For the friend who wants to learn how to cook:
Learning how to cook can be intimidating. Forget foams, complicated sauces and ten thousand ingredients in the one recipe, you have to start simple (and really, some of the best food experiences in the world are simple ones). Bill Granger's simple to follow recipes are straight forward, tasty and don't take years to master. This tome contains over 100 classic dishes every home cook should know..and a few more. From perfect brownies to more exotic fodder in the form of Moroccan tagines and Malaysian laksas, there's something for everyone. A good entry-level cookbook present, dedicated to our producer, Ed.
$49.99, Harper Collins
Back up basic cook's gift: Cooking classes at The Essential Ingredient
The Essential Ingredient is part covetable food store, part cooking school, total win. The cooking school covers classes from making bread to ninja knife skills, so there's something for the novice cook as their skills improve. Best of all, you can buy most of what you need to replicate what you learnt at home at the store before you check out. Class schedules can be found here.
For the friend you want to share food with:
Gift voucher to a cool new restaurant
Gift vouchers aren't just for iTunes and hardware stores. They're a great way of encouraging someone to try a new venue they might like...and maybe you'll even get to share the experience with them. Most restaurants these days are happy to oblige in creating a gift voucher to suit your budget and needs, so all you need to do is pick a restaurant.
Some newbies in Sydney you might like to check out:
Exquisitely present modern Japanese, in the heart of Surry Hills. Chef Kirby Craig trained at the original Tetsuya's back in Rozelle and went on to score major points for Woolwich's Koi before opening his very own digs. The tiny space which once held Sydney icon Bistrode has been transformed into a pared back temple of food, with a succinct Australia focused wine list and bang up service. It's beautiful, it's personal, it's worth visiting more than once.
Where: 478 Bourke Street Surry Hills NSW 2010
Phone: (02) 9380 7333
Hot Melbourne export Movida finally opened its doors in Sydney a couple of months ago...and the queues show no signs of slowing. While there may be plenty of other reasons to visit Melbourne, we're lucky to have our very own slice of Frank Cammora's stunning Spanish food right here in Surry Hills. All the hits are here, including the epic anchoa - exquisite Cantabrian anchovies with smoked tomato sorbet $4.50 and the ubquitous buñuelos de bacalao; salt cod fritters with Basque pil pil sauce. Dios mio.
Where: 50 Holt Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Phone: (02) 8964 7642