Delicious Gifting: Father’s Day Edition
Chef Ian Lynch, the recently appointed Executive Chef of the Cowford Chophouse, rarely has a free night at home. Such is the life of a chef. When he does get a precious day off from menu planning or checking in on the kitchens of Forking Amazing Restaurants’ other concepts, he can usually be found attending to his other full-time job: spending quality time with his wife and their three young children.
With Father’s Day just around the corner, Chef Ian shared his favorite edible gifts for the man who has, eats and/or drinks everything.
• For the kitchen king: A high quality cast-iron skillet
At home I have a cast-iron skillet, which I use almost once a week. It is great for searing just about anything. I love cooking burgers on it because you get a nice crust on the outside of the burger. I use it to sear steaks, too — again, you get a great crust on the outside and it is nice and tender inside. It is just like going out to a restaurant without leaving your house. You can also sear fish, scallops, crab cakes…. The more you use the cast iron skillet, the more seasoned it gets and it adds more flavor to everything you cook with it.
• For the grill master: Himalayan salt block
Another favorite gift that my wife, Ashley bought me for Father’s Day is a Himalayan salt block. This is great because you can cook on it, but also use it at room temperature to season certain items. I use it to season foods that I eat raw, like beef and tuna. I bought one of these for my father; he loves placing it on a hot grill and searing steaks and scallops. It adds a nice mild salt flavor to whatever you cook on it.
• For the condiment connoisseur: Assorted locally sourced spreads
A local condiment store we use at the Forking Amazing Restaurants is Hoby’s Honey & General Store off San Jose Boulevard. They sell honey, honeycomb and many locally made condiments. They have items like jalapeño Vidalia onion relish, BBQ sauces, habanero ketchup, chow chow, bread and butter pickles, dressings and jams. One of my favorites is their Mayhaw jam, which is a fruit indigenous to our region. It’s awesome.
• For the herb enthusiast: Spice blends and fresh herbs
I will often make my own spice blends, but we have a couple of great places in the area to get pre-made spice blends, Fresh Jax and Green Man Gourmet. Around my house, I have many herbs and vegetables growing. I will pick different herbs and ask my children to smell them and explain what herb they have. So when we make dinner, I ask them to go get some basil or oregano and they are able to differentiate the herbs.
• For the family man: A gift card, pizza stone or ice cream maker
I love taking my kids to a local farmers market or a grocery store and let them pick out what we’re going to make for dinner. I ask them if they know what certain things are and explain what things are. I ask them to touch and smell things to become familiar. As far as getting them involved with actual cooking, I let them help me cut things with plastic knives. I try to show them how to properly hold a knife and to tuck their fingers back. At my house, I let the kids make their own pizzas and help bake them. We also have an ice cream maker and we make ice cream together.