Written by Georgie Vetter, Product Specialist at the Chicago Monogram Design Center
Last month, the Merchandise Mart in Chicago held its annual designer exposition, NeoCon. NeoCon is one of the most recognized and attended trade shows in the industry. This year, more than 50,000 designers walked the halls of the Merchandise Mart viewing the latest and most innovative solutions in commercial design. NeoCon has remained focused on being at the forefront of changing commercial design and business trends.
The Monogram Design Center was buzzing throughout the three-day exposition, with many designers walking through showing a lot of interest in induction cooking. During NeoCon, the Monogram Design Center showcased Sous Vide cooking, a method of cooking in which food is sealed in air-tight plastic bags then placed in a temperature controlled water bath which brings meats, fish, and poultry to the perfect internal temperature each time. We also introduced designers to the new pizza oven, which will be making its debut in the Chicago Design Center later this fall. The Amazon Echo made an appearance during NeoCon. Designers were shown how Monogram appliances are able to be integrated within a smart home. The designers that came through were very intrigued by the pizza oven and expressed a lot of enthusiasm toward the new product. We know they are looking forward to seeing it in person!
On the Tuesday of NeoCon week, Sheri Gold, National Showroom Manager, presented a CEU to a group of designers on how to grow their business through social media. The Social Media CEU offers in-depth explanations of four social media platforms (Twitter, Houzz, Instagram and Pinterest) and how best to use them within the design world. The CEU also provides a brief overview of Hootsuite, Periscope and Snapchat. During the CEU, we had a panel that included Julie McCrary, Social Media Manager for White Good; Monogram Lead Product Specialist Christina Dragota; and Monogram Product Specialist Georgie Vetter to provide their input during the presentation.
Overall, NeoCon was a great week for the Monogram Design Center. We were able to make many new designer contacts and enjoyed being able to give more information on Monogram appliances and what we are doing next.
If you have visited the Monogram Design Center in Chicago at the city’s historic Merchandise Mart, then you might have been lucky enough to see our very own chef in action. Or even taste some of his delicious creations! The exceptional performance possibilities of Monogram appliances are brought to light by Chef Jon Liddell as he prepares meals and appetizers in the center’s beautifully appointed live kitchens. We interviewed Chef Jon to learn a little more about his background as a chef and his thoughts on Monogram appliances.
SRFD: Tell us about your background as a chef.
Chef Jon: I grew up hunting and fishing in a small Michigan town where I truly found my passion for cooking. After culinary school in Grand Rapids, I started working as a private chef in the US Virgin Islands (St. Thomas). I worked with upscale clientele in these beautiful multi-million dollar villas by providing various wine pairings and food demonstrations. That’s when I started to alter my culinary career; I took the step from just being a chef behind the scenes cooking to a chef in front of people demonstrating how to cook.
SRFD: How did you end up at the Monogram Design Center in Chicago?
Chef Jon: After meeting a beautiful Irish girl from the south side, she convinced me to move back to her home town: Chicago, Illinois. With my experience dealing with high end homes in St. Thomas, joining the Monogram team felt like the perfect fit to merge my understanding of high end appliances and love for sharing my farm to table cuisine with consumers.
SRFD: What is your cooking philosophy?
Chef Jon: Simplicity speaks volumes- each ingredient has a voice in the meal you prepare and should be showcased to their full potential.
SRFD: What’s always in your fridge at home?
Chef Jon: I feel like I always have some fresh pasta that can be ready at a moment’s notice. Oh, and Meyer lemons.
SRFD: What have you learned from working at the Chicago Monogram Design Center?
Chef Jon: I’ve learned to appreciate the manufacturing and sturdiness behind the Monogram appliances. Coming from a commercial background, I needed my appliances to be able to take a beating since I believe the appliances should change to work with your cooking style, not the other way around. I’ve cooked for more designers in the last three years than I ever thought, which really allowed me to appreciate the appliances visually. I now recognize how the aesthetic of appliances are just as important the as the functionality and Monogram does both without a doubt.
On October 6 -7, the Merchandise Mart in Chicago created the Midwest’s largest annual residential design conference for interior design, architecture, and luxury homebuilding called Design Chicago. Over 2,000 trade professionals attended. The focus was on kitchen, bath and home furnishings and included 120 showrooms located on three floors and over 600,000 square feet of the Merchandise Mart space. Presentations were made by the industry’s most acclaimed designers and thought leaders. Over 35 CEU courses were available, as well as showroom open houses, hospitality events and new product debuts. There was a Ones to Watch reception toasting up and coming designers. And the event culminated in a Gala celebrating top residential designers, architects, and luxury custom home builders.
In the Monogram Design Center, we were excited to host a CEU on the The New Face of the Affluent Consumer-taught by Dwell CEO Michela O’Connor Abrams. The session was completely filled on the day it was announced, and received rave reviews from the attendees. She also hosted our afternoon showroom VIP designer cocktail event and shared a visual presentation on Dwell’s Take on Modern Design. It was a packed house with an excited crowd. The Monogram Design Center was a favored place during the event, with Chef Jon’s delicious light bites and a signature cocktails.
Michela O’Connor Abrams, Dwell CEO