· By Mitchell Sweeting
The Behind the Scenes of The Prep 'N Serve Set
This year at Bamboozle we want to show off all the cool things we do and all the amazing people we work with! So keep an eye out for more guest bloggers like Elizabeth Karmel, who is the Original Grill Girl, as well as co-creator of the Prep 'N Serve Set. She's taking us behind the scenes of how this product came to life!
I’m so excited to be collaborating with Bamboozle. Long before the Prep ‘n Serve kit appeared on the Bamboozlehome.com website, Avi, Steve and I started working together—in fact, it was 2020.
The journey of product development is long and lots of fun. The first step is to brainstorm what you would do in a perfect world if money and—sometimes—the laws of engineering didn’t exist. And, once you’ve made a couple of products you understand what the obstacles and the possibilities are but I try never to make the compromises in the first brainstorm. Since I am a chef and food writer first, all of my products and ideas are solution driven. I solve problems that I and other home cooks have in the kitchen and around the grill.
Even though we had collectively made many products before we started collaborating together, there was one idea in particular that both Avi and I as avid cooks really wanted. And that was dedicated trays and bowls that could be used for prepping, carrying and serving. Before the Prep ‘n Serve, I used a metal sheet pan and a miscellaneous assortment of bowls to create my “mise en place” and take my food to the grill.
As someone who spends her professional culinary career behind a grill and a smoker I really wanted something lightweight, easy to clean and versatile that would carry all of the stuff that I need when I’m cooking outdoors. And because I have lived in big cities with small apartments for most of my career, I wanted those pieces to do double duty. And that is how the Prep ‘n Serve kit was born.
Because sustainability is important to all of us, Avi and Steve suggested that the bamboo-based Astrik which is both dishwasher safe and microwave safe would be the best material for the product. It’s important to me that anything that I’m going to be putting both raw and cooked food on needs to be dishwasher safe. And because we wanted people to be able to use the bowls for soup and stews and leftover pasta etc. when they weren’t being used for prepping or serving, it was important that they could be used in the microwave.
You may notice that there are notches cut out of the smaller white tray and wonder why. They were designed to hold basting brushes and tongs in one place. Tools have a tendency to roll around on a tray—which drives me crazy—and once you’ve used them and they have sauce or food bits on them, it’s useful to have a dedicated place to set them, especially as you transport them to and from the kitchen to the grill. The notches are subtle so that when you use the tray as a serving piece you don’t even notice them but when you want the added function of keeping your tools from rolling around they’re there to help you out. The bowls were designed to be rounded squares that fit perfectly into the smaller tray—you can choose to use as many as you need up to all six that come with the set. Bowls are also sold a la carte in case you need more.
Once the shapes are set, then comes the fun part! Choosing the colorway. Most of my previous products have been in a color palate of red and black so this was a lot of fun for me. Through a series of Zooms and calls, we narrowed it down to seven colors that would coordinate with all your favorite Bamboozle products. The factory made color tiles out of the actual material that we could mix and match to come up with the four colors that are available today. If you’ve ever chosen paint for your house then you know that it takes longer that it should to finally decide on the colors.
We chose a pale sage green for the largest tray and our instincts were right as soon after, it came out as hot new neutral color trend and will work in most any indoor and outdoor setting. I love the ivory color of the smaller tray because it looks great with the green and it’s a blank canvas for any color bowl that you placed on top of it.
As we continue to build on the Prep ‘n Serve kit, we will be adding colors and other functional pieces to the line. Let us know what colors he would like and also what other pieces you would like to see us create. If you don’t know exactly what you’d like us to create but you do have a problem in the kitchen or around the grill let us know what that is and we will see if we can put our heads together to solve it. I look forward to more collaboration with Avi and Steve, and I can’t wait to meet all of you.
I hope you enjoy the Prep ‘n Serve as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it and using it ourselves.