Some people in your life are hard to shop for. When their birthday or the holidays roll around, you start to stress, wondering what you can find that will express your feelings for them and also be something they’ll enjoy. When you’re stuck for gift ideas, one of the fastest routes to narrowing down the options is to explore some of your friend’s hobbies.

The following will explore some stellar gift ideas for anyone who loves cooking. Of course, when purchasing anything edible, you want to make sure that you’re aware of your friend or family member’s dietary restrictions. You don’t want to be buying spices with lactose hidden in them for your dairy-free colleague.

Cutting Board

Most people have a cutting board in their home, but often it’s stained and ratty and made out of flimsy plastic. Despite this, most cooking-obsessed folks love the idea of having a sturdy, artisan cutting board that they can proudly display their creations on. A gorgeous cutting board also makes an excellent choice for the chef in your life who likes to photograph their food or process. If you scroll through Pinterest or Instagram hashtags related to cooking, you’ll find endless beautiful images of ingredients spread out nicely over a rustic wooden cutting board. If you go this route, be sure to envision their kitchen and don’t pick anything that’s far too big for the cooking space they have.

Fancy Knives

Anyone who has spent some time cooking knows that not all knives are created equal. A good knife can mean a clean cut which gives the chef flexibility in the size and texture of their ingredients. A bad knife can mean a messy and time-consuming cut that wastes the product. Have you ever tried cutting tomatoes with a dull, worn-out knife? It’s infuriating. Some iMarku kitchen essentials should give you an idea of what a good knife gift might be. When shopping for knives, you want to consider what type of cuisine your friend likes cooking as this will influence which types of knives are needed most. You also want to consider how the knives are going to be transported if you’re moving them from one location to another. Most knives come in secure boxes, but if you’re buying individual knives in person, you might need to take extra precautions with the wrapping and shipping to ensure that there are no nasty surprises before Christmas.

Spices And Herbs

If you think that there are only a handful of spices and herbs, get ready for a big surprise. There are an insane amount of spices and herbs in the world, and many of these exotic flavors are excellent for your health. If you can’t find some new and unusual spices in your local grocery store, be aware that you can order them online. You can find a pre-packaged selection of spices for your friend to try cooking with, or you can buy individual options based on your knowledge of what the person you’re shopping for likes to cook. Again, be sure to read all ingredients before purchasing as spice mixes can sometimes contain some surprising elements, and you want to be respectful of your friend’s dietary needs.

Another way to approach herbs and spices as a gift is to go straight to the source. Why not seek out a little parsley plant that can sit in the kitchen window? Or any other herb or spice plant? You can also take this option really seriously and seek out the seeds, soil, and pots your friend will need to grow an ingredient from complete scratch. Many chefs say that the best ingredients are fresh. Potted plants or seeds make a fantastic gift for chefs who want to take freshness to a whole new level.

Photo of happy cheerful chef man holding a gift box

Flatlay Photography Lighting Setup

If the cooking-aficionado in your life has an active food account on social media, you might want to consider a flatlay photography lighting setup. Often these come in the form of white boxes with light included (additional bulbs will likely need to be purchased as the years wear on). These nifty little devices are often quite inexpensive but produce stellar photography results. All your friend will need to do is open the box and set it near the food or ingredients they’re filming or photographing. Once you see the impact one of these boxes can have on photographs, you’ll forever feel less bad about your own social media pictures, as cinematic lighting makes an incredible difference.

Fun And Flavourful Sauces

Another thing that chefs love to experiment with is sauces. There is an endless list of potential options here; countless gourmet hot sauces exist in the world. Barbeque sauces can come in an absurd amount of flavors, from sweet to smokey to spicey and everything in between. Curry pastes, cheese sauces, and bottles of spicy ginger cream are only the beginning. Like with spices and herbs, you might find your local grocery store is lacking in odd sauces. If this is the case, take your search online. You’ll be blown away by the options and how fairly priced they are. 

Snarky Aprons

Not all chef-themed gifts need to apply to the actual act of cooking. You can find tons of quippy apron designs as well as aprons with nearly every type of reference imaginable. If your brother loves to cook and watch Rick and Morty, you should be able to find a Pickle Rick apron if you look hard enough. If your best friend loves baking and Gilmore Girls, you should be able to find a Luke’s Diner apron if you search for it. Craft sites like Etsy and Redubble will have even more unusual aprons at reasonable prices—you might even be able to get one customized specifically for your cooking lover.

The above ideas should help you find something for the person in your life who loves cooking. Christmas can be a stressful time of year, so be sure that amid the chaos of shopping and wrapping (and rewrapping because the cat destroyed your last attempt), you take some time for yourself. A few minutes of meditation or a slightly longer shower can mean the difference between feeling the Christmas spirit and having a wonderful time and running around from store to store, sweating because you can’t find anything you were hoping to.

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