There’s no place like home for the holidays. Unless of course you’re a chef, in which case you usually spend all the major national holidays like Easter, Mother’s Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve in the restaurant, away from your own family, and serving someone else’s. After preparing all those meals and manipulating your menu to accommodate discriminating and demanding diners’ special requests, we thought it was about time someone took care of your needs and fed your desires. We asked chefs around town what would make the perfect gift for themselves, no holds barred, and the list is in! You’ve told us what you’re wishing for this holiday season, and it ranges from fast cars and personal assistants, to grand tours of foreign lands (strictly research based of course) and stocking the kitchen with the latest and greatest cooking equipment, aka toys! Some suggested their staff reap the rewards of the holiday while quite a number of you are equally inclined to give more than you get; trying to make the world a better place for those less fortunate.
So now that we’ve gathered this list, we’re checking it twice (though we really don’t care if you’ve been naughty or nice) and then we’re sending it on to the big, jolly fellow in the non-flame retardant red suit in hopes that he’ll grant some of your wishes for the season.
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Scotese (Mai House)
Would like: Very nice knives, specifically Nenohi Nenox Red Handle knives. These are my favorite knives. If $30,000 is the limit then I might expand my answer to be “Nehoni Nenox knives for the whole kitchen staff!”
Would like: Koch vacuum package machine for sous vide cooking and an Electrolux power under pressure braising pan “it cooks 200# rice in 8 minutes”, and a Roner’s water circulating machine “it cooks at temps of 50 degrees to 212 degrees.”
Daniel Boulud (Daniel)
Would like: This year’s holiday wish is to top last year’s goal of raising $1,000,000 for Citymeals-on-Wheels and raise at least $1,500,000. And I’d like to get even more NYC chefs involved in Citymeals’ efforts to deliver food to NYC’s homebound elderly.
(David Burke & Donatella)
Would like: I’ve always wanted an “of the month club” gift. Sausage of the month, beer of the month, anything! Just as long as it comes once a month.
(Room 4 Dessert)
Would like: Time with my wife and daughter, a small mixer, and an ultrasonic homogenizer.
Alexandra Guarnaschelli (Butter)
Would like: A refrigerated butchering room, an immersion circulator to make the perfect poached egg, a personal assistant, and a massage.
Thomas Keller (per se)
Would like: To get a kitchen refrigeration unit that never breaks down. I would also give a kitchen refrigeration unit that never breaks down.
Tyson Wong Ophaso (Chinatown Brasserie)
Would like: A new pair of Bathing Ape kicks - “this would be my 50th pair, they are so comfortable to cook in!”
Michael Psilakis (Onera and
Would like: A plane ticket to the Greek Islands so I can do some research, eating my way through the regions. Included with that gift should be a clone of myself that could hold down the kitchen while I am gone.
Eric Ripert (Le Bernardin)
Would like: A new kitchen for my home in the Hamptons. I recently decided to give it a complete make-over. I’ve been looking around at all the options for appliances but now I have my eye on the Electrolux Icon Designer line.
Would like: All I want for Christmas is a cook who is never sick, who never injures themselves, who never shows up hung-over or tired, who never blames the subway or alarm clock or a roommate for their woes, a person who owns their own knives and cooking gear and can use them with even modest skill, one who can season food without trepidation and make food sing to the guests in the dining room. Give me that, some good dishwashers, new doors for my Jade range, a Koch vacuum machine and a good bottle of Scotch and I’ll be happy!
Adam Shepard (Lunetta)
Would like: For Christmas I would like a nice new Dynamic stick blender and a new robot coupe. I would also like to give my cooks raises and a bonus!
Angelo Sosa (Loft)
Would like: My dream list includes a number of still to be invented/produced products: A spice distiller to extract the essence of spice (from Merck); a custom-made Bonnet induction wok with copper induction pots; a smoker, made specifically for spice-smoking, ideally custom-made by Rational.
Laurent Tourondel (BLT)
Would like: A 1967 Corvette, a small dry aging room in my house in the Hamptons, an extravagant trip to China and India, and the biggest luxury of all - the time to do it all.
Francine Cohen is a freelance writer who lives in New York City.