Hot Stuff

Oven-to-table inspires culinary sales
By Jessica Harlan

It’s just as beautiful on the dinner table as it is adept at baking casseroles, roasting vegetables, braising chicken, or baking a dessert. Oven-to-table pieces are growing in popularity as home cooks seek versatile, multifunctional pieces for convenience and aesthetics.

Le Creuset

Le Creuset

With oven-to-table pieces, “you can take a cooking vessel straight from the oven to the table for serving,” says Sara Whitaker, brand manager – stoneware for Le Creuset. To serve a meal, she adds, there’s no need to transfer the food from the cooking vessel into a serving bowl or platter – just set down a trivet, and it’s ready to serve.

“We describe our oven to table ware as the fait tout, which means, in French, ‘does everything,’” says Tara Steffen, marketing manager of Emile Henry USA. And indeed it does. “We offer unsurpassed cooking qualities and our designs are so attractive that they can be placed on the most casual or most formal dining table.”

Materials Matter
Oven-to-table collections are made of materials that are specifically developed to withstand high cooking temperatures. In the case of Emile Henry, burgundy clay, known for its superb heat diffusion and retention, has been used to make its products for more than 150 years. Emile Henry’s high resistance ceramic is oven-safe for up to 518˚F. Le Creuset’s nonporous stoneware is designed to be durable, easy to clean, and resistant to stains and odor absorption.



Another popular oven-to-table manufacturer exhibiting at AmericasMart is Pillivuyt, which is made of durable, chip-resistant porcelain. “Pillivuyt porcelain is fired at 2,400˚F, so putting it in a 550-degree oven is no problem,” says Alice Title, president of Pillivuyt USA. “You can even use it on the grill or under the broiler.” The company even has a new line, called Ulysses, that can be used on direct flame such as a stovetop or on an induction burner. Meanwhile, Revol porcelain is also fired at a high temperature—1320˚F for 8 hours. “That process allows the pieces to be resistant to thermal shock, and oven safe up to 572˚F,” says Tenaya Da Silva, vice president of sales and marketing for Revol.

Convenience Counts



Sometimes metal cookware is pretty enough to qualify as oven-to-table. Case in point is the nonstick aluminum cookware from TVS-America, which is designed to be used as serving vessels. The cookware is oven safe up to 350˚ or 450˚F, depending on the piece, and includes collections designed by Karim Rashid, Angelo di Porto and Alberto Meda. “These pieces are designed to save time,” says Diane O’Donnel, national sales manager – North America for TVS-America. “Serving dinner from the oven eliminates having to wash extra serving dishes.” Many of the company’s designs are dishwasher safe and have a nonstick finish so they’re easy to clean by hand as well. In fact, most oven-to-table pieces are just as easy to maintain, a boon for busy cooks. Most are dishwasher safe, and are coated with a durable glaze that won’t scratch when scrubbed.

Aesthetics Work



The sky’s the limit with regard to what home chefs can cook in their oven-to-table pieces. Beef stew, braised vegetables, a cheesy casserole… in many cases dishes can be prepared ahead, refrigerated or even frozen, and then cooked when needed. And, of course, basic pieces or specialty pieces can also be used for sweets and other baked goods: brownies, cobblers, breads and more. For retailers who have a kitchen, nothing beats a live demonstration on the qualities of the pieces. Says Da Silva of Revol, “We have a chicken roaster that is perfect for demos.” A whole chicken, some vegetables, and garlic baked in the roaster, for instance, makes an easy demonstration that will showcase how easy the pieces are to use.

Manufacturers are responding to the customer interest in oven-to-table by increasing their assortment. Colors to suit all tastes and decorating schemes, multifunctional pieces, and specialized shapes, are among the many offerings that have grown this category. Le Creuset, for instance, has a new rectangular dish with a lid which doubles as a platter, and can also be used on its own as a baking dish. And Pillivuyt already has nearly 2,000 items in production, but is gaining traction in some of its unusual pieces such as its brioche mold and other specialty baking shapes.

Selling Oven-to-Table
These tips and talking points can help retailers promote their oven-to-table offerings.

Emile Henry

Emile Henry

• Play up fun details about the company. For instance, Emile Henry potters wear a bracelet with which they stamp their initials onto the pieces they create.

• Create a rainbow. Many companies, such as Le Creuset, offer their products in a wide array of colors. By showcasing the entire spectrum, you add color and visual interest to your display, and give customers the option to pick one that perfectly suits their décor.

• Show off the versatility. Include pieces in tablescape vignettes with other cookware and with gourmet foods to show how these pieces are workhorses but also complement beautiful dinnerware patterns and table linens.

• Take advantage of manufacturer’s point-of-sale materials. Pillivuyt offers brochures and shelf talkers. “These help explain the quality and justify the price,” says Title. The company’s “Pillivuyt University” also rewards salespeople who educate themselves about the product. “Nothing sells Pillivuyt better than a store worker who knows, understands, and loves the product,” she says.

For more information: Emile Henry – 302.326.4800,; Le Creuset – 877.418.5547,; Pillivuyt – 952.474.4016,; Revol – 678.456.8671,; and TVS-America – 716.863.5200,

Images courtesy of Emile Henry, Le Crueset, Pillivuyt, Revol and TVS-America

Kitchen Inspiration in January

The kitchen is the heart of the house, so AmericasMart created a forum to showcase some of the latest housewares and home entertaining concepts at the January 20120 Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market.

The Kitchen Inspiration Gallery included five high-style, inspirational kitchen vignettes featuring Kitchen & Housewares as well as Living & Entertaining: Gifts, Tabletop & Accessories products from a variety of exhibitors. Located in Building 2, near AmericasMart’s state-of-the-art Demonstration Kitchen, buyers could see a variety of styles: casual family, formal elegance, traditional European, modern oasis and metropolitan wet bar.

The vignettes supported AmericasMart’s position as a leader in the Gourmet & Housewares segment with more than 400 of the top lines, representing  the industry’s best. As consumer demand grows, the nation’s premier global market continues to entice premium brands to be part of the product center.

Vignettes were sponsored by Founders Kitchen & Bath, Blanco, Cowan Plumbing Supply, Delta, DuPont Corian, Cosentino Silestone, Dacor Appliances and Top South Countertops. 

Guest Blogger Janis Johnson Dives Into Gourmet

JanisJohnson4-28 highresWhen I opened my retail store in the 70s, gourmet was a new trend – not yet established as a full-blown category. Because of that trendiness I marketed the shop as a gourmet gift store. This brought in customers who were not necessarily thinking about cooking and would not be intimidated if cooking was not their forte.

Entertaining at home has mushroomed into a giant concept for consumers, with the Food Network and other cooking channels encouraging the home chef – whether advanced or novice – to enjoy cooking and to experiment with tastes and flavors. If you recognize cooking as an important pastime for many of your customers, adding kitchen wares can become an additional profit center for your store. Even if you personally are not a cook, you very likely appreciate good food and everything required to bring food to the table. You can cash in on consumer interest by bringing in shelf stable foods that are ideal for tastings, or try special pans that fit a current cooking style.

Gourmet Catalog can help you with decisions about what to carry, how to merchandise your assortment, and also create an expansion plan to put in place down the road. By working within your own comfort level, you can grow and expand at the pace that works best for you.

Gourmet Catalog membership includes more than 200 store locations nationwide. Well-established in the industry, we work with top vendors; and because of our 30-year history, we also appeal to companies with hot new products – which gives our members the chance to be first at bringing them to the marketplace.

Catch up with Janis and learn more about how to successfully incorporate kitchen wares into your gift store on Friday, 16 at 8:30 a.m. when she and Mary Moore present “Catching Up with the Kitchen Trend.” The presentation takes place in the Gourmet Kitchen on Floor 8 in Building 2 WestWing.


Alton Brown Draws HUGE Crowd for Presentation and Book Signing

AltonBrownKimemAlton Brown, star of Good Eats and other renowned shows on Food Network, had back-to-back appearances at AmericasMart this weekend. On Saturday, he performed in the Gourmet Kitchen on Floor 8 in Building 2WW for a record crowd. On Sunday, he came back for a book signing. Buyers started lining up at 9 a.m. for his 10:30 a.m. start. And, the line wrapped around the 8th floor! The first 100 buyers received a free book! Alton signed his books and took pictures with fans for more than an hour! We hope to see Alton back in the future!

If you were one of the hundreds that got to see Alton, post your pictures on our Facebook page!

Eager Buyers Shopping in September

The Atlanta Fall Gift & Home Furnishings Market started with a rush Saturday morning. Registration lobbies were filled with buyers eager to sept-09-mkt-reg-linehit the floors. While many were looking to fill in sparse inventories prior to the holiday rush, a group from VerdeGo – a design and garden center in Bunnell, Fla. – was in Atlanta to buy for a new store as they expand to a second location.

There were plenty of educational opportunities for buyers to gain new skills early on Saturday.  Home retailers heard bsket-class-1industry experts’ advice about how to grow business in a tough economy. Crafty buyers learned to creatively construct gift baskets that will thrill customers while garnering strong profit margins. And one of the most popular spots of ga-sm-seminar-21the morning was a social media seminar explaining why smart retailers should make the most ofopportunities to speak to customers through Web sites, Facebook, Twitter and every other possible medium. Foodies learned from one of Atlanta’s top chefs, Shaun Doty in the state-of-the-art Gourmet Kitchen in Building 2 WestWing. And in the afternoon, the much anticipated Best of Atlanta winning gourmet products were revealed.

Sunday sets up to be just as busy with another Gift Basket basketsUniversity class; ample opportunities to source exceptional product from both permanent and temporary exhibitors and get ready for a promising holiday buying season.

June Apparel Market Wrap-Up

apparel1AmericasMart turned up the heat at the June Apparel Market with the debut of sizzling new lines and hot celebrity appearances.

The 3rd Floor Young Contemporary category continued its development with several new lines, including Freeway, Black, Inc., Belinda, Genesis, Kan Can Jean and One is Greater than None and more.

The June Market was a hot spot for celebrities as well, with appearances from stylists to musical groups. Mark-Alan Harmon, celebrity stylist and television personality, came all the way from Hollywood to introduce his new line of closet accessories, appropriately named “Closetry.”

Another celebrity favorite, manicurist to the stars Myrdith Leon-McCormack, set up shop during Market to pamper buyers with free, celeb-worthy manicures while promoting her new line of “celebrity inspired” nail lacquers.

Other special attendees included members of the rap group Nappy Roots and Bravo Television stars, Lisa Wu Hartwell and Sheree Whitfield, from “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

Celebrities in the Market Temps

Check out these special guest appearances in the Market Temporaries this July:

Jeanne Bice, creator of Quacker Factory Apparel, will make a special appearance to debut her Moments to Remember charm jewelry collection. Buyers can meet Jeanne in person Saturday from 12-4 p.m., Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Monday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in Building 3, 4th Floor, Booth 4-1318.

Dutch Van Kirk will sign autographs at the Century Concept International booth (Building 1, Floor 7-D-37), a company that specializes in military and aviation collectibles, on Sunday, July 12from 2-4 p.m. Van Kirk is most recognized as the navigator of the Enola Gay, the aircraft that dropped the first atomic bomb.

Edward Walker, designer on the popular television show Trading Spaces, debuts his new pillow line at the Cuddlebugs-n-Cocoons booth (Building 1, Floor 7, Booth 7-O-04) Friday, July 10 from 2-4 p.m.

Bobbie Weiner, also know as “Bloody Mary,” is an internationally known make-up artist, recognized for her special effects make-up for the dead, floating actors in the movie Titanic. Weiner will sign autographs and promote her comic book series at the Bloody Mary booth (Building 2 West Wing, Floor 4, Booth 4-209) every day during the July Market.

Edward WalkerBobbie Weinerwendypicbigger