Dear Santa, I’ve been a really, really good chef this year . . .
Or, at least that’s how I imagine chefs begin their letters to Santa at this time of year. But just what is it they are asking for, I wonder? I mean, they have a whole restaurant of cool cooking stuff to play with everyday, so what do they want The Big Guy to bring them?
“On top of my wish list this Christmas is a Saeco Xelsis Espresso Machine,” says Vanessa O’Donnell, pastry queen of the Ooh, La, La Dessert Boutiques. “Over the summer I took a barista class with Katz Coffee and my love for espresso grew. I would love to be able to make espressos, lattes, macchiatos or cappuccinos in the comfort of my own home and I know my husband wouldn't mind either.”
Over at the new Triniti the chefs have visions of tiny tongs and big sharp things dancing in their heads.
While you could save a lot of Starbucks’ bucks with an in-home espresso machine, this baby will set Santa back about two and a half large.
Jason Chaney, executive chef of The Barbed Rose Steakhouse and Seafood Co. in Alvin, wants something a little less expensive from Santa this year.
“I want Kuhn Rikon Swiss peelers. They always disappear!” he says.
And why wouldn’t they? The cute and colorful little Swiss peelers have carbon-steel blades that make peeling fruits and veggies a breeze. And at just $4 each, they’d make great stocking stuffers. (Hint, hint.)
The restaurant’s butcher, Jay Peek, wants to wake up Christmas morn to find a magnetic knife storage rail under his tree.
“Safe, clean and impressive to display my knives,” he says. And I have to agree, since I have one in my kitchen. It’s a much more hygienic way to store your knives than keeping them in a butcher block.
And, if Santa still has room in his bag, he can drop off a spaetzle press/noodle maker for The Barbed Rose’s owner Joe Schneider, because the one he had got broken.
Over at the new Triniti the chefs have visions of tiny tongs and big sharp things dancing in their heads. Chef de cuisine Jose Hernandez wants tweezer tongs in his stocking since, he says, “I can work in a cleaner and more precise manner and they help me place food items with more detail.”
But for chef Greg Lowry it’s not the delicate details that get him going. A heavy meat cleaver is what he’s dreaming of.
“Because of all of the house butchery we will be doing,” he says. And, “using a cleaver is a great way to calm my nerves.”
Um, OK. I’m backing away now. Please put the big, shiny, sharp thing down.
Oh, and executive chef/owner Ryan Hildebrand wants a smoker. But will that fit down a chimney?
Soren Pedersen, executive chef and partner at Sorrel Urban Bistro, wants a blast chiller, a kitchen device that chills food fast without chefs having to mess with an ice bath. But they don’t come cheap: Some models go for as much as $20,000. And I’m not sure the elves make those babies up at the North Pole toy shop.
But his pastry chef Kristen Schafbuch just wants a marble slab for tempering chocolates, so maybe that will balance out.
Ronnie Killen, of Pearland’s Killen’s Steakhouse, wants a centrifuge for Christmas. Centrifuges are big machines that spin like crazy to separate heavy stuff, you know, like in the hospital lab where they spin the blood to separate the liquid from the platelets. Of course, in a kitchen you can use it to clarify juices and demulsify emulsions. And cool stuff like that.
Randy Rucker’s Conat won’t be open until early next year, so maybe chef de cuisine Mark Clayton will get his Christmas wish goodies by then.
“The kitchen gadgets at the top of my list would be a commercial grade Cryovac machine and a plunger style hand crank sausage stuffer,” he says. “The Cryovac machine is extremely useful tool for everything from extending the shelf life of products to allowing for compact storage, it can also alter the texture and appearance of food without applying heat.
"It’s an amazing tool. The plunger style hand crank sausage stuffer because it maintains the integrity of well made sausage (keeps the cubes of fat and garnish intact) and doesn't generate a lot of heat like a motorized stuffer. It also allows for better control when stuffing sausage.”
Gee, and all I asked for was a new grill pan. But maybe these chefs have been better than I have this year. I certainly hope so otherwise they’ll be cooking with that lump of coal they’ll be getting in their stockings.