Two weeks ago I flew out to Chicago to see the gargantuan Home & Housewares Show for the first time. I love Chicago and the show was really interesting in that it wasn't furniture or design centered, but service centered. Everything was closer to hardware store than to home furnishings shop, and everything was PRACTICAL. After two days of trolling (I barely cracked the show), here are my top finds.
>> Mr. Clean: This is a classic shot from the show: The Mr. Clean booth was front and center with people eating chunks of him on the last day!
>> Staub: These other famous cast iron cookware makers have a much more German approach to design and a really interesting under-cover design that allows condensation to fall evenly over your cooking. I loved the metallic coloring as well as the cast iron plates that were on display (and not on sale in the US yet).
>> Le Crueset: Coming on the heels of the tremendous popularity of Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia, Le Crueset reached back into their archives and have remade some of their older designs in their signature flame red (exactly the ones Julia used). In the pic you can see the original vintage versions side by side with the new ones.
>> Wilton: This famous cake mold maker was new to me, and I Ioved the crazy ingenuity that they put into making molds of all shapes and sizes. Here are some of their signature complex patterns as well as a skull mold for Halloween.
>> Demeyer: John Pawson is everywhere!!! While not my particular style in the kitchen, I thought these were daring and original. This is someone's cup of tea.
>> Zwilling J. A. Henckels: I LOVED these new knives, Limited-Edition 1731 Chef's Knives, designed by Matteo Thun. With German steel and a Japanese design influence, the things are beautifully formed and weighted. They are also very expensive. Definitely an aspirational purchase.
>> Miyabi: I got the full scoop on these firewood cutting blocks. While light to pick up, firewood carries oils that naturally protect against germs AND has a surface that will not dull your knife while chopping. Very cool.