Home Cook Gifts

The Best Holiday Gifts for Home Cooks, According to Chef Samantha Fore

We asked the expert, and she delivered.
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

For Samantha Fore, the chef behind the roving pop-up restaurant Tuk Tuk Sri Lankan Bites, buying the right gift for someone who loves spending time in the kitchen is a tricky balance between practical and pretty. "I'd want it to be something that I'd use myself," she says. While it's easy to be tempted by high-tech gadgets that promise to make dinnertime easier, Fore opts for high-quality basics that look beautiful on the counter or stove, like a classic tagine or a wood cutting board that's built to endure juices and hasty knife cuts.

1. Emile Henry 2.6-Quart Tagine


emile henry tagine
Credit: Food52

"Many traditional Sri Lankan dishes are cooked over fire in clay pots. Since that isn't practical in my kitchen, I use this tagine—my best chicken curry was made using this. And it goes from stove to table seamlessly, giving my dishes an elegant touch." ($100, food52.com)

2. Boos Cutting Board 


Amazon John Boos Block RA03 Maple Wood Reversible Cutting Board
Credit: Amazon

"These boards aren't just beautiful counter-top centerpieces; they're also for everyday use. The surface is enhanced with a brush of oil, making it a lasting piece for the home kitchen." (From $115, williams-sonoma.com or amazon.com)

3. Joseph Joseph BladeBrush


bladebrush
Credit: amazon.com

"I've had most of my knives for over a decade, and I try to keep them in top condition. This stocking stuffer is the perfect tool for giving a knife a good scrub without risking my hands. I just pop it into the dishwasher after." ($9, amazon.com)

4. Frieling Oval Cast-Iron Mortar and Pestle 


morter pestle
Credit: Wayfair

"When I'm making spice blends, I reach for this cast-iron mortar and pestle. The heavier pestle makes grinding whole spices easy, and I often use it to crack and clean crab. This mortar has a nifty spout to neatly and easily transfer marinades, sauces, and rubs. It's easy to wipe clean but can be washed and seasoned if needed." ($40, wayfair.com)

5. Unicorn PepperStick 


pepper grinder
Credit: Amazon

"I love freshly ground black pepper, and this easy-to-fill pepper mill slips into my apron pocket for quick use. Unlike my older pepper mills, the output on this mill is excellent; it doesn't take much effort to fully season a dish. This stick is more of a stove-side companion, but if you're hunting for the tabletop, Unicorn also makes a Magnum mill with epic pepper output." ($30, amazon.com)