Wednesday, March 14, 2012

International Home + Housewares Show

Knowing the lay of the land was key. I covered more ground in a shorter amount of time than last year. I was no longer a rookie…so I thought. 

On Saturday, I spent three hours wandering the floor just to get a sense of what was. Saturday night I drafted a plan.  

I got sidetracked more than once from that plan on Sunday. Lucky for me, I found plenty of willing participants to help and made a few new international friends in the process.

There are so many international visitors at this show you wonder what country you are in every time you turn a corner and hear another language.
I am still amazed that this show draws 60,000 attendees, 2,000 exhibitors from 35 countries, 15,000 U.S. buyers, 6,000 international buyers from 100 countries on 6 continents: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa.
This year, the recipe was Collapsible and Colorful…the new color being tangerine.

Any shade of orange is the color of moment and I especillay loved the fact that my new orange Kitchen Aid stole the show at the Cooking Theater where celebrity chefs such like Cat Cora, Paula Deen, and Ming Tsai brought their magic to the culinary kitchen.

One of my favorites was chef Rick Tarantino who, with his staff, was the perfect comedy team to bring the audience through five rounds of crockpot cooking.

I never endorse products but these items made me think about replacing some of the things I currently have - or do not have - in my kitchen.
Zyliss: Endless Kitchen Gadget for Any Budget

From graters and other kitchen tools to salad spinners, wine accessories, openers, and utensils, I am sold on this line not only for the functionality and durability but also the price point.

You can replace or add a lot to your gadget drawer and still have money leftover for lunch at one of Chicago’s cheap eats.

Two of my favorite chefs, Jamie Oliver and Ken Hom, are part of the brand.
Mastrad: Thermo-Sensor Spoon
This measuring spoon was created to eliminate those extra steps by combing a removable electric kitchen thermometer with a spoon.
You’ll never complain again when you are trying to master chocolate.
Another one of my preferred lines, they were a finalist for the first annual International Housewares Association Innovation Awards. Their fat-free Topchips™ Chips Maker was my favorite at the show last year and now comes in a variety of really fun colors

Kitchen Advance: The AquaChef
Cooks food sous vide style. Simply vacuum- seal, select temperature, then place the bag in water. Best of all a suggested retail price of the AquaChef Oven and accessories is $159. A lot less expensive than other Sous Vide style ovens which retail near $500.

This cooking method has been around Europe since the 70’s. For those of you who don’t know, Sous vide is a method of slow cooking food in vacuum sealed bags placed in warm water at low temperature. I have a friend thay swears by this cooking method.
Japan: Two Companies  = Beautiful Tableware
Two companies let me in on their efforts to come back on the 1st year anniversary of the tsunami. Their tableware was some of the most beautiful in the show.

Naked Pan by OIGEN. Founded in 1852, they are celebrating a 160th anniversary this year. I really loved some of the stove- to- table items and these teeny-tiny pans by western standards are the perfect answer to cooking and eating much smaller portions.
I appreciate great Asian food and the tradition is no more remarkable than eating off the exquisite lacquerware of Matsuzawa Takuo.

I will buy these pieces just to get the Ahhhhh-factor from my dinner guests.

Marna 51: Rice spoons. Who else sells at the Museum of Modern Art?

Camerons Products has a whole line of BBQ items including this pan which my brother Terry made a celebrated, picture perfect chicken a few weeks back.

The most eye-catching pan of the show (and I was looking for it) was from Chefs Toolbox. The como advanced Wok with steamer was stunning and if I had $199.00 to spend right now, this would be in my kitchen.

Some other great new products were:

Paper Bakeware by Welcome Home Brands

Tear off napkin by My Drap…honestly, these tear-offs felt like the real deal.
Lunchskins…reusable snack and sandwich bags.
Poachies…perfect poached eggs in a bag. And you thought you didn’t know how to poach an egg.

The ALL IN ONE by Krups…a bit pricey at $2,500 but totally on my wishlist.

Jamie Oliver’s Thermo Spot is Tefal's unique heat indicator that lets you know when the pan is pre-heated to the right temperature to seal in the flavour of your food. Is this easy or what?
I first saw these on NBC News Saturday morning and knew that this was the perfect cookware for someone like my nephew Patrick who is just becoming a skilled chef.

LeCreuset’s new Marseille Blue is stunning (especially if you have been to Marseille and seen the blue sea) but the red cookware I received almost 30 years ago, and still now looks brand new, is their most popular color.
The Celebrity factor? Mario Batali was bigger than ever as was Curtis Stone and Joan Lunden.

Coming back next year? You bet.

I’m just wondering who thinks up all of this stuff to make our life in the kitchen painless and so much fun.

Now, if only I could find my smart spoon.

Bon Appetit!