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October 2001
By Jennifer Hicks

SPECIAL REPORT: Understated Good Looks Mark Tabletop Winners

Eight winning products—all touting functionality and tasteful design—seize attention in this year’s tabletop and servingware competition.

We’ve wondered for three years now just how high we could fly with a tabletop and servingware competition. As you’ve surely noted the last five years, this is an equipment and supplies magazine; the majority of our last 45 covers have featured hulking stainless steel. Warewashers, ovens, fryers, you name it.

But of course tabletop and servingware items play an equally integral role in the foodservice industry, which is why we launched this competition in the first place. And if we had any doubt that the competition’s taken off—or any question that the tabletop/servingware market is thriving—this year’s record number of entries put those doubts to rest. Suppliers from around the world submitted 65 entries, versus 42 for the first contest in 1999, and many of this year’s suppliers took advantage of a rule that allowed them to sumbit up to three different items.

As in years past, we hosted the judging with the help of Edward Don & Co. in North Riverside, Ill. After thinning the entries—our editors disqualified products introduced prior to the May 2000 National Restaurant Association Show; this competition is about new products, after all—we hauled chafers, pasta bowls, martini glasses and the like to Edward Don’s executive conference room in late July.

And when we arrived, we met our judges: Maureen Burriesci, sales rep, The Boelter Cos.; Nydia Casas, v.p. of purchasing, Chart House Enterprises; Michael Cech, executive chef, The Weber Grill; Peter Dipalomares, assistant manager of food and nutrition services, Rush-Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center; Dan Lindsey, sales rep, The Wasserstrom Cos.; and Jim Simon, sales rep, Edward Don. Detailed profiles appear on page 33.

Using a simple scoring method, it took no time at all for our expert panel to survey the group and announce eight winning products. Judges evaluated all based on suitability and durability for foodservice; uniqueness and tastefulness; and innovation in shape or design. Like items were not compared to each other, but instead were judged on their own merit. Here we bring you details on the winning products, plus writeups of 35 finalists, one from each of the entering companies.

Nothing Flashy, Just Functional
Representing a wide cross-section of t-top/servingware items, each of the eight winning products drew attention for simplicity of design, understated good looks and ability to fit into any setting.

Judges looked favorably on the entry from Candle Corp. of America, a group of three new designs in the Ambria Table Lamps Collection. These designs—Contemporary, Eclectic and Traditional—make use of the company’s Crystalyte Liquid Wax, which is virtually odorless and provides a bright, clean burn. All three new designs offer a warm look for any tabletop.

Carlisle FoodService Products garnered recognition for its Mosaic Ramekins, a new line of two-tone items designed to offer a unique presentation. Made of thick-walled, heavy-weight melamine, these ramekins are ideal for serving sauces, butter, salad dressings and salsa. The line offers several color combos: black interior/terra cotta exterior; white interior/cobalt exterior; white interior/brown exterior; white interior/red exterior; and white interior/black exterior. Special stacking design makes for easy storage; dishwasher safe all around.

Chef Specialties received high marks for its nifty WingTop and Spinner spice mills, which feature unique double- or triple-turn tops. Playful Spinner pepper and salt mills feature a sleek, cylindrical shape and stand 41&Mac218;2” tall. WingTop models are 41&Mac218;4” tall for pepper and 41&Mac218;2” for salt. “Design is the difference here,” said judges, who gave these mills the highest possible marks.

Delfin’s Santa Fe line of serving- and displayware offers trays and racks in a classic Southwestern design. Green glass-look acrylic trays are etched with a simple floral pattern and placed on hand-forged black steel racks. The line offers two different trays—measuring 15” x 8” and 12” square—with their matching racks. Santa Fe pieces drew praise for their subtle good looks.

Glowmaster Corp.’s Portable Butane Stove impressed judges with its high-heat, wind-proof ceramic burner. Model GM-100 offers a stylish stainless look with piezo-electric ignition. There’s also a pressure sensor gas shutoff, and the unit uses clean, efficient butane fuel. The stove accepts pans up to 12” in diameter.

Service Ideas drew kudos for its winning Insulated Urns, a series of three polished stainless units with brass accents. These sleek urns come in 11&Mac218;2-, 3- and 5-gal. capacities; units stand 281&Mac218;2”, 251&Mac218;2” and 221&Mac218;2” tall. Made of 18/8 stainless and insulated with foam, the urns offer a high-quality, polished presentation.

Vertex China’s Pan Asian Pedestal joins the Rubicon line of white dinnerware. The pedestal measures 123&Mac218;4” in width and 91&Mac218;2” in depth and provides gentle up-sloping sides, all to provide a simple and attractive serving piece. Judges appreciated its clean look.

And winner Walco Stainless submitted its new long-handled buffetware. The 18/10 stainless line offers 12 pieces, including serving spoons, ladles and pie/cake servers. The design mirrors Walco’s Hallmark Collection Ultra flatware, which offers a classic rim design plus the versatility of coordinating with virtually any serving pieces. This buffetware also can be ordered in silverplate.

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