From the kitchen school into the kitchen store
Katherine Forrest fell in love with kitchen retail when she was in culinary school. The opening of her new kitchen store Season to Taste in the Green Bay area is a dream brought to reality.
Located at 2300 Lineville Road in Suamico, Season to Taste is designed for home cooks and chefs of all levels. Season to Taste in Suamico offers a variety of quality kitchen tools, high-end pots and pans, cutting boards, and select gourmet foods. There’s even the occasional gadget – like a knife that uses the warmth of your hand to soften your butter for easier spreading.
After attending the Accelerated Culinary Program at Fox Valley Technical College, Forrest says she made some key discoveries about herself while in school that brought her to open a kitchen store.
“When you are a chef, you're in the back of the house,” she said. “You don't meet people, and I learned talking to people about food was my favorite part. I love talking to people about their cooking adventures – what they love to cook and what they want to learn to cook next.”
That realization led her to a job in kitchen retail where she worked for two years as a gourmet food buyer and coordinator of cooking classes. Throw in some catering work, as well as a chef stint at Alpha Delights in De Pere, and Forrest has a whole spice cupboard of cooking experience to share with her customers.
“A customer may come in looking for a mandoline slicer or a food chopper, for example,” Forrest explains. “I can help them determine which one is best for them based on their skill level and how much they want to invest. If they need a tool that slices four different ways, we'll talk about one product. If they need one that just slices thin, we'll talk about something different.”
Forrest says she spends hours deciding which products to carry in her store and researching which ones perform best before she will put the product on her shelves.
“I want my store to feel like an old-fashioned shop – where the owner knows every product, and it's not just about customers purchasing something. It's about customers taking home a product they understand and will enjoy using.”
To help her customers, Forrest makes certain she keeps current with cooking technology and trends. She asserts that in the culinary world today everything is focused on using the highest quality ingredients.
“The next step in preparing those prime ingredients is using quality kitchen tools. The right pan or the right whisk can make a difference in the final flavor of your food,” she says.
Having the right kitchen tool for the right dish is a lesson Forrest lived out in culinary school during her practical cooking final, a determining factor in whether she would pass the program. During the test, she opted against using the pans the school had stocked for student use and instead brought in her own Swiss Diamond brand fry pan.
“You were graded by a panel of chefs,” she recalls. “I knew the sear on my chicken breast needed to be just right, and to make certain I achieved that flavor I needed my favorite pan.”
Season to Taste carries those Swiss Diamond brand non-stick pans, along with some of Forrest's other favorite lines including Viking brand stainless cookware, USA Bakeware and OXO Good Grips.
Free weekly cooking demonstrations are offered in the store. In the coming months, store space is being remodeled to include a kitchen classroom where local chefs will teach classes. To stay up-to-date with scheduled demonstrations and cooking classes, follow the store's Facebook page: @SeasonToTasteStore.