Kitchen Gift Guide: The Beginner

PBS Food has created this guide as suggested gifts ideas. We do not endorse any specific product listed here. We recommend comparison shopping and reading expert and customer reviews to make educated decisions.

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Chef’s Knife

There is nothing more important in the kitchen than a knife. A good, solid chef’s knife will be used with nearly every meal you make, so we recommend going with a trusted brand. Quality is very important when picking your everyday knife.

Wusthof Classic 8-Inch Cook’s Knife at Amazon.com


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Mixing Bowls

For beginners, we always recommend finding items that can serve many purposes in the kitchen. A collection of colorful, nesting mixing bowls is a great choice. The bowls can be used as mixing bowls in the kitchen, but also as fun serving options for dips, chips and more.

Bamboo Kitchen Nesting Mixing Bowls Set at Amazon.com


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Cast Iron Skillet

We love cooking with cast iron pots and skillets. In addition to being very versatile, cast iron is also very durable. We bet you’ll find your food will taste better as well.

Lodge Signature Skillet, Black, 12″ at Amazon.com


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Food Processor

Let’s face it: Chopping and mixing ingredients can get pretty tedious at times, especially for a more complicated recipe. Don’t let that be an excuse for your beginner — a food processor will not only save them time and effort, it might keep them from ordering a pizza.

Cuisinart DLC-10S Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor at Amazon.com


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Organic Spices

Your beginner chef will be amazed by how much better organic spices taste than the ones from the grocery store. Send a collection of basic spices and watch the food explode with flavor. Organic spice shops are becoming more common online, so look for one with an interesting story. We suggest TSP Spices, a small company out of Maryland.

TSP Spices at TSP Spices


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Joy of Cooking

Every kitchen should have a copy of The Joy of Cooking. We’ll let Julia Child tell you why: “The Joy of Cooking has always been a very important book. When it was first published, it made a great impression on American cooking. It is, and should continue to be a staple in any good culinary collection because Irma’s voice is there with you in the kitchen giving guidance and encouragement and friendly tips and reminders. The why’s and how’s are carefully explained, and that’s what makes Joy a fundamental resource for any American cook!”

Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition – 2006 at Amazon.com


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All-Purpose Pan

Every beginner needs a good, solid all-purpose pan. We recommend something that is rated highly for quality and durability — you want something your beginner can experiment with, make mistakes with, and probably even abuse a little bit. That is, after all, how you learn.

All-Clad Stainless 10-Inch Fry Pan at Amazon.com


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High Heat Oven Thermometer

Did you know that when you set your oven to 450 degrees, it could vary as much as 25 or even 50 degrees? Built-in oven thermometers are notoriously unreliable, so we recommend everyone get their own thermometer. Find one that can handle high-heat — you don’t want to bust your thermometer while cooking under extended heat.

CDN High Heat Oven Thermometer at Amazon.com


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Olive Oil Sampler

We love sending beginner cooks gifts that will inspire them to try new dishes that might take them a little bit out of their comfort zone. One gift that can definitely inspire is a collection of olive oils. Olive oil shops were one of the top trends of 2012, but if you still don’t have one convenient, you can order online from any number of online stores.

Olive Oil Gifts at O Olive Oil


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Solid Plastic Cutting Board

We recommend a plastic cutting board for beginners. Its easy to throw in the dishwasher and doesn’t require any additional care or treatment. If you can, find a model with some plastic grips, so that the cutting board won’t slip on a countertop.

OXO Good Grips 15-inch by 21-Inch Cutting Board, Black Edge at Amazon.com