About Us - ChefShop.com

about ChefShop.com
As Peter Kaminsky says in his book, Culinary Intelligence (Knopf, 2012), “Think before you eat, choose good ingredients, understand how flavor works, and make an effort to cook.” If you follow Peter’s philosophy for maximizing flavor per calorie and eat only delicious, flavorful foods, in the end you will be more satisfied with smaller portions while enjoying more one of life’s greatest pleasures – food. Or, to state it another way, I would rather eat a small amount of something extraordinary, than a lot of something mediocre; not only is it healthier for me, but I will be more satiated in the end.

But you can’t talk about exceptional food without talking about people; the people who grow or make amazing food products, the people who seek out those products and bring them to “the masses”, and the people who buy and eat those products in their restaurants and homes. If we learned anything in our high school economics class, it’s that it takes all three for a market to exist and thrive.

We have been supporting family owned artisan food producers who both preserve old and create new food traditions since 1997. It’s these small producers who keep us close to the ground and close to the roots of where our food comes from. It’s the creation and distribution of these original foods that helps those foods survive and thrive, and helps fight off the continued commercialization and mechanization of food production in the US, as well as the spread of GMO and nutrition-deficient foods so prevelent today.

At ChefShop.com, we live by the purity and provenance of our products; we travel the countryside to find the perfect Rainier cherry harvested at its peak of sweet, juicy lusciousness, or taste hundreds of chutneys to select the most perfect and delectable balance of exotic spices with tart, pungent, and fruity flavors made from locally grown fruit. We feel that delicious, quality foods nourish our bodies and our minds in equal measure.

But, the quality of our food doesn’t tell the whole story. We also work closely with the farmers and artisans who share everything from freshly harvested emmer to individually dipped chocolates with us. We care about supporting family farms and preserving real foods. And, we care about sustaining small purveyors by bringing their handcrafted, hand-grown products to market.

When you buy from ChefShop.com, you are getting the purest foods made by family producers whom we’ve individually selected for the quality of their ingredients and their adherence to tradition and purity. It’s mouth-watering food born from passion and commitment.

eat simply! live well! ©

Searching the World for the Best Artisan-Produced, Sustainable Foods and Ingredients


Located in the Interbay area of Seattle, Washington, ChefShop.com was started in 1997 by a small group of passionate food-lovers with a very big mission: To change the way people think and feel about the foods that they eat. We were going to do that by finding the very best-tasting foods from small farmers and artisan producers from around the world -- especially from growers and craftspeople who see the connection between the way the land is maintained and the quality of the food they produce -- and make these products available to customers, wherever they live.

genesis:
We felt that the industrialization of food production and mass market dominance of food distribution here in the U.S. had led to a noticeable degradation in the quality of food available in this country, most noticeable by its lack of flavor and potential healthiness. We recognized that this sorry state of culinary affairs was due, in significant part, to the breakdown in the traditional, sustainable methods of growing and producing foods. In 1995, Tim Mar and Seattle food promoter, Mauny Kaseburg, produced a video for children called Earth to Table. The idea was to help children feel more connected to the food they eat, and understand where their food came from; highlighting local farmers and producers who work hard to grow, harvest and deliver the food that we buy at local farmers’ markets and grocery stores worldwide.

“There is more awareness now, but in 1997, no one really knew or thought about where their food came from.
Many kids thought that food came from grocery stores already wrapped in plastic.
Now, there is much more awareness, but still the conversation circles around fresh ingredients, and pantry ingredients are still largely neglected.
We still have so much to teach people when it comes to food,"
- Eliza Ward, Owner & Founder


From these humble seeds germinated the idea for a content-only website for the Microsoft Network (MSN), and in 1997, Mauny’s Kitchen on MSN was born. Then, in 1998, we launched an e-commerce website on Yahoo Store. Finally, in early 1999, we married content with commerce and launched ChefShop.com, the first education-focused, content-driven e-commerce site focused on real food.

“It was a novel concept at the time … and still is, for that matter. We actually think information is a good thing when it comes to food.
If more people understood where grocery-store food actually comes from, they could make better, more informed choices!”
- Mauny Kaseburg, Food Promoter


in search of the very best:
We research and taste every item we sell. Less than one in 100 products make the final grade. Our selection criteria is intentionally high; we want to know who makes it (we like to work with nice people), how the products are produced, and what ingredients are used. And, of course, it needs to taste great. It is a exploratory process we share with our customers.

Because our focus is on traditions, both old or new, and on hand crafted foods and ingredients, our producers are often extremely small, located in remote places, and do not have mainstream distribution or modern brand management. This can create a bit of a bind for inventory, as often a producer is out of product until the next harvest. But we try to roll with the seasonal punches. It is, after all, how real food is and how real food should be eaten.

serving local Seattle customers:
Our customers are food lovers who realize that there is more to food than what they see on their supermarket shelves. To help their local customers learn more about the products that we sell, we opened a brick-and-mortar retail store in late 1999 that included an olive oil, balsamic and wine vinegar tasting bar, as well as separate tasting stations for honeys, sea salts and jams.

“This is the one of the only places I know where you can taste the product before I buy it.
It is simply a better way to shop for food.”
- Tim Mar, Owner & Founder


expanding on the traditional production concept:
In 2002, we started offering a small selection of artisan-produced fresh foods, such as tree-ripened fruit from Central Washington, smoked-to-order free-range, naturally raised turkey, and seasonal Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese from Italy. What sets ChefShop.com apart from other retailers is that they work directly with the grower to get the absolute freshest, most flavorful products possible. Every piece of fruit we sell is left on the tree until it is actually ripe. It is picked at its peak, and then packed and shipped the next day. No early harvest or long-term cold storage for our fruit. It’s like eating fruit right off the tree!

In 2003, we added sustainable Alaskan and Hawaiian seafood to their list of fresh products. The fish is line-caught, properly processed on the boat (so that the fish is not stressed), then packed and shipped to our customer within 24 hours. Not only do we support sustainable fishing practices, our fish arrives far fresher than anything one could get in the typical grocery store, even in ChefShop.com’s native Seattle.

ChefShop.com today:
ChefShop.com offers a seasonal selection of the very best artisan-produced foods and fresh products from around the world. The majority of the products are handmade using pure, natural ingredients, and traditional, often centuries-old, techniques and recipes. Products include a broad selection of domestic and imported estate olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and exotic and hard-to-find spices and herbs. They also offer a growing list of fresh food items, such as tree-ripened fruit, wild Alaskan salmon, smoked-to-order organic turkey, made-to-order artisan chocolates, and seasonal Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses from Italy.

Freshness, purity, healthiness, tradition, value, consistency, knowing the provenance of each product, and most importantly, flavor are ChefShop.com’s criteria when deciding what products to offer our friends; our customers.
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