Monday, March 14, 2011

The International Home and Housewares Show

This was my very first International Home and Housewares Show and quite frankly I never knew that so many chefs had their own line of cookware and kitchen accessories. What do I know? I buy everything at William Sonoma.
I must admit that Rachel Ray blew me away with the sheer size of both her booth and her brand.

With 60,000 people from over 100 countries and 2,000 exhibitors I got happily lost in the mix. Did I get a chance to visit every booth in 2 days? Not even close. I had on a good pair of running shoes and breezed by most of them. You need all 3 days just to scratch the surface of this show.

The show itself was magnificently done and was on spot with both the Social Media booth which had special #FNichats from 3-4 PM and included celebrity chef Rick Bayless and the Pantone color match exhibit. If you wanted to get a clue as to which colors are in, all you had to do is hang out there and ask a million questions.
Chefs from the Food Network and Bravo TV showcased their culinary skills in the Cooking Theater and the lineup of celebrity chefs was non-stop.
One of the most popular by far was Paula Dean. She drew a huge crowd and chatted with the audience while husband Michael did the cooking. I was surprised to see how beautiful and charming she is in person. I changed my mind. In my next life, I am coming back as a Southerner.

Another immovable force was Guy Fieri whose brand is so strong even Santoku can’t cut through it.

I do not endorse products but here are some of the gadgets I found at the show that I would buy myself:

Healthy Steps

Healthy Steps makes a line of cooking tools for a healthy lifestyle including this infuser that you fill with fruit and drop into a jar of water. Instead of buying flavored water you can make your own and you know exactly what’s going in it.

I also loved their Protein Server. Use the spatula head as a guide for the proper portion size.

Healthy Steps is all about portion control.


You can turn thin potato slices into chips without the fat and salt in a matter of minutes in your microwave. Then season them with a little olive oil and herbs and you have the perfect healthy snack. Did I tell you that I couldn’t eat just one?


Brasa makes a line of ventless fireplaces – both large and small – and can be moved to any room in the house. I loved this tabletop centerpiece that is only $185. All of them were surrounded by glass panels that made for a rather striking embellishment.

NexTrend Products

I was fascinated by this GarlicTwist which is the straightforward answer to chopping garlic and ginger. I use enough of both to fork over a small amount of cash for this find. No wonder the GarlicTwist has won an unprecedented six industry awards.

Fusion Brands

I listed the food pod last year as a must buy gift for your favorite foodie for Christmas. This entire line is amazing and offers such fun products as the CrackPot and the PoachPod. Why didn’t I think of these?

Definitely on my short list of things to buy this year and the price point is right in line with a really tight budget. Most under $12.


My first pasta maker came from this brand name based in Italy. It’s a classic brand and I’m sure will be around forever. Never buy it when you can make it this fresh so easily.

Wine Monkey

Part of any kids childhood past, slip a Wine Monkey onto a bottle of red or white and you‘re covered. Guarantee that he will be the talk of the party.

Jamie Oliver

One of my favorite chefs has his own brand like every other chef. I really love the line – especially the denim placemats.

It’s so JO and perfectly paired with many of the recipes from my favorite cookbook Jamie’s America.

iD Cook

The Cookup200 solar grill from the French company iD Cook is a portable solar cooker meant to be taken out on the road. It can be assembled in minutes and folds up into a handy little carrying case.


When you pick up the ViCera ceramic knife, you are holding the perfect balance of new technology and old-world craftsmanship. These beautiful ceramic knives are made in Japan of an advanced, high-tech ceramic called zirconium oxide and is extremely hard and wear resistant, rating 8.5 on the Mohs scale - surpassing stainless steel (5-6 Mohs) and approaching the hardness of diamond (10 Mohs).

Don’t miss the 2012 show March 11th -13th at McCormick place.