the things I love to get all different types of people at the holidays are the containers to hold salt in your kitchen, especially the ones at Heath, they’re the perfect size for your hand and I love the pottery work at Heath.” [Note: The containers with leather tabs are seasonal at Heath, so the color depends on what they have available. Right now they only have turquoise. There are similar containers in a variety of colors. Too late for mail-order? They have a store in LA. Find them here.].
Aarti Sequeira, chef, cookbook author and television personality:
The Searzall is a blowtorch attachment that turns the blowtorch into a hand-held power broiler. The attachment gives you more control over the heat when searing and reduces the unpleasant taste that can come with propane flames. Available at Amazon and if you have Prime, it will arrive in time for Christmas.
The team from Eat at POT:
It was a natural choice for Roy Choi’s team, but LA Son: My Life, My City, My Food is an enthralling and informative book by the man who may have singlehandedly started the food truck craze. LA Son is part autobiography, part city guide, and part cookbook. It would be an excellent choice for any proud Angeleno (Or editor, even).
Alex Reznik of kosher restaurant Ditmas, Top Chef alum:
Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 23 Year Old Bourbon Whiskey 750ml $2,999.99
From the Old Rip Van Winkle distillery in Kentucky, “Pappy Van Winkle is only released once a year in the Fall in super tiny allocations.” According to howtobuypappy.com, “very few bottles ever reach the shelf anywhere because the demand is so great.” But they know a trick. “Here’s a little secret for you: that $25 bottle of W.L. Weller 12 year on the shelf is the exact same wheated bourbon as Van Winkle Lot B for half the price. Here’s another little secret: That $20 bottle of Old Weller Antique on the shelf everywhere is also the exact same wheated bourbon recipe and both of those bourbons are made at the same distillery as Pappy.” You can also try these guys.
Chloe Dahl and Nikki Booth of Knuckle & Claw:
“We love the English brand Maldon Salt Flakes, so much so that everything in our kitchen changes except for the salt. Why Maldon? They have the perfect amount of crunch and crumble. We have boxes and boxes on reserve as we use it for everything. They even have a smoked flakes for when you’re feeling extra fancy! It’s the perfect gift because it elevates even the simplest dishes with that special touch.”
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? David LeFevre’s salt container filled with this salt would be the perfect gift! If it’s too late for mail order, you can try Williams-Sonoma.
Jason Park, owner and executive chef of the recently opened Maru
“VinTote’s Arajuo Estate Wines’ Extra Virgin Olive Oil makes for a truly [spectacular] gift. The same care they put into their wine can be tasted in their olive oil. It is great as a finishing olive oil or in vinaigrettes.”
“…As well, chefs love knives. I’m pretty much done collecting and I prefer buying directly from Japan, but Japanese Knife Imports has a great selection if you want to buy a chef a great gift.”
Coincidentally, @LA_CHEFs also recommends knives from Japanese Knife Imports. The craftsmanship is beautiful. They are a little dear, but a good knife is priceless. I like this little Gesshin Chinese cleaver, which is only $95. Of course, I have always been partial to cleavers.