The Cookware Startups Coming for All-Clad and Le Creuset

How a new wave of direct-to-consumer brands like Great Jones are giving big names a run for their money My second job ever was as a food demonstrator at Williams-Sonoma, the California-based cookware store founded in the 1950s. Before I was allowed to serve samples of the shop’s popular pumpkin quick bread (made from a mix), I had to attend a two-week training session during which I learned everything about the store’s products, from chess piece-like pepper mills to hand-cut glassware to extremely pricey sets of cookware. That’s when it was drilled into a young, impressionable me that All-Clad — created by the same guy who patented the process of bonding copper onto nickel for U.S. pennies — was the best cookware money could buy. All of the new recruits, myself included, were gifted a small stainless steel All-Clad butter warmer for our time, and I cherished this pot — which now retails for $69.95 — for years. But one day, in the process of hard-boiling an egg, I burned the pan badly. I scrubbed it and treated it with every remedy Google suggested. Nothing worked. When I finally called Williams-Sonoma, they told me that the All-Clad warranty did not cover a pan replacement “in t...

During my years of riding, restoring and collecting vintage British and European bikes, I fell in

During my years of riding, restoring and collecting vintage British and European bikes, I fell in love with four distinctive vintage marques. The muscular engineered Vincent Rapide; the gentlemanly smooth Ariel Square Four; the petite and potent Velocette Venom thumper and the Ducati 750 V-Twin, an Italian blend of engineering, power and seductive good looks. I’ve owned 3 of the four with the Vincent being out of financial reach. Each machine materialized from the minds of great designers. Phillip Vincent’s HRD-Vincent, Edward Turner’s Ariel Square Four, John Goodman’s Velo Venom and Dr. Fabio Taglioni’s Ducati bevel drive V-twin. All share common attributes of distinctive style, power, sound and engineering excellence for their day. Sadly, three of the four have passed to oblivion but Ducati’s legacy of efficient and practical design lives on in the GT1000 SportClassic, the grandson of the ’74 bevel drive V-Twin. This diary captures the high points of finding, owning and “custovating” a 1974 Ducati 750GT. Custovation is my word for customizing and renovating the build of a one-of-a-kind vintage motorcycle. The custovation captures the heritage of the early 70’s bevel drive race...