In terms of holiday gifts, food is always a good choice, right? Right. The best parts of the holidays take place around the table, anyway. That’s why we tapped Sophia Roe, a James Beard award-winning chef and Emmy-nominated host, to share some of her gifting tips. You might’ve seen some of her tantalizing recipes on TikTok, or her series Counter Space on Vice TV (season 2 premieres January 17). She’s also a big advocate for sustainability and food justice in the culinary world and beyond, getting involved with charities like Women’s Prison Association, Edible Schoolyard NYC, and The Fungi Foundation. And, fun fact, she helped curate the first-ever plant-based menu for the Met Gala last year.
Whether it’s a tasty last-minute treat to grab on the go, or a thoughtful gift for someone’s home kitchen, here are the gifts Roe suggests gifting this season. You might even end up snagging one of these picks for yourself, too.
What’s your go-to holiday gift?
It probably sounds incredibly lame, but I really like giving people practical gifts. You know, the sort of thing a person would hate to run out of. I don’t wanna say that I’ve ever bought someone a six-month supply of their favorite supplement or pantry item, but I won’t say that I haven’t either. Ha!
Do you have a favorite under-$50 gift?
A bag of Bob’s Red Mill pastry flour or Banner Grass-fed cultured butter!
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
One of the best gifts I’ve ever received was a birthday cake from my assistant/production manager. I grew up really poor, so I never really got the opportunity to have my own birthday cake. Last year, she had a special one made just for me. I’ll never forget how cool it felt to finally have my own birthday cake. It seems silly, but that moment meant a lot to me.
What’s the number one thing on your wish list this year?
That people will take some time to consider charity when gifting this year. Even a small donation to the Fungi Foundation, Women’s Prison Association, Edible Schoolyard, City Meals, or Project Glimmer could change someone’s life.
What’s the best last-minute gift?
A gorgeous loaf of bread, fresh pasta, bottle of olive oil, or olives from my local spots: Saraghina or Foster Sundry.
What’s your go-to gift for kids?
My friend Anicia just launched Kid’s Table, a meal delivery service that caters towards kids. Her mission is to create healthy, confident, and adventurous eaters with chef-curated and nutritionist-backed menu options. Extra bonus that they offer weekly delivery!
What’s your dream present?
A piece from my newest jewelry collection titled a closer look: sophia roe x pamela love. The collection is dedicated to fungi, the way we interact and exist within nature, and all that nature is asking us to acknowledge. With this collection, it’s my desperate hope that this unique medium for expressing the beauty of a mycelial wave can encourage the importance of humans taking a closer look, and then even closer.
What’s something everyone needs in their kitchen?
A really sharp knife! Shun, Kuma, and Miyabi are some of my favorites. Hedley & Bennett make an incredible set of knives if you’re looking to purchase a utility/paring knife as well as a serrated knife.
What’s the best present for messy cooks?
Get yourself an order of 15” x 26” kitchen rags, a set of pint and quart deli containers, and an apron from Dusen Dusen so you’re all cleaned up!
What’s the best gift for beginner cooks?
High-quality basics: a really great cutting board, a set of knives, or mixing bowls can completely upgrade your kitchen vibes. Material Kitchen has really great quality pieces. Extra points for cool designs as well.
What’s the best gift for the pro host or hostess?
Serveware from Garmentory! It’s got so many incredible options, ceramicists, designers, and vessels to choose from.
What’s the best gift for wannabe food influencers?
A Benks portable charger. They’re magnetic, so you can just stick them on your phone and keep shooting content.
What’s the best cookbook to give to someone special?
Any cookbook you purchase from Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks in the East Village. She’s been open since 1997, and she’s got some of the most incredible cookbooks I’ve ever seen. If you’re a vintage cookbook fan, you really must make a list!
Erica Gonzales is the Senior Culture Editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage on TV, movies, music, books, and more. She was previously an editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com. There is a 75 percent chance she’s listening to Lorde right now.