The holidays are here, which means the stores are flooded with a dizzying array of cooking tools, cookbooks and fancy ingredients meant to tempt home cooks. What's the discerning shopper to do? We decided to talk to some of our favorite professional chefs — the people who spend serious time in their kitchens — to find out what can't-live-without-it cooking tools and ingredients are on their holiday wish lists this year.
Today chef and innovator Ludo Lefebvre, the man behind the Los Angeles pop-up restaurant LudoBites and the hot new Trois Mec, shares a few of the cooking-related gifts he is asking for this year — including one big-ticket item he is hoping Santa can fit in his sleigh.
What are a few of the cooking-relating items on your holiday wish list this year?
Custom forged D2 tool steel cleaver. This is an amazing knife and great for chopping. Most people don't think about a cleaver for an everyday knife, but "the cleaver" should get much more credit than it does. This knife can chop anything!
Nose to Tail Eating, A Kind of British Cooking, by Fergus Henderson. Fergus Henderson is truly the original nose-to-tail master and this book, from what I have seen, it is just about simple food, but so tasty. Nothing is better than simple, well prepared food. I went to St. John while in London in October and was blown away. Fergus's recipes will be a true inspiration for me.
Handcrafted terra cotta oven. This is just my dream. Not sure Santa can fit it on the sleigh, but living in California we do so much cooking outside, even in December. Stone oven cooking is so versatile and reminds me great times in the south of France. It is not just about the pizza, but steaks, whole fish, vegetables, anything cooked on a hot stone with open flames is delicious.
What is a no-fail gift that every cook would appreciate receiving?
A knife! No doubt. You don't have to spend a fortune, but I promise you, a real cook knows the value of a good knife.
More from Ludo Lefebvre:
(Image credits: Ludo Lefebvre; Ecco)