The Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium at the Brandon Crossroads shopping center celebrates in August its sixth anniversary, a small business for Karen and Dave West that followed their like ventures at malls in Brandon and Westshore.
But the store at Badlands Drive, just north of the eastern entrance to the Westfield Brandon shopping mall, differs in one huge respect. Along with the store’s 3,000 square feet of gourmet retail space, the Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium features a 1,000- square-foot “Culinary Center” that allows for cooking classes, demonstrations and special events.
Also in the 4,500- square-foot store is a smaller, demonstration bar ideally suited for special events, such as an exploration of wine- and-food pairings.
The Culinary Center features a three cooking stations and space for up to 35 people to look on, with three cameras, a built-in stereo and five monitors to showcase the finer details of the cooking and baking under way.
Special events include private parties, corporate team-building initiatives, charity fundraisers, celebrity chef demonstrations and competitions, incluidng the recent Iron Chef competition involving culinary arts students from local high schools.
The hands-on aspect of the store, coupled with the gourmet foods and ingredients and tools and gadgets for sale, is a perfect fit for the Wests, who find a different reason for embracing the retail culinary concept that defines the Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium.
“I find it relaxing and I love the creativity part of it,” Dave West said. “I like it when people take home [what they’ve learned], do it themselves, and come back to talk about it, especially when it’s things they wouldn’t normally eat.”
The need for such an education is great, Dave West said.
“We now have two generations of people who haven’t cooked,” he said. “They heat their food up in the microwave or eat out at casual dining [restaurants].” Cooking for yourself and with better ingredients, he added, “is better for you and gives you a greater variety.”
As for Karen West, the part she loves best about the Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium is the chance it affords her to hone her entrepreneurial skills and buy the latest products and gadgets that best meet her customers’ tastes and needs.
“But I love the tools, too,” Dave West said. And if people develop a taste for better cooking, he added, “ they’ll probably want to have better tools.”
For a full list of classes, special events, chef demonstrations and gourmet foods and tools available, visit Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium online. Rolling Pin is in the Brandon Crossroads shopping center at 2080 Badlands Drive. Call: 813-653-2418.