What does it mean to take cues from your favorite restaurant or chef when you’re cooking something at home? In the past, that might have meant buying a pre-made entree that you could reheat — maybe a pizza, or…a different pizza. Countless acclaimed chefs have written cookbooks that offer insights into their technique and methods of translating a signature dish into something you can make at a home kitchen.
But the pandemic accelerated another trend that existed prior to the days when COVID-19 was a ubiquitous term. In a new article for Eater, Naomi Tomky chronicles the growing array of restaurants that are selling branded ingredients for your kitchen. In some cases, this is done directly; in others, it’s done in partnership with a larger retailer.
As Tomky points out, this isn’t a new phenomenon — Paul Prudhomme was selling spices associated with his signature dishes in the early 1980s. The article points to the rise of Williams-Sonoma as having played an especially significant part in this phenomenon. “Williams-Sonoma was great at identifying the kinds of in-between products that lived partly in the restaurant space, but worked in the home kitchen,” Tomky writes.
There’s another good reason for restaurants and chefs to explore branching out into selling their own products; as Tomky observes, it’s a way to strengthen a business past times when, say, people aren’t dining out as often. All of which suggests that this is a trend that’s going to keep growing.
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