By almost every measure, the 2013 NRA Show was the most successful show Steelite has ever seen. Everyone had really great things to say about how nice the booth looked and how innovative the new products were.
It was a privilege to have several chefs masterfully plating food for us during the event. Also, all of the vegetables at our booth were provided by Chef’s Garden–a tremendous resource for chefs and restaurateurs! Chef’s Garden carries a vast range of sustainably grown vegetables and provides them directly to restaurants around the world.
Our Twitter contest at the 2013 NRA Show was a great success, with many great people joining in and engaging with us on Twitter. We would like to recognize the winners of our giveaway below. We found them all to be great folks sincerely interested in good conversation. We are honored to share with them some of our best products. Congratulations to the winners!
- @tirey won a set of Rona Vintage etched glasses
- @theoadley won a set Koto pieces
- @itstoni won a set of Bormioli Rocco Electra glasses
- @kkajdari won a set of Anfora Puebla
- @stevenmatkovich won new bakeware from Pillivuyt
- @thomasjraquel won a Trudeau salt shaker and pepper mill
- @philipspeer won a Crucial Detail Toolkit
- @bakeswithluv won flatware from La Tavola
We have to admit, we’re pretty proud of our team. ”It has truly been a team effort over many years,” said Steelite CEO Kevin Oakes. ”Everyone has stepped up to the plate. This award is recognition of the effort many people have put in.”
The Queen’s Award for Enterprise is seen as the UK’s highest accolade for business success.
Mr. Oakes also acknowledged our Made in Britain campaign. ”The business has been fully behind the Made in Britain effort, and this award can only add to that,” he said. “It underlines the quality of the workmanship and the integrity of the business. I think what sets us apart from other companies when we are selling to businesses abroad is the quality of the products, the excellent service we provide and there’s no question that the key driver to our growth has been design and innovation.”
Check out the full story in The Sentinel. Thank you, Queen Elizabeth! We’re honored.
As a proud sponsor of StarChefs’ Rising Stars, Steelite is happy to award three chefs the Rising Stars Plating Award. The winning chefs receive credit toward Steelite and an opportunity to select their own products from our vast line of tableware. This Steelite Award is presented to the chefs whose plating presentations garnered the most “Likes” from the Rising Stars Plating Award album on shared on the Steelite Facebook page.
1st – $2,500: Ashley Brauze of DB Bistro Moderne
2nd – $1,500: Aurélien Dufour of Daniel Boulud Restaurants
3rd – $1,000: Malcolm Livingston II of wd~50
Congratulations to the winners! We were blown away by the gorgeous presentations. Thank you to all of the creative, talented chefs that participated.
We’re proud to announce that the Sustainable Restaurant Association has recognized our commitment to sustainable business practices by certifying us as an ‘Approved Supplier’ for the hospitality industry. We’re even more honored that we are the first tableware manufacturer to be awarded with this recognition!
Mark Linehan, Director of the SRA said: “We’re really impressed by Steelite’s dedication to sustainability, in particular its excellent recycling policy, and UK production in Stoke-on-Trent that uses locally sourced materials.”
“Traditionally in the restaurant world, restaurateurs, chefs and consumers associate sustainability with the food on the plate without thinking about the plate on which it is served. Tableware is a crucial part of the whole dining experience and should be given the same level of consideration.”
Kevin Oakes, CEO of Steelite International, commented: “We’re really proud to be one of the remaining manufacturers at the heart of the potteries and as the largest manufacturer in the UK, we take our environmental policy very seriously. We continually monitor and develop the way we do business to create minimum impact on the community and environment.”
You heard it here first — gray is the new Craft.
Well, maybe not first. Since the unveiling of our new, gray Craft at The NAFEM Show in February, you might’ve heard some buzz about the rich, stone-like gray color. TableTop Journal even called it “a rock star for the hospitality tabletop world.” We’re honored!
Inspired by hand-crafted, simple country wares made by generations of potters over hundreds of years, our rustic Craft range embodies the beauty of rich, lustrous glazes applied by hand. Andrew Klimecki, designer extraordinaire and Head of Design and Product Innovation for Steelite International, is the creative talent behind Craft. As for the new gray color, the inspiration came from his visit last year to a slate quarry in North Wales.
This natural material has been over 500 million years in the making. The slate is so old that there are no fossils to be found in it, as the slate bed was laid down before creatures even existed. It is a beautiful, warm, chocolatey brown with a hint of purple.
“It struck me at the time that this colour would make an exciting introduction to Craft,” explained Klimecki. “It is at once in harmony with the other colours in the range, but also makes a strong statement when used on its own. It has the effect of amplifying the colour of any food you care to present on it, making it more appetizing and appealing.” He also noted that the new color has a slightly more contemporary feel, adding sophistication and richness.
Also available in blue, green, brown, and terracotta, it’s no secret that we’re smitten with Craft.
And the new color? There’s no gray area — we think Andrew hit a home run!
Ancient Inspirations: Exploring Japanese Expressions
with a Plating Artist
Take one look at the eclectic décor of famed Bay Area restaurant, Manresa, and it’s easy to see that Chef David Kinch has an eye for design. A long-time friendship with Steelite International America President John Miles has helped broaden his horizons when it comes to serviceware (a drool-worthy international travel schedule also provides a wealth of inspiration), so a recent collaboration on the new Koto line between the chef and manufacturer was a natural fit.
Asian Inspired, Kinch Created
Kinch started the creative process for his the collection by scouring artisanal catalogues and studying design elements he had seen on frequent travel in Japan. But he didn’t want to create a wholly Asian plateware line: “It was important that it wasn’t overtly Japanese or Asian but that it kind of played homage or hinted at a Japanese context,” says Kinch. Instead, he explored the Japanese concept of matching specific vessels to specific dishes.
“I tried to do a versatile collection. We wanted a soup bowl, flat bowl, and also a rice bowl, which you don’t always see in Western cuisine, but is easily utilized in Western cuisine,” he says.
Achieving a Natural Look
Kinch was also excited by the possibility of importing the European sensibility of off-white, organic shapes, and a potter’s feel. “I’ve always liked the hand-crafted experience—the imperfections, the beautiful imperfections, of each plate being slightly different,” he says. Working with Steelite’s Head of Design Andrew Kilmecki, Kinch created a manufactured line that included variations in each piece. “If you look at the texture, the pattern, you will see indentations, as if each one is hand-made, even though they are made in a factory,” he explains.
Breaking Color Boundaries
A versatile, organic collection was important, but Kinch also wanted to focus on the interaction between color and presentation. “I also wanted to try and work to take presentation to another level, as opposed to plain white plates,” he says. For Koto, he chose a palate of chocolate brown, cream, and copper, alternating the colors between the inner and outer panels of the plates to create a complementary and versatile set.
“There is an incredible warmth to the glaze. You could mistake it for ceramic with the different textures and the iron ore accent rim,” he says. “People are starting to realize it’s not only the food or the service, but also the plateware the food is served on that is important.”
Steelite International took part in the Habitat for Humanity Polar Bear Plunge on Saturday, February 16th, helping the organization raise over $22,000 that will go toward a house for a Lawrence County family in need. The temperature was a brisk 22°F, with Lake Arthur boasting a six-inch layer of solid ice.
We are so proud of our (very brightly costumed) team!
Check out more Polar Bear Plunge photos in the New Castle News article. Way to go Team Steelite!
When Chicago-based Chef Grant Achatz contacted Designer
Martin Kastner in 2003, a whole new approach to design was born. Inspired by Achatz’s modernist cuisine, Kastner creates serviceware that pushes the boundaries of perception, form, and function, finding solutions for Achatz’s service dilemmas. In Kastner’s “Landscape” series, the designer looked to nature for inspiration. “I had a few chefs ask for the same thing, a liquid-solid platform that was very unconventional,” explains Kastner. “I looked to landscapes, a place where it happens in nature, with rivers and valleys.” The designer created several versions—Mounds, Dune, Craters—giving chefs a variety of platforms and crevices to work with.
It’s fitting that Kastner’s firm is dubbed Crucial Detail—working on a new design is a many step process, requiring numerous iterations and versions to get the finished piece just right. With “Parenthesis,” a current work in progress, Kastner is working with the factory that replicates his plaster molds to get a perfect finished product. Although his original and factory samples are close, a few things still required tweaking when we stopped by his Chicago studio. “The contrast between the ripple, and the non-ripple part of the plate is not as pronounced as we like it,” explains Kastner, “and the proportion of the lid portion of the bowl to the vessel is a little bit off. Every project requires tweaks and adjustments,” says Kastner.
The Crucial Detail Toolkit offers the most radically different means of presenting food seen anywhere in the world today. A collection of high-strength metal, wire and glass is combined to create pieces which can suspend your food and your belief. “The Antennae for example, a self-serve skewer; We can really control how people will eat. There is this level of control from the culinary level; we have this tool that can control the behavior and it allows you to manage the experience.” says Kastner. The Toolkit is a truly inspirational way of presenting food, this collection epitomizes the design ethos of Martin Kastner – beautiful form with simple, intuitively identifiable function.
We think our Nick & Nora glass is a class act, but don’t take our word for it. New York Times writer Toby Cecchini described it as “…possibly the most perfect stemmed cocktail coupe I’ve ever come across.”
The Nick & Nora glass made Cecchini’s good gift list in his post Case Study | Cups of Good Cheer:
Rona Steelite Nick & Nora stemmed cocktail coupes
You may have seen them around if you go into swank bars these days. They seem to be the “It” glass of the moment, and for a very good reasons. These svelte six-ounce, heat-treated, non-lead-crystal glasses from Rona’s vintage “Minners” line are possibly the most perfect stemmed cocktail coupe I’ve ever come across. I have one (one!) and I make a drink in it every night. Styled upright to curtail sloshing and spilling, they seem demure, almost too small, but it’s a trick of the eye; six ounces turns out to be the golden mean for a cocktail — in fact it makes for a whale of a martini — just enough to not seem stingy, but not so much that it gets warm before you can tip the last drops back. Keep these in the freezer and brandish them just when your drink is shaken or stirred, to pour while they’re smoking with frost; it counterintuitively melts your guests.