Got a home cook on your holiday shopping list? Andrew Coppolino has gift ideas to mix things up

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Editor’s Note: Andrew Coppolino is a Food Columnist for CBC Radio in the Waterloo region.

Appliances, tools, and gadgets can help people who love to cook, and those who don’t.

If you have a home cook on your holiday shopping list, here are some great gift ideas that are both high-tech and old-school.

As for where to find these culinary gifts, don’t forget the stores in your neighborhood – many of which have become more sophisticated in the products they offer and have increased their lines of home cooking supplies. This includes hardware stores, specialty food stores, and bulk food and kitchen supply stores.

At Kitchener’s Relish Cooking Studio, you will find a wide range of products for the home cook, including knives and kitchen utensils. Co-owner Donna-Marie Pye suggests checking out their Scanpan Haptiq and Techniq range of cookware, which sells for between $ 185 and $ 350.

“They’ve moved from the restaurant industry to serving households, and non-stick cookware is a bit more expensive, but has been incredibly popular,” Pye said.

Emily Schlieper-Thorpe, right, is pictured here with Aura Hertzog. Schlieper-Thorpe says a sous vide maker is a great gift, but a stand mixer is a must for home bakers. Meanwhile, Hertzog says a sturdy spatula makes a great gift. (Andrew Coppolino / CBC)

Kitchener chef and pastry chef Emily Schlieper-Thorpe is torn between the suggestion of a classic countertop appliance and a relatively new trend: sous vide.

“It is a link between a stand mixer and a vacuum. I started making vacuum-packed turkey breasts last year and can’t go back to a regular oven. But the most used thing in my kitchen is the stand mixer, ”says Schlieper-Thorpe.

From smart kettles to a “botanical decarboxylator”

For cooks who love appliances, there are plenty of amenities with built-in technology and connectivity. The Internet of Things plays an important role in culinary and culinary convenience, but these gadgets come at a steep price.

The best way to cook steak at your preferred temperature is to use a thermometer; the smart thermometer Meater adds extra precision. Connect it to your phone to receive notifications when the food is ready; it calculates the remaining cooking time, so that 54C steak you desire doesn’t go a few degrees higher.

The tea drinker on your list can activate their iKettle Smarter via Wi-Fi and voice activation, so they don’t have to go downstairs to boil it while working at the home office.

The brewer can be found in Chef Travis Petersen’s kitchen in Coquitlam, British Columbia. Gadgets like this just might be at the top of the home cook’s wish list on your holiday shopping list. (Maggie MacPherson / CBC)

Although it goes by the fanciful name of “Botanical Decarboxylator,” this top-of-the-line Wi-Fi-enabled countertop device called Levo makes herbal infusions (including cannabis, if desired) with butter, oils. , honey, glycerin and milk with ease and little mess.

Cuzen’s Matcha Maker is a more expensive gift, costing around $ 600, but it makes matcha, the fine powder made from green tea leaves suspended in water or milk.

For those who want to reduce waste, the Lomi kitchen composter takes food scraps and even compostable plastics and crushes and dries them into a small volume of soil that can go into your houseplants or garden.

“A very good spatula” is essential

Going down several layers of price strata, Aura Hertzog, owner of Ambrosia Corner Bakery, suggests a modest tool but one that’s a great multitasking: the spatula.

“It’s something that people often don’t think about, but for me it’s essential,” she said. “If you don’t have a good one to take the ingredients out of the container they’re in, that’s a challenge.”

Don’t go cheap with spatulas: they will wear out with use and wash. Make sure you get one with high heat resistance.

At Relish, Donna-Marie Pye highlights several other popular items, including those from Dreamfarm.

“This company has won awards for the design and use of its products. We’ve loved their pizza spoons, spatulas, and scissors for a while, but we’ve brought a lot more from that line, ”she said.

She also recommends Ecologie’s Swedish tea towels, which cost between $ 7 and $ 22, but can “replace 40 paper towel rolls.”

Pye also suggests a good Christmas stocking from the local Backyard Honey Company: a cookware seasoning paste for cast iron and carbon steel casseroles.

Mike Naismith, chef at The Rich Uncle Tavern, has a functional and versatile appliance on his wish list.

“It would definitely be a small immersion blender,” says Naismith. “It’s perfect for soups, sauces, and making dressings and emulsions.”

Michael Naismith, chef at Rich Uncle Tavern in downtown Kitchener, suggests a small immersion blender that can help make soups and sauces. (Andrew Coppolino / CBC)

Weigh it, mix it, cook it, clean it

Next to the thermometer, a kitchen scale helps with successful baking and other recipes. The heat-resistant Drop Scale weighs the ingredients and sends the results to the phone app. Very useful, the device suggests ingredient substitutions and adjusts the amount if you run out of an ingredient.

A simple device that is also a work of art is the molinillo, essentially an intricately carved Mexican “pestle” used to froth hot chocolate and other beverages. Place the molinillo (it means “mill” in Spanish) in the cocoa cup and quickly rotate it between your palms as if you were lighting a campfire with a hand drill.

Bakers may sometimes need to “blind-bake” pastry dough – to do this, they add pie weights, ceramic balls (or beans) called blinds to keep the base from warping when pre-baking. -cooking before adding garnish. A pie weight chain is more convenient and easier to clean.

If you know someone with a round wine decanter or other hard-to-clean bottle, gently swirled stainless steel decanter cleaning balls in the nooks and crannies of the container with very hot water will shatter and collect the water. residues.

Some like it sharp

Finally, a good set of knives is the key to a good job in the kitchen. Jim Boone of Jimmy’s Feed Co., who makes and cuts a lot of sandwiches at his take-out restaurant in Waterloo, has a suggestion for those who aren’t so likely to put their cutting tools to a minimum.

Jim Boone of Jimmy’s Feed Co. dreams of a self-sharpening knife set this year. (Andrew Coppolino / CBC)

“I would like a set of self-sharpening knives. Put them in the holder and when you take it out it sharpens,” Boone says.

At Kitchen Help at St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market, store owner Ruth Rieder recommends a popular line of knives from Rada.

“They’re made in the US and are one-piece cast aluminum,” she says. “They are popular sellers, they stay sharp, and they range in price from around $ 13 to $ 60.”

To which I will add an offset serrated knife: the handle is higher than the blade, so that your joints do not touch the cutting board and you can more efficiently cut tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables and fruits with rinds and hard skin. (Remember: Superstition is that you give a dollar or a token dollar to the recipient of the gift to ward off bad luck.)

A magnetic knife bar makes it easier to find the right knife, is safer than keeping them in a drawer, and makes you look like a chef, writes Andrew Coppolino. (Andrew Coppolino / CBC)

For storing knives, a magnetic knife bar does the trick. They keep your knives safely tucked away, rather than in a drawer, and they also look a lot like a chef’s. That’s the suggestion of Vita Saelzer, chef at Miijidaa Restaurant in Guelph.

Happy holiday shopping!

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