I love giving or receiving a gift that will elevate the Christmas table. A beautiful handmade jug to use for gravy or sauces is always a good idea. Jugs from Dublin-based Arran Street East are timeless. Or maybe look for something that is a bit quirky but can be used again and again, like Brookwood Pottery. Food tastes better from crockery that has a history and is gifted with love.
Anna Haugh is chef proprietor of Myrtle Restaurant in London and is currently in Ireland for her pop-up, Anna Haugh at Conrad.
The two things I love to give or get as presents are typical things a chef loves but they can also be cheap and cheerful. Firstly, a spice grinder or a coffee grinder. Using fresh ground spices can make a big difference in your cooking. I’m also always happy to get a good silicon spatula as a present. It’s a simple tool but so useful for baking, scraping and getting the last bit of sauce out of a pan.
Sham Hanifa is the chef-proprietor of The Cottage Restaurant, Co Leitrim
If your secret Santa loves cooking Mexican food, a tortilla oven or cosy is a super cute addition to any table and it means you can heat your tortillas in advance, keeping them warm for up to 45 minutes. A cast iron tortilla press is essential for anyone who wants to make tortillas from scratch and a Molcajete is a unique and forever item for any kitchen. It’s a traditional Mexican pestle and mortar, hand-chiselled from volcanic stone. Perfect for making salsas and pastes and for grinding spices.
Lily Rameriz-Foran is a cook, storyteller and food writer. Her first book, Tacos, is out now.
Bamboo steamers date back around 5,000 years in Chinese cooking, you can use them every day and they are super affordable. You can bet this is an incredible gift to be giving any home cook to explore. They come in lots of sizes and will fit on the saucepans you have and in any wok. For woks, you don’t have to complicate things by getting one that needs pre-seasoning, a good non-stick one will work great. I recommend Ken Hom woks, I can’t remember a time I didn’t have one at home. Hom has always been a hero of mine.
Kwanghi Chan is a TV chef and restaurateur kwanghi.com
If you or someone you know has an interest in baking, the first piece of equipment I always recommend is a digital kitchen weighing scales. You don’t have to spend a fortune on one as the majority are quite inexpensive these days. They’re my right hand in the bakery and the first thing I reach for on a daily basis (after my coffee, obviously!). A good scale will help you achieve consistent bakes every time. An electronic Salter Scale is perfect for beginners, for the pros push the boat out and get rechargeable kitchen scales.
Shane Smith is a pastry chef with his own Online Cookery School chefshanesmith.ie