Best Gifts and Gadgets for a Home Chef – CNET

This story is part of Gift Guide, our year-round collection of the best gift ideas.

When it comes to gift-giving, count yourself lucky if you’re shopping for someone who is really into cooking or food (or, most likely, both). There’s a huge market out there for clever kitchen gadgets and cookware upgrades that are as useful as they are thoughtful, and they’re sure to put a smile on the face of any home chef. And if their kitchen is already fully stocked with equipment, you can’t go wrong with some delicious new ingredients. Fish, meat and exotic spices are all great alternatives to rolling the dice on a pricey piece of cooking hardware.

We’ve been testing (and tasting) to find new and exciting kitchen gear as well as exceptional ingredients that all make particularly good gifts for a home chef. We’ve given a bit of background on each, including why we love them and think they deserve a coveted place in the kitchen, cabinet, pantry or fridge.  

Below you’ll find gifts for those who love to mix it up in the kitchen, including modern cooking gadgets as well finely made versions of classic kitchen tools. Most of these kitchen and cooking gifts should read a little more thoughtful than your standard-issue cheese basket or bottle of booze (no offense to either). So tuck in your linen napkin and feast upon the best kitchen and cooking gifts for a foodie on your list this year.

Le Creuset

Le Creuset, which makes some of the finest kitchen tools and cookware on the market, has launched a line of unique Harry Potter cookware. Snatch the snitch atop one of the French legacy brand’s signature enameled Dutch ovens. There’s also a Lord Voldemort casserole dish, spellcasting spatulas and mug set as part of the limited-edition collection, though you may have trouble finding them in stock. 

If you’re a Star Wars fan who happens to love cheese, this Death Star cheese board and toolset feels like an absolute must-have for your next gathering. The Death Star cheese board is made from eco-friendly rubberwood with over 81 inches of serving space. The swivel top opens up to storage for four stainless steel cheese tools: a cleaver for crumbly cheese; planer for hard cheese; fork-tipped knife, and a classic hard cheese knife and spreader.  

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Making seltzer at home is a good idea. It’ll save you money and keep loads of cans from clogging up the recycling system. Plus, no more lugging them out to the curb. SodaStream is the most well-known brand, but Aarke has the plastic seltzer makers beat big-time when it comes to style. The Aarke carbonator is made from stainless steel. 

It also uses the same SodaStream CO2 canisters, which are easy to find and have a great exchange policy that’ll only cost you $15 per bottle.


Unless the foodie on your list is extremely well versed in knives, it’s likely they have a Western chef’s knife by default. Those heavier, bulkier knives are great for workhorse chopping but a lighter Japanese-style knife like this Mac Classic Chef’s blade — our top pick for the best Japanese chef’s knife in 2021 — is better for intricate cuts, fine slicing, dicing and chiffonading. I certainly think it’s worthwhile to have both a Western and Japenese knife in your collection.

Read more: The Difference Between Western and Japanese Knives

Riviera Seafood Club

There are the gifts we think people want and the gifts they definitely want. An absolutely beautiful piece of sushi-grade tuna belly is the latter for a foodie, I promise. If you’re looking to gift a really special piece of tuna belly, hamachi or yellowtail, I suggest this family-owned online seafood purveyor based out of Los Angeles. The Ito family procures some of the best high-end sushi-grade fish, along with more common catches like wild salmon, black cod, prawns and unagi. 

Riviera ships fresh or flash-frozen fish to all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and most of it is sashimi-grade, meaning you can slice and eat — no cooking necessary. It’s also very reasonably priced for the quality with an filet bluefin tuna starting at $25. 


I sprung for a nice pair of wooden chopsticks the last time I was in San Francisco’s excellent Chinatown and I’m glad I did. It’s much more pleasant than eating with those cheap takeout sticks. These lovely spalted maple chopsticks are handmade and so each is unique. Pair them with a jar of chili crisp and you’ve got a great gift goin’.


The cocktail shaker has been around for a long time but it’s been short on innovation. This elevated shaker from Huckberry is double-walled so your hands don’t freeze and has a no-stick lid so you’re not pounding it around the kitchen like a maniac to get into your drink. It’s also large enough to make four drinks at once.

It might just be the perfect shaker. 

Instant Pot

I’ve long been a fan of air fryers but just recently got my hands on Instant Pot’s Rapid Crisp lid, which turns one of the 6-quart multicookers into a powerful air fryer with one snap of the sturdy device. It has a bit less capacity than most air fryers, but it works exceptionally well and is a big space saver. Need some proof? Check out this air-fried chicken I made in 20 minutes with exactly no oil.

If they need the multicooker, too, you can get the shebang: an Instant Pot Duo Crisp with air fryer lid for $150. 


I had a fun time playing with Dreamfarm’s innovative cooking utensils earlier this year, most of which made me think, “Duh, why didn’t I think of that?” I especially loved the silicone serving spoon that twists into a ladle and rests on a hinge so it doesn’t need a spoon rest to keep from dirtying up the counter. I also dug the Chopula, a spatula with one sharp edge so you can chop things up that are already in the pan. 

Snag a fun and colorful set of five Dreamfarm kitchen utensils for $70. The foodie on your list will definitely thank you, and wonder why they didn’t think of these.

Fly by Jing

This is by far my biggest condiment obsession of late and I’m not the only one. Chili crisp is a crunchy, slightly spicy, sweet umami bomb that adds an incredible flavor dimension to blank-slate foods, including eggs, chicken, fish, veggies and lots more. 

Grab a few jars to hand out to anyone you know who likes to cook (or eat, for that matter). They’ll totally love you for it.

Made In

You may need different types of cookware depending on what you’re making and the results you’re after. For searing steaks, burgers, pork chops and other meats, it’s hard to beat carbon steel. For one, it holds heat well, getting and staying hotter than Hades, but it’s also lighter than cast iron, so you can maneuver it over the stovetop easily. Pair this sleek pan with a box of quality cuts of meat from one of our favorite online butchers.

Beast Health

A blender might seem like a lame wedding gift, but have a look at the Beast. Any kitchen warrior would be glad to unwrap this mighty machine, which looks like something Apple dreamed up. I’ve been using the Beast personal blender for the better part of a year. It’s simple, intuitive, solidly built and sturdy. Most importantly, it blends incredibly well. This is an elegant upgrade from the many NutriBullets and NutriNinjas that came before it.


The Vermicular cast-iron skillet is a wonder to behold and perhaps the best piece of cookware I discovered this year. The Japanese cookware company managed to create a skillet that holds heat just about as well as thick cast iron but weighs a fraction; a 10-inch pan is just 2.4 pounds. 

The skillet is also very nice to look at if not just a tad fussier to care for than the classic cast iron. It’s not a budget buy — $170 for the pan and another $45 for the striking lid — but it’s one of those kitchen splurges I believe is completely worth the money.


This is another gift for a foodie or home chef that’s about as foolproof as it gets. Every chef uses spices, but sometimes we’re limited by region or a meager selection at the grocery store. RawSpiceBar opens up a world of exciting spice blends for less than $12 per month, sending freshly ground global spice mixtures to your giftee’s home along with recipes ideas to try them with.

You can gift a one-, three-, six-, nine- or 12-month subscription or buy a gift card for the person on your list.


I am a big fan of the at-home pizza oven. Not just for pizza but for all sorts of meal-making when you don’t want to turn the oven on. You can cook burgers, fish, veggies and lots more in very little time since these ovens get up to 900 degrees. And with its sleek, modern design, the Ooni Koda would make a stylish, as well as delicious, addition to anyone’s backyard space.

Stella Falone

The only problem with this magnificent Stella Falone cutting board is the pangs of guilt you’ll feel when you first drop a sharp blade on the perfectly treated West African ebony. Fear not, it can withstand the wear and tear of daily cooking and still make a stunning vessel on which to serve your cheese and charcuterie. The gorgeous, dark boards are handmade from the same Cameroonian ebony wood used to make Taylor guitars. In the spirit of leaving the Earth better than they found it, founder Bob Taylor and his team have planted over 15,000 ebony trees in West Africa since 2016. That’s many more than they’ve used to make guitars and cutting boards. 

The reversible board comes in two sizes, at $129 for the small and $199 for the large. Both are sold directly through the Stella Falone website, which offers two-day shipping for just $25.

John Boos & Co.

If you’re looking for something at a more wallet-friendly price, you can’t really go wrong with a Boos. This 16×11-inch maple block is light enough to fling around the kitchen, but maple will last a while if you care for it properly. This is perhaps more of a workhorse than a showpiece, but any home chef will appreciate it for many chops to come.

Jean Dubost Laguiole

This is a very nice gift for a serial dinner party host. You’d be surprised at how many home cooks go without a proper carving knife. 


Sous vide is nothing new, but the sleek Breville takes the technique to another level. Not only is cooking gourmet food with this setup faster and more efficient than with similar gadgets, but it’s also half the size of the typical setup. It’s a must-buy for the home chef with limited space.

Fulton Fish Market

Unless you live close to the docks, the easiest way to get quality seafood may be via one of these great online fish purveyors. Fulton Fish Market has one of the best selections anywhere — web or otherwise — with loads of wild salmon, trout, scallops, shellfish, caviar and more for unique edible gifts a food lover will enjoy. Snatch a bundle and have this unique gift delivered directly to your giftee’s home. They’ll certainly appreciate making one less trip to the market.

Catch the best seafood delivery services of 2022.


Vermont Wagyu

I had the pleasure of sampling Vermont Wagyu’s incredibly rich cuts this year. It’s hard to go back to grocery store beef after you’ve had the good stuff, but it’s still totally worth treating a carnivore you love to this premium meat-eating experience at least once.

If the ribeyes are out of your price range, grab three Wagyu burgers for $16 or a sirloin for $31.

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