The Best Kitchen Gift Ideas, According to ICE Chefs

Our expert Chef-Instructors are decking the campus halls

We’re in the throes of the holiday season, and those celebrating Christmas are in crunch mode, doing last-minute shopping for family and friends. With so many kitchen gadgets at the ready, it’s hard to know what tool is best. We turned to our ICE Chef-Instructors for their ideas — here’s what they recommend gifting this holiday season. 

Think Small

A chef’s knife and a sauté pan are certainly worth their weight in gold, but don’t discount the smaller utensils that prove themselves to be just as useful and stand the test of time — like an infrared thermometer.

“It’s a must-have for tempering chocolate, but also super helpful for checking to see if your pizza stone or baking steel has preheated enough when you’re heating up your oven,” says Pastry & Baking Arts Chef-Instructor Kierin Baldwin, who has an Etekcity thermometer at home. “They’re workhorses.”

For home baking, Chef Kierin turns to Bundt cake testers from Nordic.

“The tip changes from black to red when the center of your cake is baked through!” (She also recommends rounding out the gift with a nonstick cast aluminum Bundt cake pan.) 

A turkey sits in a black Staub dutch oven on a wooden table

There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Cookware

A seasoned cook can always use another piece of equipment — specifically, a Dutch oven. Lead Chef and Operations Manager, Joshua Resnick, recommends a 4-quart pan.

“It’s not too big, perfect when you’re cooking a good-sized dinner for four-to-six people,” he says. “But you can also cook smaller dinners for two.”

Some cast iron and enamel pans are heat resistant for up to 500˚F, also making them a good option for bread baking, and, by proxy, a great gift for the baker in your life.


“A crucial and yet affordable piece of equipment for me is a silicon spatula,” says Culinary Arts Chef-Instructor Remy Forgues. “I use it for many things, like stirring, scraping and shaping. They also come in different sizes and colors, making it a fun gift.” 

With top brands including OXO and Gir, and types including rubber, offset and fish turners, there are several exceptional spatulas on the market these days for every type of cook. 

“You can never, ever have too many heatproof silicone spatulas,” adds Chef Kierin, who prefers all-silicone spatulas from Tovolo. “This set has everything including mini spatulas, which not enough people realize are super useful.” 

Get Weird

Look beyond your kitchen arsenal by way of unconventional gifts like food subscriptions (think hot sauce, tea, cheese or beer) or a set of fancy dish towels. For Chef Kierin, she turns to quirky tees or aprons with fun food-centric designs.

“Fun food-related clothing always makes me happy,” she says 

Go For a Spin

ICE’s Director of Nutrition, Celine Beitchman, says the gift that truly keeps on giving is the modest salad spinner, a “life changer” for her. 

“I have been using mine for so long I can’t rightly recall! I use it for salad spinning, keeping greens fresh in the fridge and for sprouting beans,” she says. “And on occasion, I’ve been known to use the outer plastic bowl upside down over a plate of tantalizing baked goods so they are out of reach but not out of sight.”

Chef Celine recommends any brand that has both good recognition and quality kitchenware. 

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