Heirloom Kitchen

American Made Since 2013
2014 Wildcard Finalist

Neilly Robinson & Judy Rosenblum

Old Bridge, New Jersey
Heirloom Kitchen is a carefully curated purveyor of kitchenware, both unusual and renowned, as well as a venue for recreational culinary classes.
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Tell us about your business.

The idea sprouted while my mother and partner Judy Rosenblum were out to dinner. We discussed our love of food & cooking and sharing meals around big tables. My mother is an exceptional home-cook, constantly fine tuning recipes or driving to NYC for cooking classes. That night, she was soul searching—looking for a creative outlet. Our first thought was to host cooking classes directly out of her kitchen. That was the seed of our idea, and it took root. Meanwhile, I was working in fashion as an artists’ rep—successful, yet unfulfilled. I had already pursued two restaurant ideas in my free time that never came to fruition. I knew I wanted my own business, and this idea kept growing. We began exploring culinary schools, cherry-picking our favorite bits and mixing them in with our own ideas. We expanded our concept to include table top and cookware. Eventually, I decided that this was an all or nothing opportunity, and I quit my job to pursue it full time.

Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.

Heirloom Kitchen has a beautiful state-of-the-art kitchen; it’s the focal point of our space, but it’s not clinical or stuffy. We create a warm, inviting, casual atmosphere that sets people at ease, allowing them to learn (and have fun!) in a relaxed way—much like visiting a good friend who just happens to be an amazing chef. Aesthetically, my mother has a more modern aesthetic, while I am keen on spaces that feel a bit more rustic. We decided our space could be both and that the juxtaposition of styles would make the space unique and memorable. For example, we showcase a 1920’s Glenwood gas range and serve meals on a wooden farm table in a space lined with subway tiles and lit with hanging white pendants. Aided by floor to ceiling windows across two walls, we keep the space light and bright and unlike most kitchen stores, free of clutter. The store really comes to life when we host classes, dinners and private events. We love the buzz of a busy kitchen.

What inspires you?

We are inspired by everything around us—by the talented chefs and culinary instructors who come into our kitchen and collaborate with us, by our local farmers and purveyors, by our students and the enthusiasm they bring to each class and event, by the simple pleasure of sharing a delicious meal. For us, the biggest joy in cooking is sharing your food with family and friends. Ultimately, we are inspired by heirloom products, creative culinary discoveries, and the celebration of food!

What makes your business stand out?

Whether it be learning how to make the perfect pastry, picking up an unusual gift for a loved one, or enjoying a demonstration cooking class on Friday’s date night, Heirloom Kitchen offers a culinary center for all the foodies out there. With a keen eye for both form and function, high-end products are stocked side-by-side with just-as-savvy economical alternatives, presenting our clients with alternatives to the typical stock carried in an average chain store. In our culinary school, we provide the community with an inviting, unpretentious destination to explore and expand their skills as well as inspire them to enjoy their time in the kitchen as never before. There is nothing like bringing friends and family together through food, and we aim to make people’s time in the kitchen enjoyable and truly meaningful. In addition to the hands-on cooking classes and chefs-table dinners, we’re available for bridal registries, select pop-up dinners, and book signings.

What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?

Persevere. A dogged approach is necessary when going out on your own and opening up your own business. As amazing as it is to pursue your dreams, it’s not always glamorous and often completely exhausting! Persevere. Realize that your first idea—or second, third, fourth, or tenth!—may not come to fruition, but those experiences fortify you and sharpen your ideas. It’s difficult to compromise, even more so to cut your loses, but sometimes it is necessary. Markets evolve, and so must you. Don’t’ be discouraged. Don’t be deterred. Persevere.

What does American Made mean to you?

In addition to being home grown or manufactured, “American Made” connotes quality and integrity. We make sure the products we sell and the services we deliver meet this standard. In our cooking school, we source local, organic, and sustainable whenever possible. Our collaborators include Trinity Seafood who source from local, sustainable fisheries, Zone 7 who represent over 80 New Jersey farms, and most recently Whole Foods Market Marlboro who sponsors our pantry for select classes and events each month. In our retail store, we are proud to offer high quality American made wares from Hedley & Bennett (aprons), Paddywax (candles), Epicurian (cutting boards), Vermont Farm Table (rolling pins), Sugar’s Wood Crafts (salt & pepper mills), Mosser Glass (milk glass), Nordicare (bakeware), Screech Owl Design (greeting cards), and many more.

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