Cary, N.C. — Walking through Whisk could take all day. This kitchenware store in Cary's Waverly Place Shopping Center has everything you never knew you needed, and now, can't live without.
An example: I walked through the store with owner Dan Saklad. He introduced me to this pan that makes Ebelskiver filled pancakes, a tube that can cut grapes and cherry red tomatoes by just dropping them through it, and a pepper grinder that grinds automatically when you flip it over.
When Saklad and his wife, Diana, opened Whisk a year ago, their goal was to create a specialty retail store that also offered fun and new classes. They sought out to employ local cooks and not traditional sales peoples to work the floor. They also got a network of chefs and instructors on board to host classes including "Mastering Knife Skills," "Sushi Rolling," "20 Minute Main Dishes" and "Capturing Your Meal in Photos," which has become a breakout hit among restaurant owners, bloggers and others in the food industry.
The focus on retail and cooking is a perfect marriage for the Saklads.
Dan Saklad grew up in a family that embraced the local food and culture. The son of a successful business executive who traveled a lot, he was able to take in a variety of the world's food. He started out making his own lunch once a week and was soon cooking dinner for the family once a week. Although he pursued a business education, he attended culinary classes while getting his MBA from Cornell.
Diane Saklad was raised in a struggling Polish and Ukrainian immigrant neighborhood in Rochester, N.Y. Art, travel, food and hospitality were always major themes in her life. She attended Skidmore College in New York and has experience in the retail and service industries.
Dan Saklad said the two sat down one day at their Cary home and decided to come up with a list of what they would want in a business. The sheet became a blueprint for what would become Whisk.
The store strives to keep the most up-to-date products on hand. New items are delivered daily and if there is something that a customer has heard about and can't find, Whisk will gladly order it.
For the Saklad's, Whisk is about creating a community that will hopefully continue to grow in years to come.
In celebration of its one year anniversary, Whisk is holding several special events. Here's a rundown:
Friday, Sept. 19
- 6:30 p.m. Cooking Class: Global Tastes: Celebrating India, Turkey and Venezuela ($69)
Saturday, Sept. 20
- 10 a.m. - noon Cooking Class: Mastering Knife Skills, a technique class with Dan Saklad ($69)
- 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Coffee Beans and Coffee Machines: Learn about the world of coffee with Liz (Free)
- 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Food Tasting: Taste an assortment of foods from Stonewall Kitchen (Free)
- 1 p.m - 1:15 p.m. Everyone Loves Cake: Celebrate Whisk's one year anniversary with some cake (Free)
- 1:15 p.m. - 2 p.m. You Eat With Your Eyes First: Chef Jennifer gives tips to help make your dishes look more appetizing (Free)
- 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. German Knives vs Japanese Knives: Whisk's knife expert helps you understand the nuances between high-quality knives (Free)
- 2 p.m. - 3 p.m. Tools We Can't Live Without - The Microplane and Spiralizer: Learn how a few great tools can make your food look better and make your work in the kitchen easier.
Sunday, Sept. 21
- Noon - 1 p.m. Vitamix! - Taste some wonderful soup and learn how this machine is the true workhouse of the kitchen (Free)
- 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. Let's Twist Again - Learn about the Garlic Twist and you will never mince or chop garlic any other way. (Free)