Many of our readers know basic facts about Sur La Table: founded in Seattle, over 100 locations nationwide and counting, stores full of people who truly love to cook. But do you know what famous movie we almost appeared in, what every employee does on their first day on the job, and what truly unique (and edible!) office fixture we’ve become known for? The following are some fun, little-known facts about us:
- Sur La Table was not our company’s first name. It was Fromage et Formica, to celebrate the original owner’s love of all things dairy and popular kitchen décor of the times. The name was hastily changed to Sur La Table before our first store opened in Pike Place Market in 1972. Needless to say, we think they made the right call.
- Every new Sur La Table employee’s first day on the job begins with a pourover coffee ceremony. It’s our way of saying welcome.
- In the iconic steps scene in Rocky, Sylvester Stallone originally held a Sur La Table 12″ sauté pan up in triumph. Rumor has it he’d been using it throughout filming to sear small fowl. Unfortunately for us, the scene was re-shot in post-production to feature only his fists.
- Our VP of Creative Services holds annual planning meetings for our catalog in his modern treehouse kitchen, perched high in the hills of scenic Forks, Washington. We were there first, Twilight.
- The Resident Chefs who teach our cooking classes participate in a culinary boot camp of sorts as part of our hiring process. They must complete a name-that-knife exam, blind stir-fry challenge, “Gruyère Gauntlet” (a name-that-cheese test, basically), and other activities designed to assess their skills and knowledge when it comes to all things food and cooking.
- Every rep in our Customer Service Center wears a chef’s hat and pencil-thin moustache while on customer calls. Quirky, n’est-ce pas?
- Our Cookware and Cutlery buyer, responsible for our fantastic assortment [blogger’s note: and my Staub problem], was a contestant on “Stainless Steel Chef,” a reality TV show that aired in Australia in 2009. She was named the winner after the reigning champ quit amid rumors of rusting.
- Sur La Table was the presenting sponsor of a short-lived “Croissantathon” in Seattle in 1993.
- Our corporate headquarters boasts a life-sized statue of Julia Child in the reception area… made entirely of extra-sharp cheddar! The temperature in the display area is kept to a brisk 41 degrees to comply with all state food-handling standards, and the statue is switched out monthly.
- Sur La Table holds the world record for largest quiche ever baked, in a parking lot outside our Duluth store in 1986. At 238 feet wide, it could be seen from planes flying overhead. The recipe used for the quiche was later lost, but according to legend, it was Lorraine.
Aaaaaaaannd #11: We love a good gag. Happy April Fool’s Day, everyone!