Hestan founder Stanley Cheng details why great chefs like Thomas Keller choose the brand.
A leading visionary brand in cookware and commercial and residential kitchens, Hestan Culinary is embraced by America’s greatest chefs, such as Thomas Keller who uses Hestan cookware within his lauded restaurants including The French Laundry, Bouchon Bistro, Bouchon Bakery, Per Se, Ad Hoc, Addendum, La Calenda and The Surf Club. Within his famed The French Laundry, many of the commercial appliances are Hestan.
Keller worked with Hestan founder Stanley Cheng, an engineer by training, to inform the performance and design of Hestan Commercial, the custom suites and ranges of which are now found in 1000+ restaurant kitchens across the country, as well as at the legendary Culinary Institute of America, Johnson and Wales, and The White House kitchens. ICONIC LIFE was fortunate to recently tour The French Laundry kitchens with the engaging Cheng:
ICONIC LIFE: Innumerable Michelin Star and celebrity chefs clamor for your cookware and commercial appliance suites, not only because of performance, but because of your personal response to individual requests and specifications. How does it feel to be so ‘in demand’ by the world’s culinary giants?
Stanley Cheng: “I’m humbled and gratified by the favorable acceptance from restaurant chefs/owners and consumers on Hestan products.”
Chef Thomas Keller
ICONIC LIFE: How did your partnership with Thomas Keller originate?
Stanley Cheng: “I have known Thomas Keller for some 20 years and we both wanted to work together for years. Thomas always wants to offer the best. When Hestan products were introduced some seven years ago, we got talking and came to an agreement for him to become the Hestan brand ambassador.”
ICONIC LIFE: Why do these chefs prefer your product over other high-end brands?
Stanley Cheng: “Professional chefs want not only innovative features and the best performance, but they also want appliances and cookware that look great, as many of them want to show off their kitchens to patrons as part of the dining experience.
Hestan cookware is sought after by consumers that want the best stainless steel due to our exclusive patented NanoBond technology. ProBond and CopperBond also offer unique technologies and benefits. Hestan is all about high performance innovative technologies.”
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The Hestan Thomas Keller Insignia Collection
ICONIC LIFE: You are an engineer by training. How does your engineering background translate to cookware?
Stanley Cheng: “I’m a mechanical engineer by training. It arms me with curiosity and engineering sense to tackle consumer/user problems in search of creative solutions.”
ICONIC LIFE: Your cookware collections are not only high performance, they’re beautiful. How much importance do you place on aesthetics?
Stanley Cheng: “High performance cookware with unique technologies are costly to produce. We strive to deliver user satisfaction by matching performance with pleasing aesthetics. The high mirror polished NanoBond is necessary to achieve the easy clean performance. Hestan NanoBond is a safe and permanent easy clean stainless steel cookware covered by multiple patents around the world.”
Hestan CopperBond Collection
ICONIC LIFE: Hestan’s manufacturing plants are based in Italy, surely a more expensive place to produce. Why is it important for the brand’s products to claim Italian provenance?
Stanley Cheng: “The Hestan 27-year-old Italian factory has the best automated high-tech manufacturing equipment and processes, many developed in-house. It is Italian engineering at its best.”
ICONIC LIFE: Hestan, along with other ICONIC luxury brands such as Dior and Valentino, was invited by Bloomingdales to create a limited-edition item in celebration of the beloved department store’s 150th anniversary celebration. What did you produce for this occasion?
Stanley Cheng: “We made an exclusive gold color NanoBond 11″ frypan in a limited quantity of 250. Each frypan is laser engraved with the Bloomingdales logo and is serial numbered.”
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ICONIC LIFE: The Hestan name (an amalgam of your and your wife Helen’s names) is also known for fine wines. Where did your interest in wine originate and what compelled you to buy a vineyard in the Napa Valley?
Stanley Cheng: “My passion for vineyards and wine is because both my wife and I love wines! We came across a stunning 274-acre property in Napa Valley with two lakes on the property 26 years ago and knew we had to buy it. We started to plant vines 25 years ago with the goal to produce the best possible wine grapes to make some serious wines from the land. We are living our dream!”
Stanley and Helen Cheng
ICONIC LIFE: Why and how did you select the famed Thomas Rivers Brown as your winemaker?
Stanley Cheng: “A good friend introduced us in 2009 and Thomas Brown has been making Hestan and Meyer wines ever since. We are grateful to have such a talented winemaker like Thomas Rivers Brown as our winemaker. We share the common goal of wanting to produce the best wine possible from the unique Hestan property. Call it our good fortune!”