May 09, 2016
Simplicity, utility, and perfection: newly opened Quinci Emporium proves it has the chops to be the District’s destination space for Columbus’ many epicurean enthusiasts.
The shop at 688 N. High Street is familiar to foodies in the Short North Arts District. Formerly Cookware Sorcerer, the storefront is well known for its plethora of gadgets essential for home cooks and chefs alike. That’s where Chef Deborah Quinci comes in. Chef Quinci sought to continue the legacy of Cookware Sorcerer owner Nancy Haitz, an early Short North Arts District pioneer who passed away this spring. Charged with the weighty task of carrying on the torch of home and hearth, Deborah Quinci knows she has what it takes to take this familiar kitchen staple to exciting new heights.
“I’ve been around food all my life. I was formerly the chef at Freedom a la Carte, making dinners for survivors of human trafficking,” she said. “Seeing my food make someone who was not in a good place, feel at home, even for a couple minutes is very powerful. Food is my calling and I have known that for a very long time.”
Quinci Emporium reflects Deborah’s sentiments exactly. The space is full, though not overwhelmingly so, with essentials that reflect a truly home-grown love of food. Chic white walls help to bounce sunlight onto the perfectly laid out tables of both locally made and internationally sourced products. What is most surprising however, is the simplicity. Complicated gadgets and single use attachments make way for perfectly conceived, and stylishly simple staples of a well stocked kitchen.
“I believe in keeping around a lot of basic, good tools,” she said. “Every chef has a small list of their favorite tools, and it’s never complicated. Knives for example, Nancy had a love for knives, are things to be treasured once you find the perfect ones. Bowls, I love bowls. Of the local ceramic and stone bowls we’ve found and brought here throughout Ohio, only one is left. There’s been a huge interest in finding pieces for the kitchen that are really from somewhere that is close and familiar.”
“These cutting boards, too, are a huge seller,” Deborah said as she motioned to a far table with dark oaken cutting boards lining the edges. “We’re already on a waiting list. They are all made in Grandview and come from old barns that have been torn down, and the wood is repurposed.”
Looking around, it’s also easy to identify Quinci’s design aesthetic, sturdy and beautiful. “It’s so nice having those good tools that can go anywhere,” she said. “Our mixing bowls, our mortar and pestles, the cutting boards… you wouldn’t feel silly using them to display meals on a dining table. They’re just as lovely to look at as they are lovely to use.”
Deborah looks forward to integrating the community more into her space. This longtime resident of the Short North Arts District loves to host cooking classes and wine tastings, and both of which will be on the menu soon.
“Food is something that’s meant to be shared,” she said. “And with a community that’s so open and vibrant and welcoming, I think we’re going to do very well together.”
– Tyler Wilson