Trade Secret: Zesco’s Kitchen Gadgets

Professional chefs aren’t the only ones to whom this restaurant supplier opens its doors.


When local restaurants and bars serve up their appetizers, entrees, and cocktails, many do so using equipment and tools from Zesco, an Indianapolis-based restaurant supplier, now in its 43rd year. Though its core business may be supporting eateries and watering holes, as well as hotels, schools, and healthcare facilities, Zesco welcomes all chefs—even those whose culinary prowess is displayed only in their home kitchens. Annie Zoll, Zesco tabletop design specialist, says storage containers, pizza stones, cutlery, mixing bowls, and measuring spoons are among the most popular items homeowners snatch up from the Capitol Avenue headquarters. Here’s a sneak peek at what else you’ll find among Zesco’s giant inventory, which numbers about 7,000 products in the showroom with far more online.


Garnishing Kit

More and more places seem to emphasize a meal’s appearance, giving diners a feast for the eyes before they even pick up a fork. This nine-piece garnishing kit ($49) contains tools for the home chef or bartender for whom the way a dish or cocktail looks is just as important as how it tastes. When used on cold butter or chocolate, the butter curler creates soft curlicues that lend a fancy look to entrees and desserts. The zester/citrus peeler is a must for garnishing mixed drinks with skinny strips of lemon or lime. Gadgets for convenience, like the apple corer, are represented, too. And who couldn’t use another paring knife in their collection?


Taco Holder

Expertly crafted tacos only stay that way until they’re set on a plate and tumble over, sending toppings scattering. That’s when this brushed stainless-steel slotted taco holder ($11) comes in handy. It keeps your skillfully prepared shells ready for their Instagram close-up.


Popcorn Machine

Your home theater, complete with a big screen, booming sound, and cushy seating, is ready to go. All that’s missing is the intoxicating scent of popcorn—which, let’s be real, is half the draw of the movie-going experience. This countertop machine ($356) cranks out up to 92 1-ounce servings per hour. Zoll recommends using pre-measured portion packs, which take the guesswork out of how much oil, kernels, and seasoning to use. The result is a batch of popcorn that mirrors what you’d order at the megaplex. Now where’s the butter?


Pie Cutter

For those who want more than their fair share of the pie, this tool isn’t for them. But for everyone else, this pie cutter ($6) segments desserts into six equally sized wedges. For smaller slices, simply rotate the tool slightly after the first cut. Piece of cake! Or pie.


Fry Basket

Crispy fries sometimes meet a soggy demise in a sea of ketchup. Enter the wrought-iron conical fry basket ($14), a restaurant-like side-saving solution. Tater tots, potato wedges, or even carrot sticks are safe in the center, flanked by two 2-ounce ramekins that keep sauces and dips where they should be.