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These cooking essentials strike the perfect balance between practical and fun, and make interesting gifts!

Five Original Gifts for Chefs and Foodies

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With fresh fruit and vegetables available at every market, this is the time for foodies to jump into trying new dishes or quietly perfecting their old favorites. While families gather around tables everywhere in anticipation of new creations, chefs continue to experiment with gadgets and unique food ingredients. With the wide variety of kitchen tools available, there are plenty of gift ideas for your chef pals. These cooking essentials strike the perfect balance between practical and fun. 

Thai Sticky Rice Steamer

With its woven bamboo basket and hourglass-shaped metal body, a sexy little sticky rice steamer makes a pleasing addition to any kitchen. But it's more than just a nice decoration. Favored by professional Asian chefs, the right steamer is the only way to make perfect Thai-style sticky rice in the comfort of your kitchen. The perfect rice can be made into small balls and dipped in flavorful sauces or served with a main dish of vegetables, meat or fish.

Make sure to tell the recipient to soak the bamboo basket in water for about six hours before use. According to TempleofThai, this little trick will help reduce the bamboo flavor sometimes caused by new steamers. At only $17.99, you could charge it to your American Express card without breaking the bank.

Mamoul Cake Molds

Mamoul cake molds, originally made for Chinese Moon Festival cookies, are a rare and special kitchen tool. Today, these beautiful, hand-carved wooden molds are being replaced with plastic counterparts, so a wooden Mamoul mold makes an indulgent gift. With proper care, the mold could last for generations. The molds are available in a variety of shapes and designs and have a wide variety of uses. They will cost you around $5 a mold. Not bad for a one-of-a-kind gift!

Angled Cutting Board

Take the hassle out of chopping by giving an angled cutting board like the Encanal, available online at Amor De Madre. Two of the board's edges fold upward, creating a channel so that prepped vegetables or other ingredients can easily be poured into a pan or bowl. It's the perfect tool for stir-fry or fruit salad - just chop and pour. No more worries about picking up those pesky bits of food that spill over the side of a flat cutting board! These specialty cutting boards start around $20 but are worth the charge to the credit card.

A Multi-Use Knife

Serious chefs tend to accumulate many knives, since they need blades designed to serve many different purposes. Instead of adding to the clutter, why not give them one great knife that serves multiple cutting purposes - or even fills in for other kitchen tools. The Do It All Knife, designed by Caroline Noordjik, is a fanciful example of this idea. The aptly name gadget not only cuts, it also zests, grates, peels and scoops herbs.

Five Gifts for Chefs and Foodies

Don't get too excited, though: this knife isn't available commercially. At least, not yet. In the meantime, check out Cooking.com to see Rachael Ray's Orange Cook's Rocker Knife. Though the 8-inch blade won't zest your lemons, it does offer the convenience of two different blade styles in one knife — the shorter santoku style and the curved Mezzaluna. The knife also incorporates a blade that extends under the handle to reduce wrist strain when cutting. You can find it starting around $20 online.

Light Saber Chopsticks

Where would this list be without a whimsical gift for the younger foodies in your life? Inspire kids to empty their plates with the Star Wars inspired Chop Sabers, sold by Think Geek. Miniature version of the movie weapons, these colorful chopsticks make short work of rice, chicken and veggies. And they aren't just for kids — you can humor older Star Wars fans in your life and give them a gift they'll really get a kick out of. You can choose the chopsticks in green, red or blue and are $12.99.

 

Tammy Allan

Tammy is a professional chef, mom and personal nutritionist. She is always coming up with recipes for great-tasting, healthy dishes.

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