Thomas McNaughton knows a thing or two about kitchenware. Before becoming the executive chef and co-owner of some of San Francisco’s most sought-after restaurants (Flour + Water, Central Kitchen, and Salumeria, among them), he put in years of time behind the stove at some of the city’s most respected institutions. With the holidays in full swing, this Williams-Sonoma Chefs’ Collective member has plenty of ideas when it comes to gifting instrumental tools in the kitchen. Here are five things he can’t live without that he thinks should be at the top of every cook’s holiday wish list.
Mauviel Copper Tri-Ply 7-Piece Cooking Set: Every good home cook needs a sturdy, heavy-bottomed cooking set. A lot of people are scared of cooking with copper in the home because of the upkeep, but it’s really easy: It just takes a halved lemon dipped into salt to lightly shine the copper.
Williams-Sonoma Edge-Grain Walnut Carving Board: Mise en place, or kitchen setup, is the foundation of any great dish. When I am set up with a sharp knife and a large cutting board, prepping seems like a breeze. I love the look of this dark walnut cutting board, and the perimeter well makes any messy product an ease to clean up.
Copper KitchenAid Professional 620 Stand Mixer: This pro-line stand mixer is a strong, versatile piece essential to the home baker. It’s a piece of equipment that will stay with you for life.
Le Creuset Signature Cast-Iron Oval Dutch Oven: My favorite thing to cook in my home kitchen is a long, slow braise; there’s something therapeutic about it. As a chef, this is another item that will stay with you for your entire cooking career.
Vitamix 780 Blender: I can’t live without this at the restaurant—it has serious fire power. It’s not just for purées; I use it for everything, from starting the morning with the smoothest of smoothies all the way to emulsifying vinaigrettes.