Buying a gift, holiday or otherwise, for a legit chef, semi-professional hostess, or serious foodie friend (you know, the sous vide cooking in a cooler on the counter type) can be intimidating to say the least. They basically have every kitchen tool they want and/or need, and even if they don’t already have it, chances are they desire a fancier brand than you are planning to purchase.

What is a dedicated gift giver to do? You know she or he will secretly roll their eyes at yet another set of cute coasters. Here is my personal 2016 Chef-y Wish List to use as a little shopping guide. Enjoy!

1. I think I have one fancy tablecloth, a wedding gift. It is lovely and I do use it for hosting Passover, and Christmas… but I wouldn’t wear the same outfit to host the same guests as last month, or even last year, so why should my table? Instead of a zillion tablecloths, I keep a box full of fabric. I haul out 4-yard, brightly-hued swaths of cloth (which I don’t even bother to hem) to cover my over-used, holdover-from-grad school dining table, and no one is the wiser. Marimekko and IKEA both offer heavyweight coated cotton by the yard, which holds up to the hard work of hosting. When I decide to retire the fabric, I hit the sewing machine and make pillow covers or cloth napkins to keep or give away. Spend a Lot. Spend a Little.

2. A gift certificate to Korin. Fine Japanese-made knives in both Japanese and Western styles. When we were dating, my now-husband gifted me a Korin chef knife for our first Christmas together. The rest, as they say, is history.

3. Imported Black Truffle Pate. Fold into pasta, use as a garnish for aligot, or sneak it by the spoonful. Drool!

4. Red wine from the Loire Valley. Even the not-so-great by French standards wine from this iconic region is still pretty darn great by my standards.

5. Immersion Blender with Whisk Attachment. Your cook friends probably already have one, but immersion blenders work hard in a hard-core kitchen and do need to be replaced every few years. Perfect for small jobs that don’t justify hauling out the stand mixer from the corner (like whisking egg whites before folding into waffle batter), or when the cook would like to avoid dirtying the food processor, like when the final product is going back into the cooking pot (butternut squash soup for instance).

6. The NoMad Cookbook. It is very unlikely I will cook any of the recipes, but I know from eating two of the top five meals of my life in Daniel Humm’s establishments that his recipes are sure to inspire and re-energize me whenever I feel my food passion waning.

7. This BUCKET of Maldon Sea Salt. The only salt I use to finish steaks, avocado toast, European butter, and heirloom tomato salad, in a BUCKET. Need I say more?

More Gifts for Cooks: