Bar none, the most important tool in the kitchen is an eight-inch knife. But the chef in your life — the guy who makes tomato sauce from scratch and calls dibs on Thanksgiving duty — already has one. And he’s quite fond of it.

Cooking is personal, which makes the kitchen section a minefield for gift buying. For example, you’d be wiser not to get involved in matters concerning his special blade. But if you’re looking to gift the chef something else for the kitchen — something that’s special, but not something he’d rather buy for himself — consider what he doesn’t yet know he needs: a smart smoke alarm, a leather oven mitt, a grocery-shopping helper, and more.

Billy Reid Knife Case

chef-xmas-gear-patrol-billyreid Based in Florence, Alabama, high-fashion designer Billy Reid is a well-known exponent of the American South; as proof, he is a patron of the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization that celebrates the diverse food cultures of the region. His label’s knife case is a handsome nod to the culinary arts — made in the USA and constructed of heavyweight duck canvas with black leather accents. Each encases eight knives in leather-and-fabric holders for safe, secure transit.

Williams-Sonoma Middleton Brew-Shucker Oyster Knife

chef-xmas-gear-patrol-oysteknife The ergonomically designed “Brew-Shucker” from Williams-Sonoma is a tool in the strictest sense of the word. Its function? To open stuff at the table, namely shellfish — oysters, lobster, crab, langostinas anyone? — and beer. What’s more, its stainless steel blade resists corrosion, meaning its lucky recipient will be treating themselves (and you) for many indulgent days to come.

PK Grill and Smoker

chef-xmas-gear-patrol-smoker The trusty, versatile, highly portable PK Grill and Smoker is a classic among classics. First debuted in the early 1950s, the brand name got its reboot in 1998, when an attorney-turned-grill-enthusiast from Little Rock, Arkansas, uncovered a vintage PK Grill at a yard sale and bought the rights to the name, then went on to produce nearly identical, thick cast charcoal grills in the original castings. Each one, made by hand in the USA, is cast in aluminum, which not only efficiently conducts heat, but also naturally resists rust.

The Gear Patrol Magazine

Magazine-Designer-12-Guys-of-Christmas-Gear-Patrol The best gift is something that the recipient wants but wouldn’t buy for himself. A basket of pears? No thanks. A trip around the world? Now you’re on to something. While we won’t be bankrolling a trip, we can get you close with Issue #1 of the Gear Patrol magazine, a journey from Wyoming to Chile to Norway (and more), plus product guides and an interview with mountaineer Conrad Anker. Seriously, put down that fruit basket.

Eva Solo 2-Liter Gravity Pot

chef-xmas-gear-patrol-pot The Danes know a thing or two about good design. That includes Eva Solo, a brand name with history dating back to the early 1900s. The company’s core tenets of aesthetics, functionality and quality still dictate the current catalogue; take the newly released Gravity Pot, with its standing lid that features both an integrated colander and built-in steam vent. Available in a variety of sizes, the unobtrusive two-liter option is a gentle suggestion that its recipient could stand to improve their collection of pots and pans.

West Elm Olive Wood Cutting Board

chef-xmas-gear-patrol-cuttingboard Straddling the divide between rustic and sophisticated, these kitchen boards from West Elm are cut from olive wood, a durable and highly expressive wood grain that’s attractive enough to double as a serving plate for cheeses and charcuterie. Because each piece is cut from natural wood, variations result in nuanced boards that are wholly unique.

Baking Steel Griddle

chef-xmas-gear-patrol-bakingtray “Heavy duty” might be an understatement in reference to the 25-pound, double-sided Baking Steel Griddle, which can be used to cook just about anything. One side features the brand’s propriety Baking Steel, a thick slab of metals that the brand claims is unparalleled in the oven when it comes to cooking fast and even at lower temperatures — particularly for pizzas, which inspired its invention. The griddle side, with ridges to catch runoff grease and oil, is meant for the stovetop and can be used on anything from gas burners to electric stovetops to grills. Oh, the possibilities.

Thermoworks Thermopop Thermometer

chef-xmas-gear-patrol-thermo Kitchen thermometers are especially handy for beginners learning how to cook different kinds of protein structures. The Thermopop, from Thermoworks, is a pared-down, entry-level option that does everything you need, and then some. The display can be rotated by 90-degree increments, meaning that there’s no bad angle when trying to take a temperature reading. The inside of a hot oven is no place to flex fancy.

Mazama Wares Pint Glass

chef-xmas-gear-patrol-mazama Hand blown in Portland, Oregon, these 20-ounce imperial pint glasses come from Mazama Wares, the same company known for its design-forward coffee mugs. Though the glasses most closely resemble the traditional pilsner variety, which is tapered to retain the head of the beer, they can be used with any style of beer or cider. Available in three neutral colors: “Clear Honey,” “Clear Aqua” or “Smoke” (pictured).

Faribault Woolen Mill Co. × Gear Patrol Cabin Blanket

chef-xmas-gear-patrol-gpblanket We’ve teamed up with Faribault Woolen Mill to create a premium medium-weight merino wool blanket with a pattern exclusive for Gear Patrol and, naturally, a light touch of our signature orange. It’s perfect as a bedspread for the cabin or as a spare blanket in the trunk of your car.

Roost Smart Battery for Smoke Alarms

chef-xmas-gear-patrol-roost The Roost Smart Battery may just be the easiest way to upgrade one’s smoke alarm to a smart device, replacing your average 9V battery with a device synced to a network of smartphones. It notifies users when the alarm sounds, no matter their location, and news flashes can quickly be shared among an intimate circle of friends and family. False alarm? Just tap the snooze button.

Breville Fast Slow Pro Cooker

chef-xmas-gear-patrol-breville When it was introduced several years ago, Breville’s six-quart Fast Slow Cooker was championed by home cooks for its versatility: it could pressure cook meat or legumes, slow cook a hearty stew for hours at a time and sauté or steam vegetables in an integrated cooking bowl. Now, the followup pro version takes the remaining guesswork out, using sensors to monitor ingredients and adjust time, temperature and pressure during fast and slow cooking. Plus, an LCD screen tells you exactly what’s happening inside this all-in-one appliance. Home cooked meals have, quite literally, never been easier.

Hiku

chef-xmas-gear-patrol-hiku Hiku, founded in 2012, was created to make grocery shopping a little smarter. Connected to an app on smartphones, the Hiku pod scans barcodes and uses voice recognition to create shopping lists, which can be shared across multiple devices; said lists can then be arranged according to your local store aisles, encouraging effective shopping with minimal collateral damage — which is best for those with a tendency toward the chip aisle.

Allied Maker × Gear Patrol Tilt Mini Lamp

Allied-Maker-Lamp-Designer-12-Guys-of-Christmas-Gear-Patrol Long Island-based Allied Maker is committed to intelligently designed lighting, crafted by hand. For the launch of our store, founder Ryden Rizzo built an exclusive new lamp for Gear Patrol, made of brass and walnut, that rethinks what a small lamp can be.

Leather Oven Mitt and Pot Holder

chef-xmas-gear-patrol-leather This set of leather kitchen accessories — available at the MoMa store, which celebrates thoughtful design — is a step up from the usual cotton mitts seen hanging in the average kitchens. Like all leather accessories — a wallet, a watch strap, all-weather boots — these mitts, crafted from high-quality calfskin, will only look better with age; a little wear and a few irregular burn marks will simply dress them up.

Snowe

chef-xmas-gear-patrol-snow Following in the footsteps of modern business success stories like Casper, Everlane and Warby Parker, Snowe is a new home goods brand that cuts out the middleman in an effort to lower the cost on luxury products and make the shopping process a hell of a lot easier. The brand’s 16-piece dinner set — made from Limoges porcelain (a hard-paste porcelain imported from France, then kilned at 1,400 degrees Celsius) — runs for $240, while similar competition from JL Coquet costs as much as $140 for a single plate. As such, we’ve inducted Snowe Home into our annual GP100.


The Splurge

It’s always worth asking, right?

chef-xmas-gear-patrol-splurge
La Marzocco Linea Mini: La Marzocco is the most trusted name in espresso for good reason: no other brand comes as close to perfection, every time. Though exclusively referred to as a commercial-grade brand, with a machine found in nearly every premier coffee shop in the world, La Marzocco is making moves for a home near you with the Linea Mini, a compact version of the Linea Classic. Available in four colorways — red, black, white and stainless — each machine plays host to the familiar bells and whistles: a pre-infusion brew paddle, a hefty steam boiler, a swift temperature wheel adjustment and LED lights above the drip tray.

Further Reading

More guides and gear to fill out your list

5 Pantry Essentials, As Told by the Pros

chef-xmas-gear-patrol-ingredients

Five of the world’s best chefs and industry pros share the pantry essentials they just couldn’t cook without.

25 Essential Cookbooks for the Home Kitchen

chef-xmas-gear-patrol-cookbook

Required reading for every budding cook, here are the cookbooks that help build a foundation of skills in the home kitchen.