Monday, September 22, 2014

Top Fall 2014 Kitchen Items at Sur la Table

If you've ever been in a Sur la Table, it's downright overwhelming.  If you have a lot of time and money, you could spend plenty of both there.  I tend to be a tightwad and am easily overwhelmed by their abundance. Therefore, I don't venture in too often. (Plus there's none really close by.) But this weekend I was privileged to go to the new Sur la Table headquarters in Seattle, Washington and they successfully made me want some new great items.

Our host was Doralece Dullaghan, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Public Relations. Doralece has been with Sur la Table for many years, starting with opening their second store in Berkeley. We also met with the CEO, Jack Schwefel, who talked about his history in retail and where the company has been and is going. 

But it was Jacob Maurer, their top merchandiser, that got me really excited by introducing us to some of the key products for the fall of 2014. I also learned some interesting new tips along the way.

KitchenAid's new items

These days it is tough to stay competitive when everybody can sell the same items at competing prices. To combat this, Sur la Table has agreements with companies to be the sole distributor of certain products. They have such an agreement with KitchenAid to be the only one to sell the Pro Line series and certain colors. The Pro Line series is designed with a retro look with rugged, sturdy construction. All of their pieces are heavy to ensure there is no wobbling or crawling on your counter top while in operation.

KitchenAid Pro Line® Electric Kettle

The new Pro Line Electric Kettle is definitely for those who are tea drinking enthusiasts. It has precision temperature control for getting your water to exactly the right temperature to bring out the best of your teas.  Not being a tea drinker myself, I had only recently learned that green tea is steeped at a lower temperature than black tea and floral and herbal teas have their own temperatures as well. 

It's not just for tea as sometimes a recipe calls for water to be at a specific temperature. No longer a problem with this tea kettle. It also features a cool touch exterior, dual wall construction to insulate and keep the water hotter longer, and a temperature gauge.

KitchenAid Slow Juicer and Sauce Attachment

I got into juicing and went from centrifugal, to Vitamix, to cold press. That's why when they said they had added a juicer attachment to the KitchenAid Mixer, my hand shot up to ask what kind of juicer it was. I was surprised to learn that it's a cold press auger system! Not only that, it has three different screens so that you can choose the amount of pulp/fiber you want to allow through! As the name says, you can also use it to make sauces. And it can all go into the dishwasher!

KitchenAid Food Processor Attachment

While this food processor will not puree or mix things like a full size version, it will do the most common tasks, you can slice, grate, and dice from your Mixer. Note that last one - dice. This processor will actually dice uniform cubes of zucchini or cheese! Like the full size food processors, this one includes a slide mechanism so that you can adjust the thickness of your slices on the fly instead of having to switch blades to change thickness. 

KitchenAid Pro Line® Cordless Hand Blender

While the Cordless Hand Blender might not be new, the KitchenAid version is new to me. I only knew of hand blenders with the single blade that could blend and puree. The one I own does not have adjustable speeds. This one has 5 speeds. It also has interchangeable parts. Five attachments can convert it to a whisk, food processor, shredder, and more. It has a high power lithium battery, like power tools do, so that you can use it for hours with no fading of power. You can purchase it with or without the attachments. 


Scanpan is a brand that was new to me and the CTQ line is also exclusive to Sur la Table. Scanpan is a company from Denmark and they feature pans that are made completely from recycled aluminum and have a non-stick ceramic-titanium coating that does not contain PFOA, the coating that people worry about. What's more, you can use metal utensils on it and it is dishwasher safe. It can be used up to 500 degrees, making it oven safe and able to sear and brown your meats, unlike other non-stick pans. They also work on induction cooktops. These are the pans that Sur la Table uses in its cooking classes, so they know that they can stand up to heavy use.

La Tourangelle Spray Oils

I wanted to put the La Tourangelle sprays next because of something Jacob shared tied into the discussion of non-stick pans. Apparently using aerosol oil sprays on non-stick is actually damaging to them, or rather, the chemical propellants in the sprays are. They bind into the pores of the non-stick coating and actually destroy the non-stick properties. The sprays you are spraying to make the food slip easier are actually doing the opposite. La Tourangelle has come out with a line of oil sprays that are 100% oil, nothing more. So when you need a light bit of oil, these won't destroy your non-stick pans. Sur la Table carries the extra virgin olive oil, walnut oil, and grapeseed oil.

Sur La Table® Vegetable and Fruit Spiral Slicer

Jacob told us that spiralizing has become such a big trend that they can't keep spiralizers in stock. For the first time in years, meat consumption has decreased. It's a sign of how people are starting to eat more vegetables. The spiralizer means you can create vegetable noodles to exchange for traditional pasta in recipes. Or you can shred. This one comes with interchangeable blades to create three different textures: ribbons, thick spirals and thin spirals or shreds. 

Cooking sous vide at home has become popular, especially with the availability of the new immersion circulators.  Sur la Table has an exclusive arrangement with Sansaire for their version. It's an impressive size weighing 4 lbs. and over 15 inches in length. You simply clip it to the side a large stock pot or bucket and it can be set at the target temperature you need for food. A motor circulates the water ensuring that the temperature is even throughout the container. 

Quirky Propane Monitor

This one is not available until around Black Friday (late November), but it is THE perfect gift for your grilling expert. It's a propane tank gauge with wi-fi. You place the propane tank on it when full, connect it to your wi-fi network, download the smartphone app, and you are good to go. What's it do?  It keeps track of the amount of propane in your tank and is able to accurately estimate the amount you have left, even adjusting to the temperature.  If you are grilling on High, then obviously it's consuming gas faster than at low. Quirky keeps track of that and can tell you when you need to go get propane and if you have enough to finish the meal you are making. 

And there you have it. Some great ideas from Sur la Table that you can give to your friends, family, or yourself. I will disclose that I was on the receiving end of the KitchenAid food processor attachment and I don't have a KitchenAid Mixer. Looks like I know what I'll be getting stuff (online) with my discount!

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