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Gear, and their testing


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Dear Mr. Brown (I figured I'd be consistant here):

You've been one of the few cooking writers and television hosts to feature "Gear," the stuff we work with, on a regular basis. Since I'm just starting in the retail end of "gear," I appreciate what you've written and presented.

How have you managed to keep up with what is out there in the marketplace? Do you have an infinate budget, to buy all the stuff? Do you con friends into buying it for you, and "borrow" when you can? Do you say "oops!" when something breaks, and hope they will forgive you? In short, how did you research GEAR For Your Kitchen?

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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Well, the truth is...I don't get to test that much stuff. Manufacturers do send us stuff to test but all too often it's not the stuff that you really want to get your hands on. I do not have an infinite budget at all which is why we really study and read and examine before we spend. Sometimes this leads to a lot of wasted money. Lately the problem has been electric fryers. I endorsed their use in a recent show and soon after we shot the episode, the fryers died. At this point I can't say that there's a single consumer-market fryer worth the stainless it's stamped from. The DeLongi completely crapped out and the folks at that company are completely uninterested in hearing our story. We've got a Warring on the way and have high hopes, but I have to tell you, 70 percent of the kitchen gear on the market is garbage. Of the remaining 30 percent I'd say that only 50 percent deserves a place in the modern American kitchen. It's very discouraging. The problem is that while some manufacturers seem only to compete with themselves (the good ones that is) most can only do battle by attempting to monopolize shelf space. They do this by adding "SKUs", that is they just make more and more product then do everything they can (dealmaking-wise) to push other makers’ goods off the shelf. Retailers like Wallmart make the situation worse (in my opinion) by driving companies to make things cheaper and cheaper. The constant need to expand forces even great companies to occasionally make crap. That’s sad too, because it means you can’t buy on brand and know that you’re getting the goods.

This is all starting to depress me, and I haven’t even answered your question.

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