The Sharp List: 12 Food Gifts for the Aspiring Chef (or Killer Host) in Your Life

A year of especially daring home cooking (including some embarrassing sourdough fails) has given us deep new appreciation for chefs — and dishwashers.

Portable table lamp by Michael Anastassiades

A table lamp that adds fine-dining panache to any place setting. Other than its menu, the most important element of a restaurant is its mood lighting. Which means that even if you’re ordering takeout from the best place in town, your at-home dining ambiance might leave a little to be desired. Enter this portable table lamp by Italian designer Michael Anastassiades. Originally devised for the place settings at the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York, it delivers a soft glow that instantly recreates the swish atmosphere of an elegant night on the town. The light’s tubular transparent glass base is available in flat or fluted finishes, with a cap in your choice of brass, copper, or stainless steel. From $695

10″ cast iron pan by Matheson Cookware

A stovetop staple that gets the pro chef stamp of approval. Matty Matheson collaborated with Toronto’s Castor Design to devise a pan with a lipped edge that collects sauces for easier basting. $200 USD

Picnic basket by Prada


Streamline the process of packing for an outdoor feast with this dapper backpack, which comes complete with cutlery, napkins, and dishware. We promise your date will be impressed. $2,700 USD

Service Prunier by Cassina × Ginori 1735

In 1961, London’s Prunier restaurant commissioned custom plates from architect Le Corbusier. His playful design, featuring an abstract graphic of intertwined hands, is now available to elevate your at-home cooking as well. $155 USD per pair

Frank Lloyd Wright serving board by Epicurean

Etched with a pattern inspired by the signature Prairie style of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, this ultra-durable platter invites geometric arrangements of charcuterie and crudités. $110

Glenmorangie A Tale of Cake whisky

The holidays are a time for second desserts. Hence this limited-edition whisky finished in dessert wine casks, which translates all the sweet, honeyed glory of a slice of cake into liquid form. $120

Swiss Modern knife block by Victorinox 

Cool knives have a way of inspiring greater confidence in every home cook. This geometric beech wood block holds five Swiss-made knives, plus a carving fork perfect for holding your holiday roast in place. $460

Hippie t-shirt by Joe Beef

Online restaurant merch outlet Brunette enlisted Dan Climan of Montreal tattoo shop Bait & Schlang to design an exclusive tribute to Joe Beef. The result: perfectly groovy weekend wear. $35

Into the Wild: Great Grill Gifts

Hunter Chef Cookbook by Chef Michael Hunter

Between the grocery store lineups and the fact that, once you got inside, it was probably only to discover that chicken thighs were sold out, it wasn’t our favourite year to be making trips to the supermarket. Which makes the alternative proposed in Hunter Chef — a new cookbook dedicated to ingredients that you can find or hunt in the wilderness — all the more compelling. Authored by Toronto chef Michael Hunter and photographed by his Antler Kitchen & Bar co-owner Jody Shapiro, the book collects expert intel on living off the land ——– from butchering small game to identifying non-poisonous mushrooms. If shopping for anyone who refers to their cottage as a “cabin in the woods”, look for further. $40

PK360 by PK Grills

Smoke it low and slow. $800 USD

Javelin Pro Duo thermometer by Lavatools

Master ultra-rare sears. $55 USD

Spice rub by Joe Beef

Introduce that secret ingredient. $10