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What gift to get for a friend starting culinary school? (Non-knife related)

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crizq0

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I'm just a home cook, so i'm not sure what is an essential tool a chef or culinary student would need.

Would like to get something non-knife related. So what's something that you can't live without and probably wished you had gotten it earlier in your cooking career?

Specific cookbook? Special spoon? Thermometer? Cooking tweezers? Sharpening stones?
 

clayton

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A nice slotted flexible "fish" spatula with a thin edge. Like Lamson sharp or Wusthof.

Looks like this:

 

Deckhand

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A nice slotted flexible "fish" spatula with a thin edge. Like Lamson sharp or Wusthof.

Looks like this:

Thought the same thing Gray Kunz has the Sveico one. Amazon sells it.
 

slowtyper

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thermapen (though I'm not sure if instructors may not like this being used all the time), maybe a set of microplanes, gray kunz spoons
 

ajhuff

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I guess it depends on the school to some degree. Based on my experience the last 4 years:

Thermopen thermometer. Not the fold out kind (though those are awesome) but one you can wear in your sleeve.

Extra hats and aprons (seriously).

A good vegetable peeler.

That's about all I can think of. Maybe a backpack.

-AJ
 

Chifunda

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To me a great gift is something I'd like to have but probably wouldn't buy for myself. A set of Gray Kunz spoons fits that description.
 

SpikeC

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They have holsters for the folding thermapens, you know!
 

Deckhand

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To me a great gift is something I'd like to have but probably wouldn't buy for myself. A set of Gray Kunz spoons fits that description.
The large. I have both, but the large are the way to go. The small I could use in a giveaway and wouldn't miss them. Just bought them to meet the minimum order requirement.
 

slowtyper

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Would also be cool to buy them gift certificates or just take them out to a few fine dining restaurants to check out the food and the whole process. Maybe find some good ones with an open kitchen and they would probably appreciate that.
 

ajhuff

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Would also be cool to buy them gift certificates or just take them out to a few fine dining restaurants to check out the food and the whole process. Maybe find some good ones with an open kitchen and they would probably appreciate that.
That's a good one. Must of my classmates had never eaten a damned thing of note. Aggravating.

-AJ
 

slowtyper

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Bonus points if you can find a chef table or find a chef willing to come out and chat for a bit. You could post the request on a chowhound type forum in your area to find out what chefs might be willing to do so.
 

Duckfat

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In the list of book selections You might consider the set of Thomas Keller books (Bouchon/The French Laundry), Alinia, Morimoto or a Larousse Gastronomique. In the tool department a micro plane.
A gift certificate to Korin.
 

quantumcloud509

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Thermopen thermometer. Not the fold out kind (though those are awesome) but one you can wear in your sleeve.

A good vegetable peeler.


-AJ
I think most people who go to Thermapen go for the fold out ones due to the 3 second response instead of the 6 second response of the pocket ones. I'd agree with a good veg peeler. Kuhn Rikon is where it's at if you ask me. I'd HIGHLY recommend the Ratio book : http://www.amazon.com/dp/1416566112/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
 
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Deckhand

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MadMel

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Ratio, Larousse, Flavour Bible, Culinary Artistry for the book section
Wouldn't do anything tool-wise, just get him a voucher for a cooks shop.
Extra Aprons and Hats
A copy of Dave's knife sharpening DVD. Trust me, generally most culinary instructors do not know how to properly sharpen their knives.

BTW, this were the things I wished I got when I just started culinary school. Almost into my second sem now..
 

Dusty

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A book in which to write down recipes. Perhaps moleskin or something like that.
 

ajhuff

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mhlee

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I'd go with a sharpening set. I've never been a professional cook, but the professional kitchens that I've walked through have knives that are often in terrible shape.

In a previous life, I worked in a retail seafood. From what I've seen, most cooking schools teach horrible fish prep and cutting techniques. Fish tweezers are essential for fish prep. I like these that Jon carries: http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/other-items/fish-tweezers/fish-tweezers-round-non-slip.html#

I would also recommend a Benriner (large). It's kind of a cheat for prep, but for large amounts of prep, it's invaluable.

I second the recommendations for fish spatulas, microplanes, thermometers; for books, I also second the French Laundry cookbook recommendation. That book really gets you to think about flavors, processes, and techniques.

But of all the things recommended, I do think the best would be to take them to a very good restaurant and sit at the chef's table so they can see how a kitchen works. I'm still fascinated by it today, and it's probably one reason why I love cooking. I also think a real sushi bar, where you can see prep, whole fish broken down, and ask lots of questions of the chef, is also a great learning experience.
 

Deckhand

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Since I didn't see it previously mentioned on this thread. On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee is a good book choice as well.
 

Eamon Burke

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Gray Kunz spoon.
Thermapen.
Idahone rod.
Good tongs.
Fish spat.
Oven Mitts.
Chef coats.
Discreet headphones.
Lifetime warranty shoes.
Gold Bond(the yellow bottle, the blue one will make you SUFFER).
Victorinox Sportsman
A yoga dvd.
On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee.
 

ajhuff

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I'm starting to worry about my educational experience! I never used half of this stuff in school. What are fish spats? When do you use that fancy spatula as opposed to a regular grill spatula?

-AJ
 

mhlee

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Fish spatulas are really nice for all purpose use, but they're especiall good for delicate items, like fish, because the tip of the spatula is angled/beveled, almost like a single bevel knife, so that that the edge is thinner. I personally like stiffer fish spatulas because I feel they give better control when turning.

Unfortunately, they're usually not very long, so they're not the best for using on a high heat grill.
 

Crothcipt

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I always give "The Soul of a Chef". It goes through many different areas of the profession. From following a group of chefs trying their black hats. Micheal Symon and his restaurant before he became a Iron Chef. Following around Thomas Keller for a week at his restaurant for a week, before he put out a cook book.
 

ThEoRy

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Lol no. But for realsies, these things changed my life. Honest.
 

Eamon Burke

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That's how I feel about Gold Bond.

So much of being a successful pro cook is about stretching your back and cooling your taint.
 
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