I’m a kitchen gadget junkie. As a former professional cook, I’ve always been keen on the latest tool, knife, technology, whatever–if it applies to food and cooking, I want to have it! I used to shop at Big Eric’s, now I do most of my “collecting” on line, but I still love to browse in kitchen supply stores. There’s nothing quite like the quickening of your pulse when you spot something you’ve just seen in a magazine, and you can pick it up, hold it, weigh it in your hand, ponder its uses and finally, decide whether or not it’s worthy of a space in your collection.
My favourite shop for doing such browsing is the Cookhouse, which opened in Bedford, in Sunnyside Mall, about ten years ago. Many wondered if there was really a market for the home cook to support such a store–there certainly was. Over the past few years, other stores have arrived and I’ve greeted each one with enthusiasm–and left disappointed, to return to the Cookhouse.
Cucina Moderna is the lastest kitchen shop on the block, and it recently opened in the Cookhouse’s former Sunnyside location–the Cookhouse has moved to bigger digs in Dartmouth Crossing. Although CM has been around for a bit, in “the city”, I’ve not had a chance to visit. With it’s arrival in Sunnyside, I’ve had ample opportunity to form an opinion.
I don’t like it. Not one bit. It’s cold looking, sterile, almost museum like in appearance. It’s as though you can look all you want, but don’t touch. The store is not merchandised very attractively, it doesn’t encourage browsing, and I have to say that neither do the staff members that I’ve encountered there. It’s simply not approachable, and emanates an aura of “haute kitchen couture”, as though the items on display are meant as decoration, not for use.
I quickly beat a hasty retreat to the Cookhouse, to chat with the friendly, knowledgeable staff (Hi, Barb!) and spend time looking, touching, handling, pondering.