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Be the best cook with expert assistance at The Cooks Marketplace

By: Gina Cronin, Gina.Cronin@gazette.com
December 1, 2016 Updated: February 23, 2017 at 1:47 pm
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Cookware is very personal. While a cast iron skillet is the ultimate kitchen companion for one person, a stainless steel or nonstick is more suitable for another. The expert staff at The Cooks Marketplace, founded by former executives of Chefs Catalog, understands that every single person has a unique cooking style that allows them to be the best cook they can be. The marketplace, which is having its grand opening celebration Friday Dec. 2nd through Sunday Dec. 4th, is the perfect spot for anyone — whether a novice cook or a gourmet home chef — to come in and find the right product.

CHEFS Catalog was in business for more than 35 years.  It was purchased by private equity and moved to Colorado Springs in 2005 and then sold to Target in 2013.  Target then made the decision to shut down the company in 2015.  “Why Target shut down Chefs Catalog, we will never understand; but we are excited to launch this new kitchenware retail business here in Colorado Springs,” said Jon-Michael Horst, President and CEO of The Cooks Marketplace.

The new shop is intended to be far more community-oriented. “The Chefs Catalog retail shop that was here in this location before was more of an outlet store, but we are taking it over and transforming it into the only true gourmet cookware store in town that also has a cooking class program,” said Horst. “We want to be friends in the kitchen, so any one can come into the store and say, ‘I want to try this recipe tonight, what are some tips?’ even if they don't buy anything. We want people to come into the store because they know we are the experts and are genuinely here to help and offer advice and tips.”

What really sets The Cooks Marketplace apart, aside from their impressive and extensive selection of kitchenware, is their staff. “Our staff is made up of the former buying and merchandising team from Chefs Catalog,” said Cortney Smith, Vice President of The Cooks Marketplace. “The staff are nationally-acclaimed kitchenware buyers in the industry, are incredibly passionate about kitchenware and their product knowledge is beyond what you’ll get anywhere else. We really want to help; if someone comes in and asks what kind of cookware they should buy, we are going to ask a lot of questions, like ‘how do you cook? what do you like to cook? what kind of cookware do you typically use?’ It’s not different from clothing shopping, we’re here to help people find a product that fits perfectly and ensure that they leave happy.”

A range of cooking classes are set to launch in January. Smith spoke with 20 local chefs and culinary professionals who will be teaching classes in their spacious and modern onsite kitchen. Some classes on the horizon include baking, nutrition, soup, sushi, vegan, Cajun, Jamaican, kid’s lessons, teen ‘Chopped’ competitions and more. There will also be beginner knife skills and cookware test drive courses that allow attendees to test out different cookware before making the commitment to buy. “We want to offer well-rounded classes that are continuously innovative and exciting,” said Smith.

The company will also be launching a fully functioning e-commerce website in the next couple of weeks, which will include online shopping with descriptions, reviews and specs, in addition to a blog and recipe portal with ample food related topics, trends and videos. All recipes posted on the site will be stringently tested before being launched, which is not a standard practice for many recipe websites. “Food is at the core of what we do,” said Smith. “We would like to become a community food hub. We are not just here to sell products, but to answer questions — just yesterday I hand wrote my overnight oats recipe for a visitor. It’s what we love to do.”

The grand opening, which is taking place Friday Dec. 2nd to Sunday Dec. 4th from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., will offer generous discounts on many favored items, such as top-notch knives, bakeware and stovetop popcorn poppers, and will feature ‘The Great Gift Giveaway’ all weekend long. Each day of the grand opening, the first hundred people to come into the shop and spend $35 or more will receive a free goody bag full of useful and quality kitchen gadgets. In addition there will be a giveaway featuring thousands of dollars’ worth of cook sets, cutlery sets and cooking classes.

The Cooks Marketplace is located at 4697 Centennial Blvd in the former CHEFS store by Marigold’s. To learn more, stop in to the shop, call 719-960-4414 or visit TheCooksMarketplace.com.

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