“Nothing should detract from the skill of the chef or choice of the sommelier. The character of the restaurant should be enhanced by the elements it contains rather than dominated.”
When interviewed on Shari Bayer’s’ Heritage Radio Network show last month, I requested that ‘All in the Industry’ shift some of the tableware focus to glassware. Dinnerware and “the Art of Plating” has usurped social media in 2015, while other tabletop items seem to have been pushed into the background. With this in mind, I decided to focus my September column on the most intimate of all foodservice products.
Let’s start with the basics: Glassware is made in two simple steps. 1. Raw materials (Silica sand and a myriad of chemicals) are heated and mixed and then 2. Formed and molded. Simple enough, right? Glass simply shapes its content and makes it visible.
Most of today’s foodservice glass then receives some treatment to enhance durability or create a decoration. As a distributor, I don’t actually make anything. (My chef friends like to remind me of this on a regular basis…) However, a distributor has the unique privilege of bringing together manufacturers and skilled artisans with industry trendsetters who set the hospitality landscape. The lucky reps, like me, get to work directly with factories and customers to play an integral part in the creation process on both ends.
It’s time we focus on the items that touch us. Here are some glassware trends that have me licking my lips.
NUDE Glass, a seductive new company born to create lead-free crystal for hotels and restaurants in the 21st century is designed to underline character without changing essence. “Nothing should detract from the skill of the chef or choice of the sommelier. The character of the restaurant should be enhanced by the elements it contains rather than dominated.” Created for the rigors of foodservice, the majority of the collection is machine made. However, just as the name alludes to, each piece is intended to subtly blend with its surrounding, honoring and adding to the ambiance in the most simplified fashion.
Part of the Hospitality Glass Brands umbrella, just like NUDE, Forum Hand Crafted is a new collection that I have helped design with the Pasabahce team. Handmade glassware for hand crafted cocktails… #LookForTheHand on new shapes with unique metal accents.
In addition to adding gold or platinum decoration, we have the capability to mix material. Match is a new partner of ours that integrates pewter. For the most elevated presentation, engraving is also available.
Looking to customize glassware at a more affordable price? Steelite encourages personalization on almost every one of their foodservice items, especially glass. Etching any item for just a $1 premium can be done in a few short weeks in New Castle, PA. Steelite changed the game with their lace and dots designs… now look out for further inventive collaborations at Star Chef’s 2015 ICC or create your very own.
“In an ever increasing waste conscious culture, reusable water bottles are still a hot item.” Support an interactive and environmental trend with an extensive and innovative offering from Luigi Bormioli.
Another new collection launching later this fall that I have been a part of? Chemistry from Libbey Glass. We have partnered with cutting edge mixologists to develop creative vessels reminiscent of days in the science lab.
While Rosenthal may not be known for their glassware, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge deep color options from Arzberg. Bold pantones are not just for plateware this fall.
Finally, Cardinal, synonymous with quality glass, has added new SKU’s to almost all of their existing collections. Just one small update can change an entire tablescape without spending more or sacrificing durability.
I challenge you to question everything on your table, just as Ron Arad did when he created his collection for NUDE Glass with two-in-one stems. We now have the unique ability to source or create anything you dream of. Allow me to prove it. Visit www.littlemtucker.com.