‘Tis the season for holiday soirees, and with each celebration comes the need for a hostess gift. A beautiful candle or nice bottle of wine is a great go-to gifting option, but why not spice it up this season? We spoke with six of the Magic City’s most prestigious chefs and culinary minds to find out what unique, food-related gift they would bring a hostess. From homemade bacon jam and shishito peppers to ooey, gooey cookie skillets, these eight culinary hostess gifts are sure to impress any foodie. So, get inspired by these edible options, and gift your hostess an unforgettable bite that will delight their taste buds this season!
8 Unique Culinary Hostess Gifts from Local Chefs and Restaurateurs
Colby Conklin of EastWest
“I would gift a basket of fresh shishito peppers. These peppers are awesome, and they are not hot! Well, they say that one out of every 10 has a little heat but it’s definitely bearable. You can get these peppers at Mr. Chen’s in Homewood,” says Colby. “We blister these peppers by sautéing them in the pan on high heat for a couple of minutes. After they are finished cooking, we sprinkle some sea salt and lemon zest over the top and serve with a side of Sriracha-yogurt dipping sauce.”
Ben Vaughn of Root to Tail
“I would offer my homemade bacon jam and pimento cheese,” says Ben. “The bacon jam is sweet and savory with a little spice, and the creaminess of the sharp pimento cheese complements the jam perfectly. It is truly the ideal pairing for the holidays or any traditional Southern gathering.”
Ashley McMakin of Ashley Mac’s
“I love to bring something local and unique as a hostess gift. My friend at Susan Gordon Pottery has the most beautiful serving dishes from a small cracker dish to a stunning cake stand,” says Ashley. “Grab a dish or treat from a local restaurant to go with it, and you’ve got the perfect hostess gift!”
Amy Jason of Cookie Fix
Abhishek Sainju of Abhi
“I would gift the everyday spices I use in all of my Southeast Asian dishes. These include cumin seeds, coriander powder, turmeric, paprika, Himalayan pink salt, curry powder, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks and star anise,” says Abhi. “The Masala Dabba Indian spice box is a simple and practical way to organize spices, and this handmade stoneware bowl is beautiful. I would also gift a ceramic tea pot, like this elephant-shaped one. It is a fantastic and unique gift that encourages your hostess to experiment.”
Paget Pizitz of MELT and Fancy’s on 5th
“I think we have several items on our MELT and Fancy’s on 5th menus that would be great for a hostess gift. All are super easy and definite crowd-pleasers. First, everyone loves pimento cheese. I would bring that along with some of our lavash crackers, and dress it up by placing the pimento cheese in small mason jars. Remember that people eat with their eyes, so presentation is key,” says Paget. “I might also bring a pan of MELT mac ‘n’ cheese as the perfect gift, especially in colder weather, or our chicken salad, which is great on its own. Or turn this side into an easy sandwich by bringing along a tray of bread, tomato and lettuce, so guests can easily make their own sandwich. Grab some of the 41st Street Mustard or the tremendous smoked tuna dip from Fancy’s on 5th for a little kick, and you have yourself a happy hostess!”
Give your hostess the gift of something delicious this holiday season with these unique culinary options!
Thank you to all of today’s chefs for the fantastic advice and photographs!