It can be challenging to shop for food-loving friends or family members. Don’t worry, Chick-fil-A is here to help!
Being a chef has never been as in vogue as it is today. With reality TV shows and competitions turning chefs into household names, a new generation of foodies is being born, and the techniques once reserved for the culinary elite are making their way into kitchens across the country.
But if you’re not among those taking notes while tuning into a food-focused TV channel, you may be having a little trouble cooking up the perfect holiday gift for the aspiring chef in your family.
Not to worry—we’ve called in our experts to build the definitive holiday gift guide. Our culinary team takes the lead on building out Chick-fil-A’s menu, and they’ve put together six affordable, must-have gifts for any at-home cook. Known for their fresh, made-from-scratch favorites, these chefs know what you need to not only prepare a delicious meal for your family, but also find a way to get everyone involved so you can spend quality time during the holidays. Plus, there’s not an item on the list that’s more than $60.
Stainless steel and clear acrylic, these grinders are the perfect, elegant addition to the table. With a soft-non-slip grip, they’re also fully functional for cooking in the kitchen. Chef Brian Kolodziej, a classically trained chef with a degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales University, says these are a personal favorite of his.
“In my kitchen, I say ‘lead with taste,’ which always means freshly ground salt and peppercorns,” says Kolodziej. “I also love exploring new food trends, and right now I find myself adding a bit of freshly ground pink Himalayan salt in my kitchen at home. It has a really clean taste and brings out the highlights of the foods that I’m preparing!”
The holidays deserve an extra dash of fresh flavors, and this is one kitchen tool that’s perfect for anyone in the family to put to use.
This best-selling salad spinner is another one of Kolodziej’s go-to tools. It’s a mini version of the models used inside Chick-fil-A restaurant kitchens.
“Every at-home cook needs one,” Kolodziej says. “Well-prepared lettuce is the real foundation to any great salad and is as important as any flavors on top.”
Kolodziej has spent 25 years helping restaurants master signature tastes for their menus. His tip: “Use ice cold water to keep the greens crisp, and then quickly and gently spin them dry to remove excess water that would wilt the salad or dilute the dressing.”
“If you’ve ever wondered about the secret to delicious creamy soups, an immersion blender is the answer,” says Chef Christy Cook of the Chick-fil-A culinary team. “I like to roast vegetables, add chicken stock, seasonings, sometimes cream or olive oil and blend into a warm, comforting fall soup. It’s a very inexpensive tool that gives high end results at home.”
Another tip: Look for an immersion blender with a detachable blade assembly for easy washing.
Nothing says quality time like washing the dishes, right? For those who are more adept at cleaning the kitchen rather than preparing the family feast, this dish soap contains natural cleansers, degreasers and aromatic oils, making it highly effective, yet gentle.
“I love this product, the scent and the use of essential oils,” says Cook, who has made it a gift tradition in her family. “It also encourages others (ahem, kids) to help out with dishwashing.”
The holidays are all about hearty meals like a family breakfast, so why not explore making fresh waffles?
“I love breakfast foods, and Belgian waffles are one of my favorite entrees,” says Chef Angela Wadlington, who’s been part of the Chick-fil-A culinary team for 10 years. “The Waring Pro Belgium Waffle Maker looks and works just as well as the waffle makers you would find in fancy restaurants.”
Wadlington says this is her go-to gadget when preparing breakfast for family and visiting friends.
“It allows you to be creative by adding nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit – any ingredients you want – into the batter just before closing the lid. The best part (with the exception of eating the waffles) is the easy clean-up with the non-stick waffle plates.”
This Williams-Sonoma bamboo cutting board is multipurpose. A truly versatile holiday gift, it also doubles as a trivet and a serving tray with recessed handles.
“I enjoy and prefer using fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs when cooking, so a good cutting board is a must for cutting, chopping, dicing and mincing ingredients for those tasty dishes,” Wadlington says.
Wadlington also says a good cutting board can help extend the life of your knife blade. A pro to using bamboo is that it’s naturally antibacterial (although you should still wash it after use) and because it absorbs little moisture, it is considered more sanitary than other hardwoods.
The holidays are all about spending time with family, friends and loved ones. Take some time to get away from the everyday stress and focus on what’s really important. Here are some of our suggestions for simple ways to enjoy the season.