Celebrity Chefs and Housewares… Oh My!

Let me just get this outta the way. From what I’ve seen and who I’ve met, despite their celebrity status, the chefs at the IHA show at McCormick Place in Chicago were a.) really down to earth, and b.) really good chefs. Morimoto transformed a daikon into paper thin pasta sheets with just a knife by peeling and turning. Todd English can chop an onion faster than I’ve ever seen, with precision and calm I can’t imagine possible in front of a good 300+ people.

The real part of the show was the exhibitors and buyers walking around. Of course big names were there, KitchenAid, Wusthof, Pyrex, Lodge, Le Creuset (new colors are black and white, and they look nicer than it sounds, I promise). These booths looked like they could cost between 3,000 and 40,000 dollars, it was all pretty impressive.

This was also the first year restaurants were allowed booths, which was cool. Buca Di Beppo, Goose Island, and Lettuce Entertain You were there. I’ll write an entirely separate post for it, but I was given free beer wooden nickels to Goose Island plus a bag of potato chips (ironic if you read the preview post…).

Anyway, on to the chefs, that’s all you probably care about.

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Housewares Preview!

Hey everyone, time to get all jealous.

My mom works at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago as a rep for furniture and home decor vendors (she’s the person who gets all the cool stuff you like in Crate and Barrel from the manufacturers to the store), and because of her connections, scored us two passes to the International Housewares Association show downtown at McCormick Place .  It’s basically a convention for all the companies that make kitchen gadgets and cooking tools and other housewares.

Fact: McCormick Place is huuuge and if we make it through the whole thing I’ll be amazed.  Fact #2:  Tyler Florence is keynote speaking about cooking in America or something worth repeating on this blog (downside: it’s at like 7:30am tomorrow.  I don’t normally wake up in the single digits, so he better be all that and a bag of potato chips or else I’ll be mildly grumpy).  Fact #3: MASAHARU MORIMOTO is gonna demo some knives from JA Henckles, and while I’m partial to Wusthof, I’ll put my differences aside to watch the IRON CHEF incarnate chop anything.

Stephanie Izard from Top Chef: Chicago and Todd English are gonna be demoing/talking about something too, in addition to a bunch of other awesome people (more chefs, cookbook authors, etc).

My mom claims Le Creuset will introduce new colors (ooooo!) and all the big names are there.  I’ve always wanted to go to Macworld or PMA or some other big nerd conference, but it’ll be cool to watch the kitchen geeks come out.  Their website says no cameras, but what kind of photojournalist would I be if I didn’t try to sneak some pictures of all the wonder and magic.  Worse comes to worse I play dumb, talk my way outta it in a scottish/german/australian accent (it’s the only one I know) and/or blame my mother.  I’ll write up a big story later in the week.

ALSO, apparently Gale Gand, pastry chef extraordinaire at TRU in Chicago (aka one of the coolest restaurants ever) lives down the street from me.  I’m gonna see if she has time later in the week to do an interview for the site.  Let’s get some star power up in here.