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October 2001

SPECIAL REPORT: 4th Annual Supplies Awards

Nearly 90 smallwares, tabletop and servingware products made the first cut and headed for the finals, where our judges sorted through the lot and named 16 winners.

We can’t help ourselves: When the entries for our annual smallwares and tabletop/servingware competition begin arriving, we’re like kids on Christmas morning. Our editors rip into boxes, dig through Styrofoam peanuts, unleash bubble wrap and handle every single thing—frying pans, thermometers, wine glasses, platters…the list is endless. And we’re always thrilled by the new stuff.

As you would have been, too, if you’d been hanging around our office in July. We put out the invitation for the 4th Annual Supplies Competition mid-summer and then posted an editorial sentry by the door to handle incoming deliveries. As in previous competitions, several rules reigned: Smallwares are defined as back-of-house tools, usually hand held and motor free, while tabletop/servingware items fill a front-of-house need with certain design priorities in addition to functionality.

Meanwhile, eligibility required that each entry be what we define as new, meaning introduced to the market after the May 2000 National Restaurant Association Show. And our editors have seen it all at shows, so when the products rolled in, we quickly sorted through the lot and set aside anything we knew didn’t meet requirements.

In all more than 108 entries came through our door; from there we pared the lot to 89 finalists for the judging.

The Supreme Court Of Smallwares
Meanwhile, we set to assembling our panel of seven experts, a mix of operators and dealer salespeople with everyday experience in these products. We wanted folks who live and breathe smallwares and tabletop/servingware on a daily basis, and we found ’em: Maureen Burriesci, sales rep with The Boelter Cos.; Nydia Casas, v.p. of purchasing for Chart House Enterprises; Michael Cech, executive chef at The Weber Grill; Antoinette D’Ambrosio, smallwares manager, Edward Don & Co.; Peter Dipalomares, assistant manager of food and nutrition services, Rush-Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center; Dan Lindsey, sales rep, The Wasserstrom Co.; and Jim Simon, account exec, Edward Don. Six judges covered each competition, with D’Ambrosio and Simon stepping in only for smallwares and tabletop/servingware respectively. On July 25, we pulled up outside the main door of Edward Don & Co. in North Riverside, Ill., and unloaded two mini vans of products. Judges assembled, scoring sheets in hand, and we were on our way. On the pages that follow, we’ve gathered the 16 winners and dozens of others that made it to the finals.

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