Chuck Williams, the founder of Williams-Sonoma, passed away this weekend at the age of 100. You probably know Williams-Sonoma as a source for all things kitchen, but do you know just how many of your favorite kitchen brands were initially introduced to the United States by Williams? Le Creuset, KitchenAid, and many more — they might not be in your kitchen today without him.
Williams started his kitchen shop in Sonoma, California, and then went on to open stores in San Francisco and other affluent communities before selling his stake in the ownership in 1978 to help the business grow more robust. But he retained his position as the face of the company, and to buy merchandise. It was this last thing that showed his pure brilliance; he traveled frequently to France and brought back the tools that now we all seem to have, but then were unusual.
You can read at Williams-Sonoma more about the timeline of tools he popularized, including Le Creuset and its famous flame color; KitchenAid mixers, from the commercial kitchen to the home; and the classic Bundt baking pan.
See the Timeline: Chuck's Finds at Williams-Sonoma
On the heels of Julia Child and the rise of Americans' interest in home cooking, his store and his wares created a whole new category of retail. Whether you are a frequent or infrequent shopper of Williams-Sonoma, his influence over our kitchen tools, pots, and pans cannot be overstated.
Read on for more of his story at The New York Times.
→ Read more: Chuck Williams, Founder of Williams-Sonoma, Dies at 100 from The New York Times