That Kitchen Place - A Toy Store for Foodies
● By Sandie Tillery
Now We're Cookin'April 2015
By Sandie Tillery
Photos: Betsy Erickson
It's all about creating an environment of hospitality around a kitchen counter. Enticing fragrances of spices blend with ingredients simmering in a sauteuse pan on the range, while Chef Pam Buono prepares and describes the dish of the week. Saturday cooking classes at That Kitchen Place in Redding fill up fast with men and women of all ages and gastronomic experience. The moment comes when, plated and garnished, dishes appear and highly anticipated tasting begins.
From products to food preparation, That Kitchen Place owner Sherry Chapman brags that her staff members know their business. When she bought The Galley on Hilltop Drive, an established kitchen boutique, she had no real cooking experience besides family meals at home. She had plenty of business experience from a long career as a hairstylist, but computer set-up, floor displays, ordering of products and marketing for her new venture, renamed That Kitchen Place, had to be learned the hard way, by trial and error. Eleven years later, Chapman has built a team of employees that she has been able to trust to run the store when necessary. Despite economic woes experienced around the country, Chapman’s business saw its best Christmas season ever in 2014.
The store’s 6,000 square feet of floor space feature a showroom displaying high-end products from tableware and décor to cookware and a treasure trove of kitchen gadgets. Two side rooms open up a world of spices and baking supplies, linens, aprons and cookbooks. The most popular area opens onto a full commercial kitchen where an ever-growing schedule of cooking classes are presented by staff, local chefs and other culinary experts. A fresh coffee and tea bar awaits customers as they arrive.
Bill Bania, a regular patron, says, “I can go into That Kitchen Place with a vague idea of what I need and I can always count on one of the staff to lead me in the right direction. The staff is knowledgeable about all aspects of food preparation, serving, storage and all things kitchen related. There is always something new or interesting that I hadn’t seen before when I walk through their aisles. Who knew there was a specific tool for peeling tomatoes? That Kitchen Place has one. And, yes, I bought one and it comes in handy during tomato season.”
Bania has also attended numerous cooking classes, including Chef Pam’s Basic and Advanced Pasta classes, Shopping at the Farmer’s Market, Basic Chicken,German Food, Hot Bath Canning and Cheese Making for Beginners. “You will not only learn from the instructor but also from your fellow classmates,” he says. “Everybody has useful techniques they have learned and share with the rest of the class. The classes are excellent beginner courses that have given me the knowledge and confidence to tackle just about any recipe.”
Sandee Betterton teaches cheese making classes from a down-to-earth point of view. She started with an interest that turned into a passion that has grown into an opportunity to share what she has learned on her own and through the inspiration of authors such as Ricki Carroll.
“My favorite place to be is in my kitchen. My next favorite place is at That Kitchen Place cooking and sharing my passion with other people,” she says. Betterton started attending classes and discovered a place she could help people learn from her 15 years of experimenting and skill-building as a homemade cheese maker. Her classes usually sell out early.
Chapman and her staff have used the store through the years as a place to give back to their favorite causes. A family of breast cancer survivors that include her daughter, her mom and grandmother has made breast cancer awareness their focal point as they have given time and resources to events in the area. The staff has supported each other and their community through the platform of the business.
Chapman quotes a motivational speaker from a recent trade show: “The face of the store is who greets customers when they first come in.” Chapman is spending more time this year “to get back to the heart of the store” and support what her staff already does well: Greet and meet and satisfy the needs and wants of her customers.
That Kitchen Place
975 Hilltop Drive, Redding