Friday, August 16, 2013

Business Spotlight on For the Chef - By Michelle Libby

Just off Route 302 in Windham, there is a hidden gem for anyone who likes to cook, shop for cooks or has a kitchen. For the Chef, located behind Stone Dog Café, is packed with hundreds of different tools for the kitchen.

“Once you open our door, the showroom explodes into a chef wannabee’s dream,” said owners James and Vicki Stokes. For 17 years For the Chef has sold commercial and professional products to restaurants and to the general public. “I like to brag. I am Windham’s most interesting store,” said James.

From a wall of small kitchen gadgets to lobster and clam preparing and eating supplies for the chef can take a cook from start to finish on any number of culinary projects.

Want to make your own pizzas? It has different types of pizza pans, stones and cutters. Into cake decorating? There is a whole section of decorating supplies from Wilton coloring gels to supplies to build a five-tiered masterpiece. Need barbeque tools? For the Chef is your one stop shop.

“Everything I have is practical. I cater to the restaurant trade. They need heavy duty stuff. Heavy duty is my middle name,” James said. He said he could also outfit an entire restaurant from silverware and knives to frying pans and stockpots.

His favorite items are a cheese knife that nothing sticks to, a gasket-less pressure cooker and a 4-in-1 digital timer that can time four items at once. For the Chef also has a large selection of Maine products including many flavors of Maine sea salt, Maine cookbooks and pepper grinders made by Vic Firth in Newport. Each month the company features different products.

James was a cook in the Army for eight years, and still loves to cook. His background is as a purchasing agent for a large company in Portland, where he worked with his father for 50 years. He’s always nearby for consultations and suggestions.

“We may be out of the way, but once you find me…people will never forget me,” said James.

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