Michael Anthony knows a thing or two about what chefs want for the holidays. He’s the executive chef and a partner at Gramercy Tavern, and last year he won a prestigious James Beard Award for “Best Chef in New York City.”
We caught up with Anthony on the heels of publishing his first book, “The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook.” With the upcoming holidays, he recommended six must-haves for the foodie in your life.
Often employing a farm-to-table cooking philosophy, Anthony believes in a simple kitchen: “A couple of pots, a sharp knife, a good mixer.”
His picks reflect the staples for any self-respecting food lover. You won’t find the “very expensive, very specific,” Thermomix on his wish list.
1. Middleton Made Steak Knives
“Quintin Middleton hand forges all his knives outside of Charleston, S.C.,” Anthony said. “His knives are gorgeous pieces of art. They’re balanced, sharp, made out of beautiful materials and have a point of view that adds to the experience of being at the table.”
“Most chefs hold their knives higher up the blade,” Anthony said, “so Quintin gives a place to hold the knife higher up. It fits like a good handshake.”
Price: $600 for a set of six
2. Besh Box
“The Besh Box is a small cooking kit with a curated list of ingredients,” Anthony said. “Each month you get really beautiful food to make things like apple pies.”
The item, from celebrity chef John Besh, has a limited edition Holidays from the Heart box for December featuring a recipe inspired by Besh’s new cookbook, “Cooking from the Heart.”
3. Benton’s Hickory Smoked Country Ham
“Allan Benton has been smoking hams in the style of his family for years and years,” Anthony said. “We’re used to thinking of country ham as prosciutto, but why would we only associate these really delicious food traditions with a foreign culture? I can’t think of a better way to spend an American holiday than with this smoky ham, as long as you enjoy eating meat.”
Price: $65 for a whole smoked ham
4. Norwich Meadows Community Supported Agriculture Box
“Gramercy Taverns partnered with Norwich Meadows for a CSA box,” Anthony said. “You pay a membership fee and in return you receive a weekly delivery during the harvest of what’s being produced by the farmer. It’s a great way to pay up front for a share of the harvest.”
Anthony also noted that this is a great gift for vegetarians since Norwich Meadows Farm deals in certified organically grown produce. The farm also lists recipes on its website.
5. Breville Immersion Blender
6. Le Creuset Roasting Pan
You want a high-sided roasting pan with a lid,” Anthony said. “I say large because a lot of people have some kind of small pot ware, but Le Creuset makes such a great cast iron, enamel lined roaster that lasts a lifetime. It’s traditional. If you’re going to have something to cook in for special occasions, this is the one.”
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