A Chef's Holiday Cookie Exchange

As the holiday season rolls into full swing, many chefs, restaurateurs, and caterers continue to burn the candle on both ends until every Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas and New Year’s party is checked off their work list.

Each year in the middle of this super busy season, I host a chef’s holiday cookie exchange. It’s a great way to invite friends over, sip some bubbly, exchange cookies and have a wonderful discussion about trends in the food and beverage industry.

This year’s guests included chef/owner Jorgina Pereira of Sinha’ Brazilian Elegant Cuisine, chef Daniel Bullock at Sophie’s at Saks Fifth Avenue, chef Jeffery McGowan at Kraft-Heinz, Owner Rene Bradford of C’est Si Bon Catering, chef/chairman John Kaufmann of Les Amis d’Escoffier Society of Chicago, chef Dwight Evans at Sodexo, Owner Bernard Loyd of Bronzeville Jerk Shack, Owner Cynthia Kallile of The Meatloaf Bakery, Donna Pierce of Skillet Diaries and food/wine lovers Roslyn Chapman, Donna Hodge, Maureen O’Brien.

Here are a few tips for hosting a cookie exchange for the holidays or just because you love cookies:

  1. Request each guest to make/bake and bring 2 to 4 cookies per guest.
  2. The host is responsible for boxes, containers or decorative bags for the exchange.
  3. Have a lot of fun! Select a theme and have each invited guest bring cookies reflecting it such as Hawaiian flavors, chocolate or fruit.
  4. Old family heirloom cookie recipes are always popular at a cookie exchange.
  5.  It’s okay if your guests make the same cookie flavor. If there are 3 chocolate chip cookie recipes made by three different people, each cookie is sure to have its own twist and a different taste.

If you are hosting a cooking exchange this holiday, be sure to use the hashtag #holidaycookieexchange so we can see what we’re missing.

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Wilbert Jones is the president of The Wilbert Jones Company – a food product development and marketing company founded in 1993. He has authored three award winning cookbooks and was the host of the PBS television series, “Healthy Heritage Kitchen” in 2008. thewilbertjonescompany.com