Holiday Central

Gift ideas for the foodie from restaurant titans

Kitchen delights

Britt Chudleigh | Mint Images | Getty Images

No longer just a term for a food-obsessed minority, foodies are everywhere.

In fact, loving food has become so mainstream that nearly half of Americans who go to restaurants describe themselves as foodies, according to a recent Mintel survey. Among those ages 25 to 34, the portion shoots even higher to 68 percent.

To find the most cutting-edge and tried-and-true gifts for the foodies on your gift list, CNBC turned to top people in the industry — from top restaurant chefs to food-focused start-up executives — for their best gift ideas.

Click ahead to browse more than 40 gift ideas for your favorite foodies.

By CNBC's Katie Little
Published 18 Nov 2015

Caroline Potter, OpenTable chief dining officer

Fat Cork

"Wine of the Month clubs may seem tired, but a Champagne of the month club is a reason to celebrate at least every 30 days," Potter says.

Potter recommends Fat Cork, a subscription that features hand-selected grower Champagne, which she describes as "on trend and hard to find."

Also on her list is a Swarovski crystal folding purse hook and a Nespresso coffee machine to add some pizzazz to a loved one's morning cup of joe.

Olive Garden Executive Chef Jim Nuetzi

Source: Surlatable

"Even though I'm developing Italian dishes all day, I still like to come home and make pasta. A pasta roller is a great way to get the whole family involved in preparing dinner," said the Olive Garden top chef.

Other gadgets on his list include a food mill for creating pureed food, a sous vide immersion circulator and vacuum sealer.

He also recommends a bundle of some of his favorite ingredients to put a finishing touch on dishes, including aged balsamic, fleur de sel, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and truffle honey.

Greg Hong, Reserve's CEO, co-founder and board director

Andrew Watson | Getty Images

For $180, Hong recommends gifting something priceless: knowledge. Taught by wine professionals, Journee has an online wine class subscription.

His alcohol theme continues with two book suggestions: The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Whiskey Know-It-All: Know Your Booze Before You Choose and The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert.

Tom Colicchio, chef and owner at Crafted Hospitality

Source: Chelsea Miller

Colicchio turns to small-scale artisans for his gift suggestions. He recommends a DARA Artisans walnut cutting board made by Los Angeles-based artisan Dominik Kowalik and knives (shown here) from Brooklyn-based blacksmith Chelsea Miller.

Celeste Fierro, The ONE Group SVP and co-founder

Getty Images

"For the ultimate foodie, what's more luxe than having some of your favorite dishes from a local restaurant prepared in your home? There is nothing more satisfying than being able to relax and mingle with guests while an expert creates the magic in the kitchen," said Fierro about an in-home private chef dinner.

She also recommends a portable Bluetooth speaker and truffle oil from New York City's Truffle Lady.

Claes Petersson, Pizza Hut vice president of culinary innovation

Source: IKEA

Petersson calls his Japanese vegetable cutter "a must have for any foodie" and his "favorite tool in the kitchen."

Frying pans from IKEA are another top pick for the Pizza Hut head chef. He buys a new set two to three times per year and owns three sizes: five small ones, two bigger versions and two woks.

Finally, Petersson recommends a mandoline for the home chef.

Munchery CEO and co-founder Tri Tran

Source: Crate and Barrel

Festive place mats are a quick way to spruce up a meal, says the food delivery start-up executive.

"For dinner parties, my kids love entertaining themselves with Crate & Barrel's chalkboard place mats, and so do our guests!" he writes.

Also on his list are a cast iron skillet such as a pre-seasoned one from Lodge, a fish spatula and a donation to a food bank.

Daniel Boulud, chef and restaurateur

Source: M. Hom

During the holidays, Boulud favors edible gifts that can be shared, like this terrine of foie gras. "It is a little luxurious and festive, and perfect to put out for guests," he wrote.

"The recipe is traditional, and just like at home in France, it arrives with a loaf of house-baked brioche. Toast thin slices and let your guests serve themselves from this decadent spread," he added.

Another pick, which Boulud says might even last for the whole year, is the Pata Negra from Cinco Jotas, a company that makes top-quality aged Ibérico hams.

Mark Rosati, Shake Shack culinary director

Source: Le Labo

Rosati traded fries for fragrances for his suggestion. The Shake Shack head chef recommends people "give the gift of smelling better to your loved ones for the holidays." His top pick would be an item from his favorite fragrance company, Le Labo.

Dan Kish, Panera's senior vice president of food

Source: Crown Maple

Just add buttermilk. That's about all gift receivers will need to complete the gift Panera's Kish crafts for his friends.

"At Panera and at home, I'm inspired by a pantry of simple, quality ingredients," Kish writes. "At the holidays, I like to gift a dry ingredient mix of flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda, plus a pinch of salt, dress it up in a linen sack, and pair it with a larger bottle of Crown Maple Syrup, which comes from the trees near our house. Plus local eggs!"

He also likes RonnyBrook butter and the aprons at Butcher and Baker.

Gagan Biyani, Sprig CEO and co-founder

Source: Searzall

The food delivery start-up's chief has one pick for the adventurous at-home chef: a blowtorch called Searzall.

"The name says it all. This torch will put the perfect crust on anything from salmon skin to perfectly bruleed cheese. I love to use it for eggs, just to cook the whites with a perfect runny yoke," he writes.

He also suggested gifting Heath Ceramics plates from the Coupe line, calling them "the perfect canvas for food," and a Nomiku sous vide machine.

Nina and Tim Zagat, Zagat co-founders and co-chairs of Zagat

Source: Amara

Just because foodies are on the road does not mean they have to settle for a subpar dining experience. Enter the Zagats' travel bag.

They like to give traveling foodies items they always carry while traveling, including "a Peugeot peppermill to spice up anything you may get from room service or on a picnic, a Laguiole folding knife to use for cutting up fruit, sausages or other items you may pick up on your travels, and some Mariage Freres tea bags."

Monogrammed aprons for the whole family, such as the ones Williams-Sonoma carries, can also be a way to bring family and friends together.

Eamon Rockey, Betony general manager

Source: Cocktail Kingdom

Topping in at the pricier side of the gifts featured here, this bartender bag has enough space for all the gadgets that go into making a great cocktail.

"This terrific bag, designed by Jim Meehan, has room for everything that a bartender on the run might need. It is compact, fashionable and built to last for years," said Rockey.

His other suggestions include a Japanese-style jigger to ensure consistent cocktail proportions and a classic Hawthorne strainer.

Corrected: This slideshow has been corrected to reflect Pizza Hut's clarification about Claes Petersson's gift idea.