Dad’s Day is fast approaching! I’m sure you have a special Father in your life- whether he helped to create you, helped you create, or has simply chosen to be a part of your life; Dads can be amazing guys. Some Fathers are also amazing cooks! Cooking is obviously a male-dominated profession, so it’s no surprise that many men who aren’t professional cooks are fabulous in the kitchen, regardless.
Here’s my list of Top 10 Father’s Day Gifts that are perfect for the Chef you call “Dad”!
Of course, our Top 10 List must start with the most important tool in the kitchen (besides the cook)- a knife.
Every cook needs a trusty knife. Wüsthof and Henckels are the two most highly recommended knives for students going through culinary school. As a matter of fact, whereas most college bookstores sell textbooks and pens, mine sold knives and sharpening stones. Books were there, too; at exorbitant, insane prices, like every other bookstore. We just had knives to threaten the employees into giving us discounts.
A great knife becomes an extension of his arm. A dull knife will help him to remove extensions of his arms. A quality-made knife, like Wüsthof, Henckels, or Shun; will keep a sharp edge with proper care and maintenance. Never wash Dad’s knife in the dishwasher, don’t allow it to soak in water or allow water to sit on the blade for long periods of time. Always use a honing edge to refine the blade before and after each use, and these knives will last for a lifetime.
Head on over to my dealer’s place, also known as Sur La Table. They’re have a great offer on all Wüsthof knives. Sur La Table also offers sharpening of one knife per visit!
I have yet to meet a Father who doesn’t enjoy a nice hearty stew, or a spicy, saucy chili. “Le Creu” has the market cornered on dutch ovens. LC is unique in that each piece is cast from a unique mold which is destroyed after its use. So, like Dad, it’s truly one-of-a-kind.
These French-made dutch ovens can go from stovetop to oven (up to 500°F) in a single bound. Their craftsmanship and the painstaking method in which they’re created means they cook like a dream. They conduct and retain heat evenly and precisely, making them my go to brand for dutch ovens.
Since they are cast iron, these things are beasts. Thankfully, Dad is manly enough to lift them. Their extra wide handles mean Pop’s hands can grab them with ease- even while wearing oven mitts.
Guys like hot stuff. I’ll leave the puns to them (because they’ve already started flowing, I’m sure). To guys, nothing beats a great hot sauce, unless it’s a hot sauce they didn’t have to pay for.
Subscriptions to foodstuffs are the best because they give you a taste of unique products and brands you might otherwise have never tried. This subscription from Fuego Box includes a total of 12 small batch hot sauces for Dad to sample and create with. For four months, Dad will get a surprise shipment of spice. Truly, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Wings, burgers, tacos- you name it, Dad will go to town with his newfound ingredients. Best thing about it? His buddies will, most likely, have no clue where he acquired them. Talk about guy envy!
Take advantage of this 10% welcome discount code to order your Father’s Hot Sauce box from Food 52 when you sign up for their newsletter .
Not every Father has a huge, honkin’ grill parked out back. A lot of the guys that we know are what we call “Geographical Bachelors”. In short, they’re Soldiers who have (for one reason or another) decided to relocate to their duty station without their families. Some do opt to rent homes, but most rent out the cheapest apartments they can find to save money (you know, financing two households gets expensive). For those Dads, or for Dads who just prefer to grill occasionally, this grill pan from Staub is the perfect gift.
Staub is another well-loved brand amongst avid cooks. This grill pan is primo because you don’t have to season it and it’s ready to go right out of the box. Once again, the handles allow big hands to grab them without fussing or fumbling (something that is often overlooked when shopping for guys). It’s great on all forms of cooktops- including induction; and it’s also oven-safe up to 500°F. The pan is dishwasher safe, but I always recommend hand-washing any and all pans for longevity’s sake.
Halfway to our #10 gift! Nothing, to me, says “Dad” like whiskey.
Sure, I know some Fathers don’t drink, but a big, bold, strong libation like whiskey just reeks of manhood and testosterone.
Now, Dad can cook with his whiskey!
This Whisky Barrel Aged Fish Sauce is the perfect ingredient for his next Asian recipe. Haku ages it’s fish sauce for three years to create a mellow, almost smoky, refined finish. I’ve used this in everything from dipping sauces to kimchi. This sauce is perfect for the Dad who loves ethnic cuisine.
Check out these other gift ideas on Food 52, and be sure to use the 10% off code after signing up to purchase your bottle of Haku’s Whisky Barrel Aged Fish Sauce
#6: BBQ Grill Tool Set with a Case! (Fancy)
For those Fathers who take their grilling seriously, nothing beats a fancy-schmancy BBQ Grill Tool Set. This one is so fancy, it comes with its own case. Not a flimsy, wimpy case- a James Bond, 007-type case. I can just picture Dad strutting out to the grill with this bad boy gripped in one hand, and a cold one in the other.
I always recommend using stainless steel tools for all outdoor cooking. Cookouts are often long affairs and we tend to forget clean-up the more we imbibe. You won’t have to worry about rust with stainless steel tools like these. This set also comes with 10 year manufacturer warranty. That’s perfect for accident-prone Pops.
Now, my Soldier and I debated about whether to include this one in the list. According to him, it was too fancy a tool to include.
“I don’t even know what a sous vide is!”
“You’ve had sous vide steaks before,” I reminded him.
“That don’t mean I know what it is.”
He lost because he’s a First Sergeant, not a chef. I’m the master of food, not him. Also, because I know some home chefs who would love to own a sous vide. Guys, especially, are fond of tinkering- even in the kitchen.
This method of cooking foods (especially meats and poultry) in plastic pouches produces juicer, tastier dishes without the need for fancy equipment. Here’s a great video explaining the method. Using a sous vide is a great way to cook steaks prior to searing them on the grill. Since its inclusion in the Top 10 created a debate, I ranked it at #7.
#8: Food Dehydrator
This food dehydrator is my favorite bonus tool in the kitchen. Bonus tools are those that you can live without, but which make life a lot cooler when you have them to use.
For Fathers like my kids’ Dad who like to hunt or fish, this is the perfect way to preserve their catches. It also comes in handy for military spouses who like to send care packages of beef jerky to their Soldiers overseas . I’ve dehydrated everything from fruit and veggies, to venison and salmon (after a good disinfecting, of course). It also comes in handy with last minute cake orders. I can dehydrate and dry out gum paste figures in half the time it takes to air-dry them. Dad can also get the munchkins involved and they can make fruit leather together.
The removable trays allow you to customize the height for dehydrating small or large batches of foods. The adjustable temperature control lets you dehydrate everything from herbs and nuts, to fish and jerky.
I own about 8 cutting boards. My husband once asked me why I had so many. I pulled out each one and showed him the label burned onto them. I have one for fruits, one for veggies, one for raw meats, seafood, poultry, cooked meats, cooked poultry and one for breads.
“Oh,” he responded, “Well, that make sense.”
“Even if it didn’t, you weren’t going to do anything about it.”
Wooden boards are the best for maintaining edges on knives, plastic comes in second, in my opinion. Glass cutting boards shouldn’t even exist. They wreak havoc on your knives’ blades. Not to mention the sound of a knife cutting on a glass board is enough to make me scream.
An end grain cut of wood is considered self-healing because the orientation of the wood fibers open up to the knife’s edge, then close again on its own. This prevents, to some degree, absorption of flavors, splitting and dulling of a knife’s blade. A wooden board should never be submerged in water, end grain or not. This will cause splitting to occur. Dad should also condition and oil his boards regularly to form a protective coating. This dark walnut is sure to make the Father in your life feel extra masculine, too.
There’s no point in Dad having all of these cool kitchen tools to cook with if he can’t transport the food to his buddies house to make them jealous.
YETI is known for making incredibly functionally durable coolers. This portable cooler is the perfect carrying case for those dishes Dad wants to transport to the neighbor’s BBQ, or to a friend’s tailgate party. It’s completely leakproof and amazingly insulated. If the Father in your life is a hunter it’s ideal for taking out to the field stocked with drinks and ice.
Bonus Gift! Taste & See Cooks Cookbook
For the Dad who has it all, nothing’s better than a cookbook! My first cookbook is full of recipes collected from years of travel as military kid, and now, spouse.
You’ll find tons of recipes in this 500 page book to put all these wonderful gifts to use. Right now I’m hosting a giveaway. One lucky winner will receive an autographed book (shipping’s on me too)! Sign up here to enter to win, and have it time for Father’s Day.
Pin this list for all the Dad’s in your life.
Happy Father’s Day to all you guys out there, but especially to my favorite Dad in the World:
My Twinks’ Pops.