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October 2002 [updated March 2003]

By The Editors
SPECIAL REPORT: 5th Annual Supplies Awards

A stunning number of entries—more than 130 in all—flooded our office for this year’s Supplies Competition. But only 17 came away with winning accolades.

They came, they saw, they scored. With due diligence our cadre of judges—Ty Dassler, Tracy Franas, Joe Palumbo, Jim Schulze and David Shea, all profiled below—took on the task of judging a record number of entries in the 2002 Supplies Competition. The contest that started in 1998 as a fun project for editors and suppliers alike has evolved into a serious event with logistical challenges galore. Try getting more than 130 products shipped into your office, then moved to a hotel conference room and set up for judging, and you’ll understand what we mean.

But once those products were out on their tables, oh, the time we had. Judges wandered from item to item, discussing the merits of innovation and fresh design. Dinnerware, stemware and flatware all were handled with an eye toward good looks and functionality, while smallwares—everything from thermometers and a strainer to knives, storage boxes and a pineapple peeler—got a workout from judges looking for commercial-kitchen durability.

At the end of the morning, our five judges left the Hampton Inn & Suites in Skokie, Ill., having named 17 winning products—six in the smallwares category, and 11 from the tabletop/servingware group.

As in previous competitions, we hewed to several rules: Smallwares are defined as back-of-house tools—often, but not always, hand held, and certainly motor free—while tabletop and servingware items fill a front-of-house need with certain design priorities in addition to functionality.

We required that each entry be introduced to the market after the May 2001 National Restaurant Association Show. Our editors sorted through the lot of submissions and set aside anything that didn’t meet our requirements, ending with 45 eligible finalists in smallwares and a whopping 80 eligibles in tabletop/servingware.

And so it was that we editors and the judging pros gathered in mid August ’02 just a stone’s throw from the editorial hub of Foodservice Equipment Reports. On the pages that follow, we’ve prepared separate stories on each competition, complete with details on the 17 winners and tidbits on the finalists they faced on judging day.

Click Here For More On Smallwares
Click Here For More On Tabletop

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