Friday, August 5, 2011


The 9s section of the warehouse (BBQ stuff)

It was a busy week here at Chef Tools. We inventoried our warehouse this week, which means the entire staff spent 3 days counting what felt like millions of products. Chef Tools has over 10,000 products and we have several of each. I would estimate that we counted somewhere in the range of 20,000 items, from tiny pastry tips to hulking Dutch ovens

We worked in teams of 2, with one person counting items, the other keeping tally. Then, we went back for a second wave of counting to correct miscounts. The count required agility and creativity. One moment you might find yourself suspended 12 feet in the air balancing atop a shelving unit, a few minutes later you were emptying a box of Meri Meri party supplies, counting, and then re-packing it correctly, which was like solving a Rubik’s cube. 

The Nana Saver
We inevitably found some items that we had forgotten about. Doing inventory is sort of like cleaning out your attic or basement. But instead of finding an old middle school yearbook or a love letter (or gross spider carcasses), we found things like bottle dust caps. Or, my personal favorite, the ‘Nana Saver. No, it’s not a cryogenic chamber for your beloved grandmother; it’s a plastic cap for bananas to keep them from browning. I also discovered that we have an enormous stock of silicone spatulas. I counted so many spatulas that the word “spatulas” lost all meaning to me. 

The coolest thing I found was a Reed’s Rocket Nutcracker. I’m not sure who Reed is, or if he’s still alive, but his invention looks like a rail gun for nuts. It is awesome. It’s made in Glenville, Ga., by a company called Peas and Corn Inc., and I could totally picture a guy sitting on a porch in a rocking chair with a julep, a Reed’s rocket and a pile of pecans just completely set for the night.

At any rate, inventory was a success. It will help us get products to you faster because we have triple checked what have and what we don’t have. Also, if you know anyone who needs a ‘Nana Saver, send them our way.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Do you have art hiding in your house?

The Le Creuset Ogive teakettle
I came across a really great looking art exhibit that I can’t go to. Atlanta’s High Museum of Art has a show called Modern By Design, which is full of beautiful and functional household and industrial items from the last century (the collection is on loan from MoMa). It includes some items that you might even have in your own home, even in your own kitchen.

The High’s website does not give a good preview of what’s in the exhibit, but one item they show is the Chemex coffee maker. I have one at home; not only does it make great coffee, but it’s nice to look at – it shimmers and has a voluptuous figure tied at the center by a wood collar and a leather strap.

The “modern” part of the exhibit references a couple of different periods from the 20th century: World War II era industrial design – large springs, motor parts and all – then the Space Age, and finally the post-counter culture 1970s. The exhibit got me thinking what items in Chef Tools’ arsenal would fit in this exhibit; kitchen and household items that are beautiful, durable and very useful.

The Matfer black steel fry pan (9-1/2" inch model)
The top prize, I think, goes to that Le Creuset Ogive teakettle (in fact, most Le Creuset items, especially their iconic French ovens, could fit in this exhibit). Other coffee-and-tea-making items could fit, too (what is it about vessels that hold hot liquids that inspires fine industrial design?) like the Bialetti espresso maker, or the RSVP pyramid-shaped tea infuser.

But there are other items, like this set of measuring cups by Amco, or soft kitchen tools by OXO. I really like these intense black steel fry pans by Matfer and these RSVP stainless steel straws. And – to prove that I’m not solely into steel and glass – the Tovolo King Cube ice tray.

What from your home would you include if you had to put together an art exhibit about industrial design?