4. Honing steel: If the cook on your list has knives they care about, honing steel is essential. I use mine so many times a day, it's beyond counting. Replace steels with worn down grooves.
5. Instant-read thermometer: Once upon a time, food thermometers were expensive and hard to find. Digital instant-reads are accurate, quick and versatile. No kitchen should be without one.
6. Strainers: Notice the 's' on the end of that word. A chef with assorted sizes of strainers is a happy one. I have one large enough to contain a whole package of cooked pasta and one small enough to sift a half cup of flour. If you're gifting a strainer, don't worry about the fineness of the mesh, just buy a set.
7. Prep bowls: One of the biggest challenges for home cooks is mise en place, which is the practice of organizing all needed ingredients for a recipe before a burner is clicked on. Prep bowls are the perfect receptacle for small amounts of measured ingredients. How many should you buy? As many as you can afford.
8. Mixing bowls: Good mixing bowls come into play practically every day. This is another tool that you can't overstock in the kitchen. A variety of sizes is ideal for the foodie who believes in using the right tool for the right job.
— Dave Cathey