November 17, 2016

Collaboration Approaches: Local Makers + Restaurant Chefs

Our food and our dishware are naturally inseparable. From the process of creating a meal to the delicious satisfaction of eating, it’s the ultimate kitchen love story: a cast iron skillet meets frittata recipe; ceramic crocks are introduced to grandma’s pickle recipe and sparks fly. So it’s no surprise that when chefs and makers collaborate, they produce equally incredible results. To show you what we mean, here’s a look at all the collaboration approaches happening at Boston Potter, Blanc Creatives, and HANK by Henry. Prepare yourselves.

The mastermind behind Boston Potter, Jeremy Ogusky, began making ceramics in high school and returned as a full-time potter later in life. Before his recent success in the world of pottery, he gave away his handmade fermentation crocks to friends and family. Their overwhelming excitement for his unique product showed Ogusky the demand for designs that catered to an audience of foodies. He hasn’t turned back since.

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From ingredient storage pots to restaurant plates, Ogusky continues to make pieces for food industry professionals through his #ClayChefCollab project. He also founded the Boston Fermentation Festival in 2013, uses his own crocks to ferment at home and run workshops while blogging about the process.

The small 10-person team at Blanc Creatives also knows a thing or two about designing kitchen goods for an audience of chefs and foodies. Founder Corry Blanc dabbled in restaurant work before returning to his family roots in the blacksmithing industry. Blanc and his team hand-forge carbon steel cookware that’s fit to last through many generations, which is why they’ve been hailed as “22nd Century Antiques” fit for instant heirloom status.

Like cast iron, carbon steel develops a rich, dark patina over time and works well from stovetop to oven. Each Blanc piece comes pre-seasoned and heat-treated with coconut oil so you can enjoy your pan right away. Just ask anyone of the local Charlottesville chefs who rely on Blanc’s unique kitchenware: these pans are built for culinary perfection.

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HANK by Henry is a collaborative approach between maker Allison Henry and chef Edward Ross in Portland, Oregon. Henry produces hand-turned hardwood chopsticks from local, sustainable sources, then hand-paints each pair and finishes them with beeswax. Needless to say, their adorable details and beautiful texture lend a magical vibe to Ross’ Korean-inspired dishes.

From deep, rich walnut tones to fun pops of color, this is one collaborative project that’s full of imagination. Each set of HANK chopsticks adds the perfect dose of whimsy to your noodle bowl, dumplings, or sushi plate. Each piece has their own unique charm including this Propped favorite, the Effie.

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When collaborators come together, fabulous things happen: in the kitchen, restaurant, studio, or shop. From the northwesterly hum of the pottery wheel to the southern heat of the forging hammer, projects like these get us excited for the future of food and kitchenware. We hope to see plenty more combinations of the two.

Follow our featured makers on Instagram here: @bostonpotter@blanccreatives and @hankbyhenry.

Do you know any maker + foodie collaboration approaches that we missed? Help spread the word on our social channels!