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October 2000
By Jennifer Hicks

SPECIAL REPORT: New Shapes, Cool Colors Woo The Judges
Seven winners emerge from our Tabletop & Servingware Competition, each one offering a design—and durability—to die for.

You’d expect good looks to get the nod in a tabletop contest, so we weren’t surprised when this year’s Tabletop & Servingware Competition judges used words like “sharp,” “trendy” and “fun” to describe the top vote-getters. But good looks aren’t everything, and the judges proved that, too, by honoring products designed for tough front-of-house duty.

Surrounded by 39 product finalists in the executive conference room at Edward Don & Co., North Riverside, Ill., our five specialists took on the judging with aplomb. They included two operators, Sue Becker of Briazz and Doug Hawthorne of Bank One Dining Services, as well as three distributors, Anne McCabe of The Boelter Cos., Richard Suwanski of Edward Don and John Sweeney of The Wasserstrom Co.

Tabletop and servingware items reached this final round in late August after a screening by our editors. We qualified only those products introduced after the May 1999 National Restaurant Association Show, and suppliers were allowed to submit up to three different products or lines.

Brass Handles, Huge Platters And A Square Cup
With scoring sheets in hand, our experts handled items with an eye toward tasteful and innovative design as well as the aforementioned suitability for foodservice. We feature the seven winners up front in this story, plus give you the low-down on the other finalists.

First, we laud the winners, in alphabetical order. Bon Chef took home a top honor for its Hot Solutions stainless steel displayware, which drew attention for high-quality construction. The brass-handled oval pieces also impressed for their high-heat capabilities—pieces easily can go from oven or steam table to the point of service.

“Sharp looking” and “pretty neat” said judges of Delfin’s winning plastic la Provence serving- and displayware, which is crafted with brass handles to simulate more expensive servingware. Judges gave the line high marks for construction and a go-anywhere design: “You could use this in c-stores, easily,” said one judge, noting the line’s versatility. Handles, mounted to white or black plastic pieces, are cast solid, plated with brass and coated with enamel.

Dudson U.S.A. came up a big winner this year, with all three of its submissions garnering top scores. First, its Tapa dinnerware, designed for Asian, Middle Eastern and Polynesian settings, received high marks for design. “A lot of Asian-oriented lines aren’t up to date, but this one is,” said one judge. “And it offers the durability we need.”

Dudson’s second entry, Geometrix 2000 salt and pepper shakers with vinegars, drew praise for distinctive shapes and colors. “Good for high-end applications,” said one of our experts.

And Dudson’s Geometrix 2000 cubical café au lait cup and square saucer entry won, as well, for its innovative look. The unique square design and bold color options make the pair ideal for eclectic, trendy coffee service.

Next up: Hall China. “Everybody’s trying to merchandise, and you can do it with these,” said one judge of Hall’s oversized platters and bowls. The ceramic pieces come in sizes to 22 1/4” long by 15 1/4” wide, making them ideal for HMR or retail displays, buffet or family dining, and catering. Fun, bold designs make the chinaware interesting; solid construction resists cracks and scratches and retains heat and cold as needed.

And rounding out the winning pack, we present the Columbus beverage carafe from Leifheit Int’l. U.S.A. “Feels good to handle,” said one judge of the egg-shaped, single-handed-operation carafe, which comes in 15 stylish colors. More important to another judge, the carafe holds beverages hot or cold for up to 20 hours, thanks to a double-walled glass lining. Leifheit is a subsidiary of Leifheit AG, a European specialist in ergonomic product designs


Read more about the Smallwares/Tabletop Contest
Fresh Thinking Smallwares Winners

3rd Annual Supplies Awards

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