Normally in this space we talk about places where the meals are prepared while you wait. But with the Christmas holidays rapidly approaching, there will be a great many readers entertaining at home. More and more people are cooking at home these days, to be sure. We can all thank The Food Network and similar spin-off shows for the continued cooking craze which has reacquainted many people with their kitchens.
Such names as Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentis, Rachel Ray, Paula Deen, Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali and Sandra Lee have entered our homes and convinced us (with their magnetic personalities and sex appeal) that cooking is cool--and anyone at any level of expertise can do it.
Vicariously, we become these celebrity chefs with humble beginnings as couch potatoes.
For 22 years, the Stock Pot/Smalley Equipment Co., 7223 E. 41st St., has been in the business to outfit not only the home chef, but also Tulsa's professional chefs. It is a place to find pots and pans, gizmos and gadgets for all interested in cooking, baking and entertaining.
Locally owned, locally operated and locally connected.
Todd Neuman, Retail Manager, kindly greeted me as I entered the store recently to check out what's new on its shelves. He immediately mentioned that some top selling items are The Food Network celebrity chef line of products.
"People come in asking if we carry the Rachel Ray knives or any of the celebrity chefs' products," he said. "These are top selling items."
He pointed me in the general direction of these special lines of foods and cookware, right in the front of the store. I found Emeril's Stainless and Non-stick Stainless Cookware and Mario Batali's tools in such hip colors as Chianti, Persimmon, Pesto, Penne and Espresso (which I find fashionable). The Batali five-piece measuring prep bowl set looks particularly helpful and would look handsome in the kitchen when prepping.
Rick Bayless Tortilla Warmers are available in great colors for any table décor. Rachel Ray's wide smile greets customers with her line of knives. Some of Paula Deen's food products are shelved--the Vidalia Onion line of dressings--Peppercorn and Poppyseed, Vidalia Onion Peach Grilling Marinade, and Vidalia Onion Steak Sauce, Savannah Marinade, BBQ Sauce and Smokey Apple Cinnamon Sauce. Other product lines include Le Creuset, All-Clad and Bendes, a German cookware line established in 1921.
Philip Allyn, Marketing Director/Franchise Sales Representative, told me that The Stock Pot is part of Smalley Equipment Co., founded by Kell Smalley, which continues to keep many Tulsa chefs and restaurants stocked with equipment. Many of the restaurant-grade equipment, Allyn pointed out, are top sellers for many people who want restaurant-quality equipment in their kitchens, including heavy duty wire metal shelving--industrial size, he says, to hold items in the kitchen or laundry room.
He said top selling items included electrics by VillaWare, Cuisinart, Waring and Hamilton Beach, knives (they carry Dexter-Russell, Mundial, Forschner, Victorinox), knife sharpeners, cooking thermometers, stainless steel cooking equipment.
"We have a full range of skillets at all prices from $30 and a seven-ply material skillet for $200," Allyn said. "We can really fit you to what you want."
Just browsing around, I found many fun items that are perfect for the home and items that are often found at restaurants, such as the red or yellow oval plastic baskets for serving burgers and fries retro style.
Nordic Ware Cakelette Pan Molds for special occasions in the shapes of a castle, stadium, sweetheart pan, chrysanthemum, classic bundt, train and cathedral. Aisle after aisle the shopper finds many items perfect for home or which can be assembled in a gift basket.
Both Allyn and Neuman said many people came in and either built their own gift basket of items or had them assemble one.
"We sell many of these throughout the year, but especially during the holidays," said Neuman.
I found punch bowls, cake domes, food trays, stainless steel bowls of all sizes, condiment combination racks, toothpick vendors, rolling pins, Cambro food storage and food pans, chili roasters, tortilla presses, recipe cards--Asian cooking items, such as bamboo steamers, Sushi Magic Express Sushi Maker, tea pots, saki bottles and wire strainers.
Allyn and Neuman pointed out that what many did not know about The Stock Pot was the cooking school kitchen where chefs bake and cook in front of a live audience. Many book the facility for private parties, such as bridal showers, birthday parties and even business meetings.
The kitchen is fully stocked with all the essential appliances as in any kitchen, with front row seats and other raised seats along the three walls.
"Cameras like on Food Network project a view on screens around the room of the chef during the class for all to see," said Neuman. Cooking classes are held throughout the year, with seasonal classes during the holidays.
"It is more than watching," said Allyn. "People can also sample the foods that are prepared."
Neuman said, "The Stock Pot is a one-stop shop for home cooking and baking and where Tulsa chefs stop as well."
The Stock Pot
7223 E. 41st St.
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