Top Shelf

Kitchen Window (612/824-4417 or kitchenwindow.com) is a gourmet store and cooking school located in the uptown area of Minneapolis. It is owned by Doug Huomoeller and his wife, Lia. He is president of the company and focuses on operations, and Lia is the creative director who works with the marketing and production, including web, social media and print. We spoke with Doug about what’s happening in the store and in class.

Fancy Food: Tell us a little about your store.
Doug Huemoeller: Our total footprint is nearly 20,000 square feet, and includes an 8,500-square-foot retail store, two indoor cooking schools and one outdoor cooking classroom. Our store has been in the same urban “mall” for 29 years and has expanded eight times.

FF: What kinds of cooking classes and demonstrations do you offer?
DH: We offer over 500 cooking classes per year. About 65 percent are participation style classes, 15 percent are demonstration classes and 20 percent are seminars. We offer classes on most topics including cooking fundamentals, grilling, international cuisine, baking, wine and beer dinners, healthy lifestyle and classes hosted by local restaurants.

FF: What was a best seller this past season and what do you predict will be a hot item for 2014?
DH: Best sellers in 2013 were ceramic non-stick cookware, I-grill and Rice Cuber. In 2014 we are looking for continued growth in the grilling and outdoor category as well as home espresso machines.

FF: What products or categories will catch your interest at the International Home & Housewares Show and how do you decide what kind of items to stock?
DH: We sell all categories of housewares, and we're always evaluating staple products as well as looking for interesting kitchen gadgets. We evaluate prodcuts based on trends, product quality, form, function and sell ability.

FF: What is your favorite part of your line of work?
DH: I love the diversity of my job. As an independent business owner, you wear almost every hat in the company and have done every job at one time. There is always a new challenge every day. That said, the most enjoyable part is teaching classes. It is extremely rewarding teaching new skills and techniques that open the world of food, cooking and entertaining

If you would like to have your retail business featured here, please email Claire Johnson, cjohnson@talcott.com.