Want to cook and entertain like Viola, Sonoko, Josh and Yasmin, four of our most popular guest teachers? You need to know what they really cook with every day. From Sonoko Sakai’s own hand-blended Japanese curry powders to Italian lentils that get Viola Buitoni’s stamp of approval, the ingredients and tools below meet the high standards of talented chefs, teachers and cookbook authors from around the world.
Use the promo code MILKGIFTS10 by Monday, December 14 for 10% off your entire Milk Street Store purchase, whether you choose our guests’ picks or something completely different. This discount cannot be combined with other offers and is limited to one use per person.
Here are our Guest Chefs’ gift ideas:
Japanese culinary expert Sonoko Sakai is an author (most recently of “Japanese Home Cooking”), teacher and cook based in California. In the livestream class she taught in September, Sonoko showed attendees how to fold a perfect dumpling and explored the pillars of her cooking philosophy: freshness, seasonality, simplicity, beauty and economy.
- Granite Mortar and Pestle: An excellent addition for any kitchen. It's a beautiful piece, so I always keep it out on display on my countertop. I use it to grind toasted spices (like those in my curry powder), or to make a pesto or salsa.
- Mexican Terra Cotta Cazuela: This piece brings me back to my childhood years growing up in Mexico. It's such a beautiful item that it can easily go straight from cooktop to dinner table.
- Sonoko’s Japanese Curry Powder: Each small batch of Sonoko’s curry powder is made by hand, blending 16 different sustainably sourced spices (and no artificial additives) to achieve the perfect harmony of tastes.
- And from Sonoko’s own store, Sonoko Curry Molasses Cookie Mix: A mix for making these crispy, chewy, subtly spicy cookies at home. Developed in collaboration with Daniela Swamp, this recipe is Sonoko’s take on an old-time holiday favorite and a spin on the traditional ginger molasses cookie. Please note that the 10% discount code does not apply to items on Sonoko’s website.
Yasmin Fahr is the author of “Keeping It Simple,” a cookbook all about the art of elegant one-pot dinners. In her October class, Yasmin taught us how to make a massaged kale salad and caramelized mushroom and ricotta toast—each of which came together in under 20 minutes flat.
- Bibol Tchon Salad Bowl: I love a good salad bowl! This one is made from sustainably sourced bamboo and is so simple and elegant.
- Berard Round Salt Keeper: The magnetic lid on this little salt keeper is so sweet and well-designed. Pretty enough to keep on the table instead of a salt shaker.
- Cork Top Recycled Wine Bottle Canister Set: Everybody needs storage containers, but you don’t have to turn to plastic to get the job done. These containers, made out of recycled wine bottles, are gorgeous on a countertop, no matter what you fill them with.
Viola Buitoni is a cooking instructor who splits her time between Milan and the Bay Area. With six generations of family food tradition and 30 years of professional experience to share, Viola has no shortage of passionate opinions—and good humor—about Italian recipes and ingredients. Sign up for her upcoming class, Italian Solutions to Sad Salads.
- Casa Corneli Organic Castelluccio Lentils: Like me, these lentils are Umbrian, and if you grew up with them, like I did, no other lentil will ever come close. Their soulful texture, wrapped by a skin that it is at once thin and structured, is unrivaled, as is the deeply layered, long-lasting flavor they develop while cooking.
- Bakalaos Alkorta Cod Fillets in Olive Oil: Baccalà (salted cod) is one of my food obsessions. When I don’t have the four days needed to soak and reconstitute it, these fillets are what tides me over. Toss them in a salad, plop them on toasted bread, sear them with some garlic and mint for a great pasta sauce, blend them in a dip with beans and pistachios or enjoy them as they are.
- Maria Gramatico Estratto di Pomodoro Tomato Paste: Just a teaspoon from this jar of tomato magic will give any sauce, roast or soup the depth and balance every dish deserves. Its ineffable flavor will define a dish without ever revealing the ingredient behind it. Once you’ve tried it, you will never go back to regular tomato paste.
- La Nicchia Zibibbo Grape Elixir: Zibibbo is a rare grape varietal sublimated in this viscous concoction. I have used it in vinaigrettes and cocktails, over pancakes, for roast gravies and barbecue sauces. My favorite trick is to stir it into some whipped cream, spoon the cream over fresh fruit and top with crumbled digestive cookies—voilà, the ultimate five-minute dessert that will leave everyone speechless.
- Pojer and Sandri White Wine Vinegar: A well-balanced touch of acidity is a must in cooking, and that’s what this product delivers, with an underlining brightness that elevates flavors without hiding them. Even with a pantry that includes no fewer than eight vinegars from all over the world, I still manage to go through a bottle a month. My favorite snack? Dampen a slice of stale bread, drizzle it with this vinegar and sprinkle it with sugar, and be amazed.
A member of the Milk Street TV cast, a teacher in our series of self-paced online classes, and a regular at the in-person and live-stream cooking school, Josh knows Milk Street inside and out.
- Omsom Cooking Sauces: Omsom makes three amazing sauces: herbal, bright Vietnamese Lemongrass BBQ; spicy-sweet Thai Larb; and spicy, citrusy Filipino Sisig. Taste your way through the variety pack, then decide which of these sauces is a must-have in your kitchen at all times (it’s probably all three).
- Àplat Culinary Casserole Tote: This elegant casserole tote from San Francisco-based company Àplat makes it easy to cart food around with zero risk of tipping. It folds perfectly flat for easy storage between uses and is large enough to accommodate a 9-by-13-inch dish or a 13-inch round pan.
- KAI Komachi Grater: This grater gives you fine shreds like a wand-style grater, but it’s way easier to clean. It’s the perfect tool for finishing a dish with a sprinkle of citrus zest.