The phrase ‘celebrity chef’ might conjure images of a glamorous life filled with fan-packed book signings, high profile television appearances and hanging out with Hollywood A-listers. But no matter how big a star you are in the culinary world, the job still requires long hours in the kitchen doing backbreaking work. By the time December rolls around, these top toques are looking forward to some rest and relaxation just like everyone else. As they gather around the Christmas tree, Hanukkah menorah, or Festivus pole, they’re hoping to find a thoughtful gift from their loved ones. Here’s what 8 celebrity chefs want for the holidays. Santa and co., we hope you’re listening.
Michael Schlow, The Riggsby + Tico, Washington, D.C.
“In our house we celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah, and every year my friends and family ask me, ‘What do you want as a gift this year?’ I’ve got the most important gift, which is my amazing family and my health, and Santa knows I’ve also received my fair share of good wines and sharp sweaters every year. Since I have no control on world peace – and my silent prayers for a simple, fair, flat tax code continue to go unanswered – I keep looking around at what I really want for the holidays this year. I really don’t want for much, but I’d be thrilled with a new pair of Todd Rogers frames, a big gift certificate to Korin, my favorite Japanese cutlery shop, in New York City, and a couple of nights away, just me and my wife.”
Michael Mina, MICHAEL MINA, San Francisco, California
“When I traveled to Lebanon, I visited the market and met the most amazing spice vendor and got an incredible Middle Eastern Barbecue spice mix. I have been trying to track down that vendor ever since and would love to get more of that mix. Maybe Santa can help me out with this one….”
Spike Mendelsohn, Béarnaise, Washington, D.C.
“This Festivus I want a new longboard. Next year, I’m taking my wife surfing in Fiji, so a new board would make the trip even more amazing. I’d also like more reservations through OpenTable. Full house, baby!”
Marc Forgione, American Cut, New York, New York
“ I want the Chevy that Chief Brody drives in Jaws because it’s one of my favorite movies, and I always thought it was one of the coolest cars I’ve ever seen. However, I would paint mine black.”
Jose Garces, Rural Society, Washington, D.C.
“I’ve been a huge fan of Apple’s iPhone ever since it was introduced. It’s been one of the most valuable tools for me to stay organized and connected both in the kitchen and for business, so I’m really curious and excited about the Apple Watch. It’s in the top slot on this year’s wish list.”
Mike Isabella, Graffiato + Kapnos, Washington, D.C.
“I would love to get some time to go on a trip with my wife to Southeast Asia. That’s a region I really want to see. I’ve wanted to eat, travel and see my way through Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and the other cool and fascinating places there for a long time.”
Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell.