Don’t waste another minute wandering aimlessly around the shops to find your impossible foodie friend the perfect holiday gift. Black Sheep Restaurants’ resident culinary experts will steer – or shepherd – you in the right direction.
Books are food for the brain! The Noma Guide To Fermentation by David Zilber and René Redzepi is a favourite of mine. What they are doing at Noma is amazing and this is a great book for anyone interested in fermentation.
Back in London, I worked at the contemporary Indian restaurant, The Cinnamon Club. The Cinnamon Club Cookbook is great for anyone interested in modern Indian cuisine blended with Western and European influences. I was involved in those books when I worked there and can confidently say they are quality pieces of work; nicely illustrated, helpful and well written. Perhaps I should write my own book and give that to my foodie friends!
–Palash Mitra, New Punjab Club
If I have a foodie friend that really enjoys cooking, I would get them a sous vide machine so they can try new dishes and recipes. Sous vide is a low-temperature cooking method which ensures the food is cooked to the same degree of doneness all the way through. A sous vide machine opens a world of options. They will be able to learn some ‘trade secrets’ and create restaurant-quality meals.
If my foodie friend really wants to learn, then the perfect book would be On Food and Cooking by Harold McGhee. It is a fascinating and comprehensive read all about food science which explains what is chemically happening inside the food during cooking. This is for the dedicated food lover.
-Billy Otis, Artemis & Apollo
Here are a couple of Christmas goodies that I would buy for my foodie friends (or that I would get for myself):
Nothing completes a chef like a good knife. The most beautiful, sharpest ones are usually Japanese. An 8-inch Gyutou knife from Korin will be sure to impress.
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat. Following the success of the Netflix show of the same name, this book is great for anyone, from the novice cook to the seasoned pro, looking to discover the fundamentals of what makes food taste great.
–Steven Nguyen, Chôm Chôm
It depends on how much you like your foodie friend. A safe bet would be a panettone, which is a traditional Italian Christmas cake dotted with dried fruits.
For a more practical kitchen gift, I would recommend a thick-bottomed cast iron pan, an ice-ball mould for whisky highballs, squeeze-and-level measuring spoons or a drip coffee maker. All of these can be found on Shanghai Street around Yau Ma Tei. It’s still my go-to place for local, professional chef gear.
–Tony Ferreira, Black Sheep Restaurants
I have never been one for giving ‘things’. I would prefer to give my foodie friend an experience and cook a nice meal for them instead. I can cook Lebanese, Chinese, French, Spanish or whatever they want, and Sri Lankan food, of course. It’s easy to go and buy something from a shop but I prefer to give something I have put a lot of love and care into, it is a much more personal gift. In our line of work, we spend hours upon hours in the kitchen so the last thing some chefs want to do is cook at home. For me though, cooking for my favourite people never feels like work.
-Gisela Alesbrook, Hotal Colombo