How Chefs Stuff Their Christmas Stockings (Slideshow)

Give fun food gifts chefs would give this holiday

Babushka Measuring Cups

"On my holiday wish list is this set of Babushka measuring cups that I think are so cool. Babushka dolls are iconic and cute, and these measuring cups are a fun reinterpretation of a classic toy many of us had as kids. These cups are a fun way to play with your food."

 — Daniel Holzman

Pepper Mills

"A lovely Japanese woman at my local farmers' market sells simple, earth-toned linen aprons so I will be giving those to all my friends for the holiday. I am also very keen on freshly ground pepper so I like to give pepper mills (designed by my husband). I also make two or three dozen Christmas Stollen each year to give to friends and take to holiday parties."

Mary Sue Milliken

The Durand

"My gift recommendation is 'The Durand'. It is a wine key that combines an ah-so and a screw-pull in one device. I have had 100 percent success with it on old and stubborn corks. It is perfect for opening holiday fine and rare bottles."

Aviram Turgeman

François Payard's Salted Caramels


"I'm not a real sweets person but François Payard's salted caramels are incredible. Just the right balance between sweet and salty and so, so smooth. I only eat them around the holidays and like giving them as gifts so others can enjoy them, too!"

Laurent Tourondel 

Baking Gifts

"Not surprisingly, I like to give friends gifts that have to do with baking. Three of my favorite stocking stuffers are OXO silicone spatulas, OXO cookie scoops, and Vanilla Bean Crush Extract from Sonoma Syrup Co. The extract is made from Madagascar and Tahitian vanilla beans and includes some of the pulp, so you get big flavor, wonderful aroma, and the beautiful speckle of the bean's seeds."

Dorie Greenspan

Ice Molds

"One of the most asked questions in the restaurant is how to have ice (like our blocks) at home, so I recommend silicone or rubber ice cube molds as good stocking stuffers."

Michael Voltaggio

White Truffles


"I like to gift friends with a huge white truffle. Also, depending on the level of cook/chef, I like to give a very good high-quality knife and the means to sharpen it or something to diversify their toolbox such as a knife for sushi or slicing fish." 

Kerry Heffernan


"I definitely will be giving out a lot of my new cookbook Classico E Moderno out this season, even if it's just so I have a great response when friends and relatives need recipe tips! I will just say, look in the book! Frozen handmade pasta is also a great stocking stuffer, especially when packaged with a ripe white truffle for added bonus."

Michael White

Fun Totes

"I ordered a bunch of totes from Brooklyn Roasting Co. — they're in DUMBO, where I mostly live, and I love the owners. I'll fill them with foodstuff from my last eight months in Italy. Olive oil from Castelfalfi; beautiful cutlery from Scarperia, an ancient knifing town near Florence; and even some supermarket pasta from across the street in Rome. I'm also planning to smuggle a cannoli from Ciuri Ciuri for my mom (to be gifted immediately), and a nutcracker I found in the park. Wish me luck with all of the above at the airport! Incidentally — and shameless plug — I'm told Nigella Lawson gave away my book as her stocking stuffers last year!"

Alyssa Shelasky

Gifts From the Heart

"The best gift is a donation to City Harvest. It’s really shameful that so many people are going hungry in New York City, and this is literally the easiest thing anyone can do to help change that. Also, while no one actually wants to get a donation made in their name for a present (what do you unwrap?), what recipient is so heartless they’ll admit they’re disappointed?

There are so few food magazines out there, why not lend the latest one your support and give a subscription to Cherry Bombe? Also, one of the best things about giving gift cards is that it gives the recipient an excuse to get out of the house and go somewhere. Get classy and treat them to Dovetail’s Monday night vegetable menu.

Lastly, the cookbook I use most often is The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. Probably not for beginners, but if you’ve got a friend who is a home cook, they’ll love you for it. "\

Amanda Cohen

Extendable Fork

"The extendable fork! This is a gag gift — it is a fork with an extendable handle so you can sneak the last piece of duck off your guest's plate when they are not looking! Underberg liquor, a can of peanut brittle — the perfect size and sweetness for this holiday season — and/or personalized tie clips."

David Burke

Vintage Cards & More

"Here are a few suggestions for unique gift ideas: Cool Culinaria Vintage Menu Poster Cards; wild, organic garden seeds, and tomato T-shirts."

Ruth Reichl

Chartreuse Elixir

"For the perfect 'adults-only' stocking stuffer, I'd recommend Chartreuse elixir. Not only is it festive and green, but also it's one of the most fascinating spirits out there, an ancient French liqueur that's actually made from 130 herbs, plants, and flowers."

Ken Oringer            


Cocktail Carmel Corns

"For stocking stuffers this year, we have our 'cocktail caramel corns,' which are basically snackable versions of our favorite tipples. Our permanent flavors are Dark & Stormy (made with Gosling's Black Seal rum, fresh ginger, and fresh lime zest), and Green Chile Margarita (made with real Hatch green chile from New Mexico, 100 percent agave tequila, and fresh lime zest). We've also got a new seasonal special flavor, Hot Toddy, which is made with Maker's Mark bourbon, fresh lemon zest, cinnamon, and local honey, I love them all and would probably be inclined to give a bag of each to all my friends, but if I had to pick one I think it would be the Hot Toddy — it's always been my favorite winter warmer and it's just addictive in caramel corn form!"

Allison Kave

Suede Pot Holders

"I love the Food Lover's Companion, by Sharon Tyler Herbst. It's an indispensable reference guide for anyone who is a food nerd or a food writer. And I love suede pot holders. They give a great grip and provide more control than oven mitts. Dean and Deluca used to make them, but you can still find them on Amazon and in kitchen stores."

Frances Largeman-Roth

Custom Ice Cream

"One of my favorite holiday gifts for foodies is custom-made ice cream from eCreamery. You can pick everything from the base to the mix-ins (like gingerbread or peppermint) and even name it after the gift receiver, creating the ice cream of their dreams!"

Danyelle Freeman

Cool Condiments


"Although this is a time-sensitive gift and won't work over the typical Christmas fire, I think cheese and charcuterie is a gift everyone loves. To fill the stocking stuffer to the brim I would add some of my special condiments like mango mustard, tamarind chipotle, or honey bourbon relish. For the left-brained side of my family, I would give a digital thermometer to make sure the ham is cooked just so or a SodaStream for homemade seltzer. And because I am a dog owner to a cuddly pit bull, and many of my family members are as well, I would also include organic dog treats."

Andre Dudkiewicz

Homemade Treats


"Each year I make a big batch of my maple-glazed walnuts (basically walnut halves toasted in a pan with pure maple syrup and a little salt until coated.) They are sweet, indulgent, and just right for the season, but healthy, too. Packed in little mason jars and wrapped in ribbon, they are the perfect holiday goody."

Ellie Krieger

Fun Gadgets

"Trapani sea salt — my favorite sea salt from Trapani, Sicily — it has a bright, clean, pure, sea salt flavor which is perfect for finishing both sweet and savory dishes. Also, the Smoking Gun from Poly Science — this is one of my favorite gadgets ever!  This fun little tool allows anyone to easily smoke any meat, fruit, or vegetable without adding heat. It's great for the obvious like adding true smoked flavor to oven-baked BBQ ribs but also great for the not so obvious like adding smoke flavor to marshmallows for indoor s'mores that really remind you of camping."

Alina Eisenhauer

Kitchen Must-Haves


"My most favorite thing to give people is food-related gifts. Some of my go-tos are a rice cooker (with yummy rice), a Caesar salad bowl with all the ingredients and recipes, a SodaStream, a cheese-of-the-month club subscription, Takayuki knife/knife set (with a penny attached!), cookbooks, and gift certificates to some of my favorite restaurants."

Susan Feniger

Cute Aprons

"Hedley & Bennett apron, oyster knife, and homemade limoncello in a cute glass jar."

Melissa Nyffeler

Vietnamese Spring Rolls


"This year my gift to my friends is Vietnamese spring rolls I learned to make when I was 10 years old from a friend of my parents. This gentleman chef owned the only Vietnamese restaurant in Chamonix and he made the very best spring rolls… strange story but true! I make them at home, freeze them in bags, and give them to my friends with instructions for how to prepare the sauce and eat them with a little salad and mint. This year I made 200 spring rolls. People are very surprised when I tell them that this is what I learned when I was 10. Making and sharing them gives me a happy nostalgia for my past."

Marc Aumont

Kitchen Staples


"I’m not a baker but, once a year during the holidays, I love to bake and I love to make a panettone for my friends and family. This year I stumbled upon a lid magnet for when you’re preserving and canning. The magnet pulls the lids out of the water very easily. It’s extremely handy. I love to give little gnocchi boards as holiday gifts. Buy the good ones that are thicker and have the ridges on both sides. I think everyone should learn how to make gnocchi. Gnocchi boards are also great to use to make grooves on the outside of garganelli."  

Carmen Quagliata

MoJo Cookies

"MoJo cookies, baked fresh daily at my restaurant by my wife and step-daughter, are my gift of choice. With flavors like dark chocolate chip walnut and oatmeal raisin, these giant 6-ounce cookies are made from the finest ingredients including Callebaut Belgian Chocolate, King Arthur Flour, and local organic eggs, and come wrapped in festive packaging for the holidays!"

José Gutierrez

Flavored Salts and Sugars


"I love to give flavored salts and sugars to my friends as gifts. You can get as creative as you want."

Carla Hall

Click here for Carla's Orange Vanilla Scented Sugar.