Famous and Local - Kalamazoo Grill Artists0
Kalamazoo is a community filled with creative, innovative people, and companies. What we don't know is just how many thrive, and create here every day, having made the decision to call our community home. Regardless, each have a backstory and their reasons why and today we'd like to share one.
One such group of innovators and craftsmen work at Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet whose back-story began as a sheet metal product company in 1906 that predominately served the dairy industry. Today they produce gourmet, top of the line grills, pizza ovens, refrigeration, and cabinetry for those who love outdoor cooking. Although there was a generational shift in the focus of the business the deep commitment to producing the highest quality products remains here in Kalamazoo.
With innovation being at the foundation of the company's mission since the beginning, they still look for ways to do things better. Melissa York, vice president of marketing said, "We've never compromised and continue to consistently challenge the status quo. It's part of our legacy and our sustained commitment to our clients."
Part of the company's 'DNA' is pushing the limits in what's possible in outdoor spaces- it's part of their heritage that comes to life through their products. The unique design approach to product development has even created new industry benchmarks. Head of those developments is Russ Faulk their chief designer, head of product, and grill master that leads the charge. "His passion and mastery of live-fire cooking has led him to redesign every item in their offering to ensure it is the best possible design, performance, and quality in the category," said York.
One of the key grills to change the direction of the company was the Hybrid Fire Grill ?"? which allowed for cooking with any combination of wood, charcoal and gas. In the late 90's the founder's great grandson unleashed the skills of the stainless steel craftsmen and women and his own passionate creativity, to develop a huge departure in a very durable stainless steel grill. The outcome shocked the industry and a loyal following began.
Soon the birth of the first modular outdoor kitchen followed and the seamless rain gutter used to keep the outdoor kitchen cabinets weather tight were born from the gutter used previously to enclose dairy equipment once built at the company. New products have followed through the years that expanded the company's reach. They became known for their artisan pizza oven, which mimicked the heat of a wood-fired pizza oven, then came outdoor refrigerators and a wood-fired Argentine-style Gaucho Grill. And the innovation continues today with the release of a new gravity-feed charcoal Smoker Cabinet, and new design-focused Arcadia Series cabinetry, available in ipe wood or powder-coated stainless steel panels.
The results- over the years the word has spread and the company continues to have clients not only located throughout the country, they're across the globe! York shared, "It's a testament to the quality, craftsmanship and performance of Kalamazoo products. From renowned award-winning chefs to backyard grillers, our products provide exceptional craftsmanship that's reflected through the superior quality for our clients."
One famous owner of the grill is Jimmy Fallon who refers to it as the 'Kalamazoo'. This pet name is often used York explains, "We're so proud to have it as our namesake. We enjoy seeing residents and former residents of the area light up when they confirm their suspicion that we operate from Kalamazoo the place. There is that shared sense of pride of 'home'."
The process of making the Kalamazoo products is much like creating a piece of art involving many stages and whatever the product, the talent and attention to detail is unmatched. York expressed, "It really shines through in the final product, and it's what makes the products so special and truly one-of-a-kind." She went on to share, "One of the ways we celebrate our Kalamazoo craftspeople is including a plaque inside each grill that's personally signed by them."
To learn more about Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet make a point of visiting one of their dealer showrooms. There you will be able to see how everything fits together, different designs, and watch chefs create mouth-watering meals on the works of art- grills. Expect to find a company that is just as passionate about the food cooked on their grills and the wonderful recipes and cooking techniques that they share. For example, how about cooking grilled buttermilk hot wings or a grilled scallion potato salad- sounds great right?
With grilling season right around the corner, imagine what your outdoor kitchen redesigned and improved would look like-cooking on a 'Kalamazoo'. Just think- wouldn’t be great to have a grill created by local artisans and company. Contact Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet and have one of their designer's help you get started, because whether the weather is a bit cold now - grilling season is upon us!