It All Started With a Turkey Thermometer
Grace Stokes discovers happy tea, food art and a new website at Whisk
The kitchenware shop Whisk opened its doors for the first time just three years ago in Chiswick. One soon became two when its owners opened an Ealing branch. Now, with a new interactive website, the owners clearly have their sites set on world domination. Odd to think that it all started with a turkey thermometer.
It was 2003, and Simon Griffiths and Tracy Kynoch were without an essential for their Christmas dinner. “It was December 20th” says Simon, “and we needed a thermometer, quickly. We knew there wasn’t anywhere in Chiswick, so my Mother volunteered to drive us to the nearest kitchen shop – in Newbury.”
It started Simon thinking. On a family trip to Australia, the next month, he came up with The Big Idea. He and Tracy would start a kitchenware shop near their home – nearer than Newbury, at least. “We were working in pharmaceuticals, but we started drawing up business plans. By August the first shop was open.”
The idea might have started a long way from home, but Simon and Tracy were determined to keep Whisk as local as possible. In the shop, the paintings of lollies and cupcakes on the wall are by an artist from Bedford Park, and the sugar teddy bears in the cake decorating section are by a confectioner from Twickenham.
And Happiness Tea, a mood enhancing brew from a company called Today Is Fun, was first made locally. On a barge. It’s a blend of tea that – along with Sleepy and Expectancy – comes with its own life philosophy. A cup in the morning can, in short, change your life.
The shop sells everything from basic wooden spoons and saucepans to more weird and wonderful gadgets and gizmos. One of the most eye-catching is the banana guard. The bright plastic holder protects the fruit in your lunch box. Like the Happiness Tea, it’s guaranteed to start up conversation.
Their new website is easy to use and reliable. Each item has a clear picture and large description that replicates the detailed description you would get if you asked the staff in the store.
Whisk may be going from strength to strength, but Simon and Tracy have mixed feelings. “The website is something we knew we had to do,” says Simon, “but in some ways it goes against our aim of keeping things local.”
Never mind. As long as they save people in Ealing from the long drive to Newbury, they’re happy.
October 5, 2007