Photo: David Lewis Taylor
To chefs at the Culinary Institute of America, spill-prone pepper grinders and unergonomic knives aren't merely bothersome—they're soul-tormenting occupational hazards. So the country's oldest cooking school enlisted 85 of its chef-instructors to help make these and other tools of their trade work better. Two years and countless prototypes later, the institute's Masters Collection is available: utensils, cookware, and bakeware that bespeak neither lofty, ludicrous design nor ugly utility, but the ideal balance of form and function according to folks who spend serious time in the kitchen. The line includes a slotted spoon with concentrated holes to direct the liquid running from it and a pepper mill with a large funnel top that's easy to fill. "That one kept us up at night," says Victor Gielisse, a master chef and, now, utensil designer.