Rachel’s recap of the 2018 International Home + Housewares Show

The IHHS crew! #selfiestick

Here we go again!  It’s March and you know what that means?  The International Home + Housewares show!  Something I look forward to every year and since this is my third time attending, I feel like I’ve gotten a lay of the land here, but this year I felt a bit “distracted”.  What do I mean by that?  Well, in years past, I was focusing so much on taking as many pictures (for this blog of course) but this year, I was more focused on networking and making new connections, especially trying to get as much swag as possible (not as much this year, boo) but also trying to get merchandise to review on this blog and my other blog, riskyveggie! But overall, here are my thoughts…

It seemed to me that there weren’t as many of the “smaller” guys – ya know, the booths of the new companies, it just felt like a smaller section of the back of one room (room = MASSIVE hall at McCormick place), and the larger conglomerates just outweighed everything else.  So, needless to say, I didn’t strike up as many connections since I just wasn’t feeling it – and much harder to do so from the bigger companies (oh hi Vitamix!  Want to give me a free product that I can review?  Yea…in my dreams). 🙂 So sadly, not as much swag, BUT I did end up getting TWO free desk air purifiers!  Not the prettiest thing around, but hey, maybe I’ll offer one as a giveaway?

But luckily for me, the celeb chef sightings were in full swing this year.  And note to self – next year I probably won’t do a full Instagram live from Chef Cat Cora because it took longer than I expected, plus it totally drained my battery.  But, was great to meet her anyway (for those of you wondering, she is so petite in person but absolutely stunning).

Chef Fabio Viviani (yes, you know him from Top Chef) was back at at this year and its become a tradition to have him throw raw pasta dough at us (Ellie and me) and get my annual photo with him.  Just the nicest guy and so patient as literally every woman in the audience waited to take a selfie with him (I mean, he is easy on the eyes).

This year, some new additions to the live cooking demos!  Christopher Kimball (you know him from Cooks Illustrated), Chef David Burke (culinary pioneer), Geoffrey Zakarian and French chef Ludo Lefebvre (from Top Chef Masters as well) – I didn’t catch Ludo or Geoffrey but caught a quick glimpse of David Burke.  If I spend two whole days at the event, then sure, but it’s just impossible to see every booth, every product in just 8 hours!  EEK!  Of course the next day featured Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, so bummed I missed her!

One of my favorite booths that caught my eye was a French cutlery company called Sabre.  It wasn’t even the most fancy display – it was just simple cutlery but with funky colored handles – hot pink, yellow, turquoise blue and tortoiseshell.  Just so simple, unexpected and elegant.  You can shop their store here!

So while I didn’t necessarily think it was the BEST show I’ve been to, it was pretty beneficial to talk to some partners about our upcoming Chicago Kosher BBQ competition as well as networking with new companies to review their products – I love supporting small businesses so stay tuned for some product review and giveaways!

And, big shoutout to Gavriel Prero for sharing his photos with meatyourvegetables!

Can’t wait for next year (oh and yes, we’re already registered)! 🙂

-Rachel