This fall, Woodbury is welcoming a store that will have any food-lover bursting with excitement. Sur La Table, the Seattle-based kitchen store, is joining the CityPlace lineup, bringing the top tools to Woodbury kitchens.
For those who haven’t been to the Edina store, or haven’t heard of the store, district manager Jen Johnson says they call themselves “a hardware store for cooks. There are a lot of other people in the business who sell the same types of product we do, but our selection of tools is amazing,” she says. It’s a destination for people who love to cook and entertain. “It can be the weekend cook, it can be someone just learning how to cook, and we also have the quality for professionals.”
Sur la table is French for “on the table,” Johnson says. “Anything to do with putting food on the table, we carry.” The new Woodbury location will look much like other locations across the country, and will carry the same products. The difference between this and the Edina location, however, will be that Woodbury will feature cooking classes. “The cooking classes offer a variety of different types of cooking, but all the cooking classes are built around techniques,” Johnson says. So while the class might be about cooking salmon, “there also will be tips and techniques on what the difference would be if you cooked a slightly different fish.”
“Our most popular class is Date Night,” she says, which is perfect for an actual date, or simply a night out with your sister or best friend. Several different Date Night options are offered. Kids’ Camp will be featured in the summer, and classes will be available during local school breaks around holidays.
Private events can be booked as well, for anything from bridal showers to corporate events. And anyone can book. “We had people sign up for a family private event, and then someone proposed,” Johnson recalls.
Sur La Table chose Woodbury because the Twin Cities is growing rapidly, “and we wanted to get into a different area where people maybe weren’t going to get as much exposure to the Edina area.” And the CityPlace development was a perfect opportunity for that. “With Woodbury growing so much and the development that’s happening there, that’s where we wanted to be,” Johnson says.
Johnson has been with the company for seven years, and has enjoyed every moment. “I love Sur La Table because the people who work here and the customer who comes in both share a real passion for food,” she says. The staff regularly brings in dishes for their co-workers to try, and “they love to talk about where they went on their last trip and the new dish they tried or a new technique they learned.” It’s about the passion for food and entertaining with family and friends, she says. “There’s nothing more personal than cooking for someone you love.”
Whether you’re putting food on the table for family, or simply cooking for yourself, Johnson has a few tools of the trade that will make your time in the kitchen go smoothly.
For baking, nothing can beat nonstick pans. “Great pans make all the difference in how your baked goods turn out,” Johnson says. Another tool for baking is actually an ingredient. Madagascar vanilla bean paste “is a product that people come back for again and again, and professional pastry chefs come in for. It’s a really high quality vanilla; it’s delicious and makes a huge difference in your dishes.”
“We always say for cooking, the top thing you have to have is a great knife,” Johnson says. A chef’s knife should be your first knife, followed by a paring knife. “People come in and they think they have to buy a whole set and we actually tell them, ‘Start with one, make sure you love it and you can build from there.’”
This year, one of their best-selling tools has been the spiralizer, available as a hand-held tool or as a Kitchen Aid attachment. “It started out with people wanting to either eat gluten-free or low carb, and you can take vegetables and turn them into pasta,” Johnson says. But it’s also great for making salads fun again, and it’s a great tool for parents of picky eaters. “Because the kids will eat the carrot when it looks like a curly French fry, as opposed to when it looks like a carrot.”
The staff favorite, and something that sells rapidly, is their Marca Verde extra virgin olive oil. “It’s actually made in Italy exclusively for us,” Johnson says. It has won awards for its flavor, and comes in a large bottle for $9.95.
Tom Douglas BBQ rubs, made by Seattle chef Tom Douglas, are also top items. There are several rubs for meats/flavors; they double as dip, mixed with sour cream or cream cheese. “We actually sample it on popcorn,” Johnson says. “So they’re pretty versatile.”