Cooking Fresh Interview with Tracy Ackerman, owner of The Spoon Shop


eHI: When did the Spoon Shop first open?
TA: The Spoon Shop first opened on October 1, 2012 in the old in-dustrial area in Kailua Kona on Hawaii Island.  When I assumed the lease it was for the balance of 9 months and I knew I did not want to stay in the current location since it was small, parking was not ideal, and I wanted to increase my inventory and build a demonstration & teaching kitchen.  With expansion plans in mind I found a 3300 square foot location at the Hale Ku’i Plaza in Kona.

eHI: What was the original inspiration for opening your business?
TA: As a young child, I remember always being in the kitchen. Both parents were great family-style cooks and gatherings were usually at our home.  When I lived in Portland, Oregon I worked briefly at a department store in the china and housewares department and that was when I realized how much I enjoyed the kitchen scene. I absolutely love pots & pans, gadgets & gizmos, plates & bowls. Many years later, after I had moved home to Kona, I vividly re-member doing some Christmas shopping in what was then the Gourmet Chef Supply store and the owner mentioning to custom-ers in front of me how short staffed she was and how she needed to hire. I immediately shot my hand into the air and called out, “I want to work here!”  and this was how I was hired for a part time position and got back into the kitchen scene that I remember loving so much in Portland. Two and a half years later, I would purchase the existing business, rename it, rebrand it, increase the inventory and move it to a new location.

eHI: How has your business evolved over the past five years?
TA: The business has completed the long awaited certified kitchen where we will conduct our own demonstrations and teach classes with guest chefs open to any customers who are excited to learn a new cuisine or style of cooking. Some customers are so excited that they don’t care what kind of classes we offer, they just want to participate. We will also be able to rent the space to those needing to produce their own goods in a certified environment. We hope to utilize the space as a “special events” headquarters as well; busi-nessmen in town have inquired about pau hana gatherings and team meetings, mothers have inquired about birthday parties and date nights.

eHI: Do you like to cook at home?
TA: I love to cook and find much enjoyment being in the kitchen. I don’t like to be hurried, so I don’t enjoy it as much if I’m rushing home from work to feed my two children, but when I can relax in the process of slicing and dicing vegetables, marinating or sautéing and even baking then I am in my element. It’s my happy place and I find comfort being in that space. It’s my place to unwind from a work day and find quiet to feed my soul and nourish my body.

eHI: Thank you for inviting us to cook and see your new kitchen space and for your introduction with private chef Max Okamura. What are your future plans for the new kitchen space?
TA: I met Max Okamura as a customer in The Spoon Shop. He is very talented and a big supporter of my shop. I’m so happy to have him included here sharing some of his original recipes. The Spoon Shop started offering a few classes this winter and we want to hear from the community on what they want to learn too. Some of our cooking classes so far have included how to construct the perfect brunch, and how to prep ahead of time to enable quick, delicious dinners any day of the week. Keep an eye on the class calendar on our website or join our mailing list to stay up to date with our current offerings and events.