Journal

Christmas Gift Guide 2016: Objects

28th November 2016

Words: James Hansen
Photographs: Steve Ryan, Yousef Eldin, Dan Dennison

Solid cookware, gleaming barware and a peppermill that actually works (as well as looking good): our pick of beautiful and functional kitchen objects from the past 12 months

Iittala cast-iron pot (€225)
This Finnish-made pot (pictured above) caught our eye amid Margot and Fergus’ Henderson’s impressive array of kitchen paraphernalia. Cast-iron is one of the most durable materials for pans, and with a little TLC it will last for aeons. Margot’s praise is concise and to-the-point: “This is a very nice pot. I’ve cooked stews in it, and rice. (I like to cook a lot of rice.)”

Opinel knife (from £6.75)
Perceval knife (from €320)
Much like olive oil, the kitchen knife crops up regularly in our recommended objects. Two makers stand out, both of them French. Baker Richard Bertinet and sommelier Erika Lindstrom both own Opinel knives: “The first knife that I ever had was an Opinel,” says Richard. “The knives are excellent quality and not as expensive as some of the better-known brands. I own the full set of their Intempora range.”
Viennese restaurant-owners Konstantin and Manuela Filippou are Perceval advocates. “For me a knife has to be really practical,” says Konstantin. “I don’t want it to break when it falls. In the kitchen I always have one small knife, one medium knife, one big knife – no more. The guy who runs this company, he’s a former chef and his only aim was to make knives that can cut everything.”

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A Perceval carving knife in Konstantin Filippou’s home kitchen

Kaikado tea caddy (from £110)
We spent five hours earlier this year admiring the contents of Jeremy Lee’s flat in Hackney – the Quo Vadis head chef has great taste. This tea caddy was one of many things that stood out. “It’s made by seven generations of this Japanese family using Cornish tin exported to Japan. The mechanism is so simple. You can buy them at Postcard Teas on Dering Street [or via their website].”

Koriko cocktail shaker (from £30.95)
Our visit to bartender Neal Bodenheimer’s New Orleans home is one of our hazier encounters; sometimes relinquishing a little clarity is necessary to fully experience our interviewee’s line of work. What we definitively recall is Neal’s predilection for beautiful, functional barware: Japanese brand Koriko is one of his favourites. “I am a Boston shaker [a two-piece shaker consisting of a metal bottom and a mixing glass] kind of guy, but for home I think a cobbler shaker [a three-piece cocktail shaker with a built-in strainer and a cap] is nice – it’s easy to use and decorative.” – Neal

The boards are all numbered, so he can go on his computer and find out which tree on his estate it came from

Accusharp knife sharpener (£10.30)
As Justin Green of Ballyvolane House puts it, “Sharp knives are absolutely essential for prepping. I used to use a sharpening stick but was never very good at it. This is really good and simple to use.” More for general maintenance than precision sharpening of a prized blade, this nifty tool should make cooking safer and easier all year round.

Made in Cley lemon squeezer (from £24)
This simple, beautifully-made lemon squeezer caught our eye when we visited the former Ellory chef Matthew Young at his flat near Victoria Park, east London, in January. “I got it in Norfolk from a pottery place called Made in Cley. It works so well and it’s really satisfying to use.” If you’d like to buy one, we recommend giving Made in Cley a call directly on 01263 740134.

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Made in Cley’s lemon squeezer, held by chef Matthew Young

Zassenhaus grinder (£59.67)
Chef Matthew Young pairs this precision coffee grinder with a V60 dripper pilfered from his flat mate, saying, “sometimes it’s nice to have freshly ground coffee.” The Zassenhaus has two screws on the shaft of the burrs, rather than one, keeping the grinder stable to provide more evenly-sized grounds. For the less mechanically persuaded, you could do much worse than the recently-released Colonna pods, which pair speciality coffee with the convenience of capsule machines.

Bunbury chopping boards (from €15)
Justin and Jenny Green have an array of beautiful chopping boards at their Ballyvolane House, their country house hotel in Cork. Justin picked out one in particular: “I love wooden boards and this is really beautiful, it’s one of the Bunbury boards made by a friend of mine in Lisnavagh. He makes timber from their own woodland. They’re all numbered, so he can go on his computer and find out which tree on his estate it came from. This is oak. Beautifully made, lovely texture, look at the marbling of the wood.”

Salt scoop (from £24)
Visiting baker Richard Bertinet in Bath, we were plied with incredible pastries, yielding bread and a sublime mushroom tartine. A common thread was Guérandais salt – Richard stockpiles the stuff when visiting France – administered with a beautiful antique scoop. He had no idea where the scoop was from, but we love the ones from Object Company, carved from sustainably-sourced wood grown in Scotland.

Wau Wau peppermill (from €52)
It’s rare that you find someone who’s positive about their pepper mill – most people grumble about feeble mechanisms and inconsistent grinds – but the Viennese restaurant critic Severin Corti reckons he’d found a winner, aesthetically as well as functionally. “These are from a Viennese designer who makes them by hand. There’s a lot of different designs. He uses a Swiss grinding machinery that does a great job. It’s really effective and it’s better than Peugeot actually.”

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Wau Wau pepper mills in Severin Corti’s kitchen

Posted 28th November 2016

In Journal

 

Words: James Hansen
Photographs: Steve Ryan, Yousef Eldin, Dan Dennison

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