I have been invited to cook at the home of a well known chef. I myself am a novice or amateur at best. I wanted to bring her a gift as a token of my appreciation. Any suggestions?
Are you channeling your best self with this comment? (If you're not sure, check out our Code of Conduct.)
I find good kitchen towels are usually welcome.
A small classic but unusual item for a kitchen - oyster shucker, olive stoner, etc. Make sure its stainless steel.
Or a subscription to Fire & Knives http://fireandknives.com/
A small bottle of very high-quality saffron.
Or possibly an interesting spice mixture. Take a look at World Spice Merchants: http://www.worldspice.com/home/home.shtml. Their Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt is really good and might be a fun "toy."
I 2nd Verdigris on the kitchen towels. You might look on Etsy for a pair of handwoven towels in a lovely pattern and fabric, maybe linen.
Thanks everybody! Great suggestions.
pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.
I think saffron is a great idea, but perhaps think more exotic. One of my best friends in the culinary world sent me a tin of Fleur de Sel a la Vanille. French sea salt with vanilla flakes. God knows where she found it but it's wonderful with melon.
King Arthur makes their own Fiori di Sicilia extract in small bottles. Great for baking but also for gelato. It's a blend of vanilla and Sicilian citrus. But anyway, something non-perishable which can be held for later use and experimentation.
hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.
I'd also consider something like the butternut squash seed oil featured this week. http://www.food52.com/products...
Another good place for fancy salts is the Meadow, which has a branch in NYC (don't know how close you are.) http://www.atthemeadow.com/shop/
If she is a well known chef I would interpret that to mean she already had a well stocked kitchen and might be particular about her ingredients (not to be a naysayer, that would just be my impression). I would head to the department store and get her some small luxury bath item that stimulated the food oriented senses like a Laura Mercier Creme Brulee body cream, Jo Malone Mandarin & Basil shower gel, Philosophy Vanilla Cake bubble bath or a Bliss blood orange sugar scrub. I don't know any woman that doesn't like to receive such gifts.
Well played Summer of Eggplant! That's a really good idea too. I know she is very fond of serrano ham but I thought that would be laying it on too thick. And I just realized she likes this site on facebook so I don't want to give away my final decision but I really like your take on a hostess gift. Hmm, decisions decisions!
FCV - Thank you! Have a great time, learn lots, sounds like fun!
@Summer of Eggplant, great idea. I found a small gift set of foodie type soap on Uncommongoods.com. I think I'm gonna go your route with the soaps and stuff.
some good spirits are always a nice gift as well!
I always like to bring an unusual, rare, or just plain special bottle of wine. You can bring a bottle to open and enjoy together and a bottle for her to put in her "cellar". I realize that I am assuming that she drinks wine. Which leads me to the subject of things for the body that have scents. I know that I am severly allergic to anything floral in any way. I get horrible headaches and go into asthma attacks. Be careful when it comes to things with scents, if you don't know if she can handle them.
I have seen several "topiaries", for want of a better word, made of edible herbs. Rosemary, in particular. They're pruned into any myriad of shapes....hearts, Christmas trees, stars, etc. Or a basket planted with a variety of herbs - maybe rosemary, thyme, parsley, mint, oregano, whatever. Look at a garden center, or I've even seen them at Trader Joe's. As others have said, if she's a "well known chef" she likely has a plethora of ingredients and tools and tchotchkes. But fresh herbs are always a nice thing to have around, and they're easy to maintain. Plus they look lovely, and will keep living, unlike a floral arrangement that dies far too soon.
Anita is a vegan pastry chef & founder of Electric Blue Baking Co. in Brooklyn.
All you really need to know is just say "no" to kitchen gadgets. But to expand...
Every lady chef is different. Personally, I would love:
an edible bouquet
bottle of frantoia
organic lavender soap
I love Clean Ridge Soap Company's liquid Kitchen Hand Soap. Citrusy scent, and rids your hands of all kinds of cooking smells like garlic, fish, etc. I give this as gifts to all my chef-y and non-foodie friends alike.
Also, the bar Clean Ridge bar soaps are fantastic, too. My fave is the avocado/cucumber. Very light and clean and doesn't wop you over the head with a strong scent.
I hate it when guests bring plants or flowers. Plants feel like a commitment and flowers just interrupt my cooking because they need a vase, etc.
But I'm a boy...
I'm another one who doesn't like scents, so the scented gifts wouldn't be my first choice. (And I'm a woman - go figure!). However, I think any gift you bring will show your thoughtfulness, and that will be appreciated, no matter what you choose.
AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
I'd bring Bragard's Mayflower kitchen towels, which are 50/50 cotton and linen. Linen dries more quickly than cotton, which is why I like these so much. No cook can ever have too many kitchen towels and the Bragards are at once luxurious, beautiful and, best of all, handy! ;o)