Since I began cooking professionally, I wondered what a unique label for cooks what would look like - one that thought deeply about cooking tools, played around with form, explored new possibilities, and felt attractive and special - rather than industrial and nondescript.
It felt right to begin with a spoon, an essential utensil and a shared obsession of many fellow cooks and chefs. I had always loved going to antique shops and flea markets looking for new spoons to bring back to work. One might be perfect for saucing, another perfect for flipping fish, another perfect for scraping out the sides of a container - I found myself coming back to the same spoons for each specific task. It was as if each one helped perform a different movement, a different gesture. Here I came to the word Gestura, an old Latin root of the word "gesture" defined as "to bear, wield, perform."
Every time we cook we assemble a set of movements and use our tools to wield them. As I paid more attention to how I moved in the kitchen, it started to feel more and more like choreography, like a performance. Basting, saucing, stirring, flipping, turning, scraping, skimming, mixing, pouring. Whether we cook for our family or paying customers, each plate set down is a gesture, and the result of many small performances.
In early 2019 I started thinking about trying to compile all my favorite things about my different spoons into a single form - would that even be possible? What qualities did I look for at the flea markets and antique shops? How could I make it new?
I knew I wanted control and consistency baked in to the design. Part of the attachment to certain spoons was their predictability - the comfort in knowing the weight of the handle, or the depth of the well. When it came to my spoon, I wanted anyone who might use it to feel that comfort. So, the well would be exactly 1 tablespoon - easy to scale on the fly or apply to any basic ratio. If say, I made a sauce last night and liked it, I could go back and remember I added one spoonful of x and two spoonfuls of y and be able to recreate it with accuracy the next day, never having to switch between tools or measuring instruments.
Next, I wanted it to to be long. Long enough to go down and get things from a pot, and long enough to distribute weight to make it nimble for saucing and pouring. Many prototypes were made figuring out how liquid would not only pour properly from the well, but stay contained if one needed to move around. The solution was a flat, tapered lip that would help cradle liquid and pour it smoothly. It would also function as a smoothing-off mechanism for measuring dry ingredients like salt or flour. And, as a sharp edge to scrape the rounded edge of a pan or a plastic container.
Finally, the spoon would have to look nice. Many old spoons have beautiful plated designs and engravings. Mine would not be ornamental. I was interested in the idea of an antique silhouette without any extra patterns or flourishes - completely naked, no frills. I wanted to avoid hard edges and imagine the spoon was drawn in one single line, tapered off into infinity at the top and the bottom. The material would have to play off this as well - imagining all of this in perfectly buffed stainless steel felt odd. To me, patina is beautiful. It is imperfect and unique to each piece. It had to feel functional, able to be tossed in the dishwasher, but elegant enough to feel special and exciting to use every day.
So, after close to two years of tinkering, I am so happy to share the Gestura Kitchen Spoon family with you — which includes the 00 & 01 in silver and plated gold.
Thank you to Tanita Klein, Ines Cox, and Scott Shephard.
A note on the typeface: The Gestura logo uses Pressura from Grilli Type foundry.
"GT Pressura is inspired by metal type printing history as well as engineered letters stamped onto shipping boxes."
Created in digital space, inspired by the analog - just like the 01 Kitchen Spoon - designed with software, inspired by antique flatware, and fabricated by craftspeople in Japan.