Want to bring one of the hottest trends among professional chefs into your kitchen? Sous vide, the process of cooking vacuum-sealed ingredients—usually meat or seafood—in a circulating water bath, is finally possible for home cooks. British chef Heston Blumenthal helped develop the SousVide Supreme machine ($449), which yields meat and fish that retain more flavor and texture and are cooked evenly throughout—picture a medium-rare steak that’s blood-red from edge to edge, not just in the center. Throw in a vacuum sealer (starting around $40) and famed chef Thomas Keller’s Under Pressure cookbook ($45), and you’ve got a cutting-edge gift for the die-hard foodie.
For the cook who seemingly has every kitchen gadget out there, 2941 chef Bertrand Chemel recommends a chitarra, a pasta cutter that makes fettuccine and angel hair. “It’s a very old traditional Italian tool that no one is using,” Chemel says. “You used to have to travel to Italy to get one, but now you can find one online.” Sur la Table’s (locations in Friendship Heights, Tysons Corner, and Pentagon City) version ($40) is handmade in Abruzzo, Italy.
Cupcakes to Go
Show up to a holiday party bearing the decade’s hottest dessert—cupcakes—and you’ll surely draw a happy crowd. They’re easily transportable in colorful cupcake carriers ($29.95 at Amazon, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Bloomingdale’s), and with a dozen Christmas-decorated confections from Georgetown Cupcake (1209 Potomac St., NW, 202-333-8448; 4834 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda, 301-907-8900) you’ll also give the gift of not having to wait in an hourlong line. We’re also fans of the cupcakes at Baked & Wired and Buzz.