It´s down to the wire to time. We´ve been mulling it over, discussing it with our partners, weighing what to get those staff members whom we hold dear. It´s Christmas, 2006 and once again we have procrastinated to the last minute.
Here´s a short list of ten items that will please anyone you feel is a tremendous asset, a great friend, a professional team player, a wonderful person, sexy, stimulating, personable, deserving, loving or gifted and therefore should be, from you.
Do you speak Pairing? What to Drink with What You Eat by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. There it is again. I can´t say enough about this tome of entertaining information. It´s a must for any restaurant employee who wants to be able to speak the latest culinary language, pairings.
Whose knife is this? An engraved chef´s knife is a first place winner. Engrave it with your restaurant´s name on it, not the chef´s. As his career skyrockets, or falls, he will always remember the days behind your stove.
I can´t work this weekend. A weekend trip to a nearby resort is the perfect gift of appreciation for that diligent manager who spends weekends, late nights, and early mornings running your show. Think about a trip to Carmel and dinner at Bahama Billy’s. Or a weekend jaunt to the Hampton’s, Rockport, or even Palm Springs. It’s the perfect Christmas Gift. Plus, often rates drop in the winter.
Ancient cheese dome looking for aged Cheddar. An antique culinary accoutrement- Hardly easy to find but these frequent French imports make great conversation pieces and are seldom something one purchases for themselves.
Opulent Dining. Treat a twosome to a dinner beyond culinary expectation. Make sure the recipient hasn´t experienced the room due to financial or other limitations. If the service, ambiance, and meal are as tremendous as expected your employee will come back to your restaurant prepared to change your world.
Bourdain claims it´s sensational.He was right. A copy of Hotel Bemelmans, one of the most enjoyable restaurant reads on the shelf. Ludwig Bemelmans was the Bon Vivant of the culinary sect. His antics, well, they were antics.
A Jeroboam or Balthazar would make Nebuchadnezzar smile. However, a premium bottle of wine or a magnum of bubbly will bring a twinkle to the eye of your favorite sommelier or wine aficionado.
Java script. Coffee gift card are the perfect carry around gift. Get them in $25.00 denominations. Pack a few in your pocket and have them ready for that forgotten present. If you have a few left over, will they go to waste? Doubtful.
Let it breathe. True restaurant professionals enjoy the profession. A decanter is a must have for any true barman with stripes on his sleeves.
Sans grape jelly glasses. The transition from grape jelly glasses molded, to fine crystal is a giant step. Start the collection for your wine drinking staff members. They don´t need crystal, but an attractive stem is artwork in the hand of the beholder.
Finally, number eleven is the most important. A card. Nothing beats a note of sincerity from the owner. A simple card, with a thank you for the past, and an outlook for the future from the heart often means more than a gift from the store.