Plato Putas is all about spreading the holiday cheer, especially when it’s related to food. We’re asking some of the most beloved chefs and food lovers about the best gifts to give…and get.

Best Gourmet Food Item to Give
Simple, high-quality olive oil is something that everyone can get excited about. When I was a waitress at Lupa (Mario Batali’s restaurant) we received a bottle of Tenuta di Capezzana Extra Virgin Olive Oil and I cherished it! It is so important to use high-quality ingredients and this olive oil made anything taste so delicious.

Best Cookbook to Give
Without a doubt, On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee is essential for anyone to read in order to understand the chemistry behind food. But as far as an actual cookbook goes, I’d have to say Canal House Cooking by Melissa Hamilton. It’s a home-cooking book by home cooks. Excellent recipes.

Best Kitchen Gadget to Give
A Wustof knife! I think that all those gadgets are pretty silly. All you need is a good knife and you can do anything. (Read more about it here.)

On My Wish List
A big prep table for my kitchen. I have the tiniest kitchen at home and it makes me uninspired to work. I wish I knew of a good one, but still have my eyes out for it.

Erin McKenna is the chef and owner of BabyCakes NYC, a bakery with outposts in New York City and soon to be in downtown Los Angeles. She received the prestigious Best Cupcake award in 2006 from New York Magazine and released a cookbook, Babycakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York’s Most Talked-About Bakery in May of 2009. Plato Putas named Babycakes “the most heavenly place on earth” thanks to their gluten-free donuts and irresistible cupcakes.

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