Despite my somewhat infamous exploits with a microwave, I don’t really go in for much kitchen gadgetry. I weigh my ingredients in pounds and ounces on a set of old sweet-shop scales, I use a rat-tailed tablespoon like the one my Mum used when I was little, and I make my pastry by hand … with an antique rolling pin that I found in a charity shop.
However … when Rose last visited, she generously (and probably in fear of what she already knew to be the rather primitive state of my kitchen cupboards) brought me some goodies from a company called New Metro Design – a beater attachment for my stand mixer, a lemon zester and a mixing bowl (aka the BeaterBlade®, the ZestN’est™ and the MixerMate™Bowl).
The idea behind each of these designs is that they take an irritating culinary conundrum and solve it with the invention of an innovative and efficient tool.
So – the BeaterBlade makes it unecessary to scrape down the sides of the bowl while mixing …
… the ZestN’est eliminates the mess and stress of zesting …
… and the MixerMate Bowl prevents all that splattering you usually get when you try to do anything with a hand-held mixer (or blender, as I was doing here).
After thoroughly trying and testing each design in the process of baking a lemon tart recently, I have to confess – these gadgets are fantastic. Remarkably fantastic.
Even O, who is fiercely opposed to any form of kitchen hokery-pokery, was impressed – so much so that he now uses the zester for pretty much anything that needs grating. He even allows it to have its own space in the top cutlery drawer …
I got in touch with Gary Fallowes, founder of New Metro Design and inventor, designer and developer of BeaterBlade, to find out a little bit more about his products. He kindly agreed to answer my (many!) questions …
Where did the idea for the BeaterBlade come from?
While making cheesecake I was frustrated by how often I needed to stop mixing and scrape the bowl, especially when the batter was cold…it would stick to everything. I soon discovered that even creaming butter and sugar required constant bowl scraping.
What were the first experiments/product types like?
The very first prototype was a soda bottle top, a wire hangar and soft plastic made from an electrical cord product. BeaterBlade® actually started off as a single blade scraper for meringue type batters…but we had issues with food ending up in the next room. The current design took about 2 years to develop. Finding the right plastics took quite some time.
How extensively did you test your invention?
To the extent I was driving my engineers crazy. I was making prototypes with 1mm increment changes just to make sure it would work perfectly. I bought more than 11 mixers and tested each one for hundreds and hundreds of hours while at the same time sending out prototypes to friends, family and folks like Rose to test. I also had Nemko Laboratories do bench tests to make sure the mixers were not getting damaged and the actual BeaterBlade was safe. Safety is my #1 concern, then function.
How did you end up finding an investor?
The project was funded personally and through a mentor / investor.
Why the name ‘New Metro Design’?
In NYC, in the 1930s, my grandfather owned an envelope company called Metro Envelope Corp…I’m carrying on the tradition of his name.
Do you make BeaterBlades for all different models and sizes of stand mixers?
There’s a BeaterBlade for most all KitchenAid® models as well as Cuisinart®, Viking®, DeLonghi™ & certain Kenwood® model mixers. We have a license agreement with Breville, which makes a BeaterBlade for their mixers under NewMetro’s name. We also make a large aluminium H-20 BeaterBlade for the Hobart 20-Quart mixers…that’s really fun to watch.
How easy is it to buy a BeaterBlade?
BeaterBlade is currently in about 3,500 brick & mortar stores such as Bed Bath and Beyond, BonTon, Kitchen Collections; online at Amazon, Solutions Magazine, CHEFs Catalog. We have distribution in 10 countries. You can find USA stores by zip code here.
How much does the BeaterBlade cost? Is it more expensive than just buying a regular beater attachment, for example?
Prices range from $24.95 to $40. It’s a bit more expensive than traditional flat beaters but it also accomplishes much more.
… and where is it manufactured?
Isn’t the continuous scraping down of the sides of the bowl going to stress out the motor of my stand mixer?
Not at all, and we have lab reports to prove it. BeaterBlade puts less stress on the mixer than if you were to make a white bread with the dough hook.
Is the BeaterBlade certified for commercial use?
Yes, it’s listed ANSI / NSF2 with Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
You make other kitchen tools as well as the BeaterBlade … ?
NewMetro designed the ZestN’est™ citrus zester, MixerMate™ Bowl for hand mixers, the H-20 for Hobart mixers and we just launched a citrus juicer called JuiceLab™.
Do the same principles of design underpin all of your products?
I go for safety first, then performance. I want consumers to have a positive experience when using my products.
Have you won any awards?
We won best product in our category at the Gourmet Housewares Show in 2009, and we placed runner up in IDEA magazine’s product of the year 2010. Some others as well.
What does the future of New Metro Design look like …?
We’re partnering with Rose Levy Beranbaum, bringing together her incredible accuracy and talent with NewMetro’s design capabilities and attention to detail. We have lots of exciting products in R&D. We love how accessible Rose is to baking enthusiasts via her very popular blog. She takes the time to carefully answer questions and wants people to be successful, just like I do.
Can you give us your original cheesecake recipe … the one that started everything …?
It’s actually on the website: Gary’s Sour Cream Cheesecake 🙂
Thank you very much for all your replies, Gary. I’m looking forward to trying out your recently-launched JuiceLab in my newly-gadgeted-up kitchen!
Oh – the lemon tart I was making …?
It was good 🙂