UT Grad Seeks Crowdfunding for Foodie Fantasy
Former banking attorney wants to manufacture retro kitchen gadget
By Virginia B. Wood,
5:18PM, Thu. Aug. 29, 2013
In 2011, Texan Anne Kersch bid goodbye to an unsatisfying career as a big shot Houston bank lawyer, packed her bags, and moved to Madrid, Spain, for an adventure with her boyfriend, much to the chagrin of her family.
Now married to the boyfriend and the proud Mom to baby Hugo, who was born in February, Kersch has embarked on a second career as a food blogger and product developer. While writing about her exploration of Spanish foods and ingredients at GambasandGrits.com is not nearly as lucrative as practicing law, Kersch admits to being a lot happier.
Experimenting in the kitchen to satisfy her pregnancy cravings and anticipating making baby foods led to the creation of the Gourmand’s Grater. “The idea for the Gourmand’s Grater came after grating my knuckles countless times,” she recalls. Her ingenious hand-cranked tool includes a grating drum as well as wheels for grinding coffee and pureeing baby food, based on suggestions from family and friends. “Now that we are starting to feed Hugo solids, I totally get the appeal of a portable food mill,” Kersch says.
Kersch’s Gourmand’s Grater resembles the old French Mouli graters that were all the rage in the Forties and saw a renaissance among back-to-nature cooks in the Sixties and Seventies. Unless you’re an aging hippie cook (like me) or were perhaps raised by one, you may never have seen one of those hand-opearted, pre-Cuisinart gadgets anywhere but a garage sale or thrift shop. Everything old really is new again. Kersch’s version is very sleek with a retro chic look about it, made from stainless steel with a porcelain enamel coating, which turned out to be a manufacturing stumbling block. “I really thought it would be easy to get it made, but if you’re not Kitchen-Aid, reputable manufacturers aren’t interested,” she reports.
Kersch realized she didn’t want to give up on her new creation halfway through the process and opted to try a crowdfunding platform, saying “I figured if I can raise my goal of $40,000, if there is enough interest for the grater out there among foodies, at least, I will commit to getting it made.” Kersch’s funding campaign kicked off on Aug. 16 on Indiegogo.com with “thank you” gifts that include special edition orange UT Longhorn (the one I’m signing up for) and blue Rice Owl graters, ruffled and polka-dotted flamenco kitchen aprons, and a gourmand’s dream vacation to Madrid. She’s already about a third of the way to her goal!