Ninth Annual Supplies Awards
By: The Editors
if there’s really anything new in smallwares and tabletop/servingware
these days? You’ve come to the right story. From submergible
scales and rotisserie gloves to short-handled ladles and
pen-plus-thermometer combos, the items we handled in our
Ninth Annual Smallwares and Tabletop Competition added up to
one of the most diverse groups of products we’ve ever seen.
judges assembled at our Skokie, Ill., publishing
headquarters on July 12, we had sorted through both kitchen
tools and tabletop pieces, including tiny LEDs designed to
look like flickering candles. With the tireless help of
Editorial Intern Modesta Zapata, we had unpacked, unwrapped,
organized and arranged on tables some 87 total entries. That
included one eye-catching Tabletop display so large that it
did double-duty as an entry and as a display for morning
coffee and pastries.
forward to early afternoon, Competition Day. After much
animated discussion, the judges had agreed on nine
outstanding products on the Smallwares side from a field of
43 entries, and nine from Tabletop, out of 44 entries.
First, The Unofficial Awards
the editors who pull this whole shebang together each year
couldn’t resist giving out more unofficial pre-awards this
year. These included the Chinese Puzzle Box prize, given to
a supplier whose shipping department had cleverly and neatly
packed the five boxed parts of an elegant tabletop display
cooking set-up into one large box, perfectly filling the
space to the brim. That one was a challenge to repack, but
is the Assembly prize, which goes to suppliers in both
Smallwares and Tabletop. One product required Chief Editor
Brian Ward to bravely wield a couple of screwdrivers to put
one particular kitchen tool together. Another took
hardworking Sales Assistant Jessica Scurlock a good half
hour to fit together all the pieces so the product looked as
beautiful as its brochure.
not forget the Shoulda-Packed-It-Better prize, which went to
broken products in three boxes. Luckily these suppliers had
sent multiple items, so all was well where judging was
Exactly, Is A Smallware?
Smallwares as back-of-the-house tools, usually hand-held and
always free of motors, although we allow batteries in items
such as scales. Tabletop/servingware candidates include
anything that would be used on a well-dressed table or
buffet. To be eligible, products had to be new to the market
since the May 2005 National Restaurant Association Show, and
all entries were screened by FER editors.
year’s discerning panel of judges numbered seven in all. The
four operator judges included Kevin Appleton, executive
chef/faculty at Robert Morris College, Chicago; Robert
Bearman, Aramark’s retail director for
Loyola University’s Watertower
campus, Chicago; Heather Blume, general manager at
Chicago’s Hotel Allegro; and Jay Lovell, executive chef and
owner of Lovells of Lake Forest, Lake Forest, Ill.
the dealer side, we were pleased to welcome Monica McCabe,
table settings specialist for the Boelter Cos., Lincolnwood,
Ill.; Scott Pusateri, national account manager for the
Wasserstrom Co., Columbus, Ohio; and Sophia Rosillo, category
manager for kitchen and buffet smallwares, Edward Don
& Co., North Riverside, Ill.
judges to consider five points as they analyzed: How unique
or innovative is the product in its category? Does it solve
a problem? Does it enhance food or labor safety? Is it
durable? And, on the Tabletop side, how does it look?
competition was over, we donated both smallwares and
tabletop items—with supplier approval—to two Chicago charity
groups: St. Thomas of Canterbury’s soup kitchen, which
prepares meals for up 300 people at a time, several nights a
week; and the new kitchen at
Casa Norte, a group home for homeless teenage youth. Both
organizations were thrilled with the donations.
following pages give full details on both the winning and
finalist groups from the Smallwares and Tabletop