Our Story

In 1973, Martha Kaemmer and her sister Mary Rice thought that the time was ripe for a culinary awakening. Cooks was born in a 1,500-square-foot storefront at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Lexington Parkway in St. Paul. There were four employees and approximately 250 different items for sale. Mary left a year later to pursue a new culinary journey in Bayfield, WI. Martha carried the company forward for more than 30 years.

We’ve moved twice. Added 2 more locations – closed one. We had 15 shops inside Marshall Fields (Dayton’s) – we gave them up when Macy’s took over. We’ve grown – we’ve contracted. Like all small businesses we’ve been on an interesting adventure.

Currently, we have three locations all with state-of-the-art cooking schools. We even have a few Shop in Shop’s with our friends at Kowalski’s Markets.

We employ 65 people and our schools rely on the services of another 50. Our inventory has grown to include more than 6,000 innovative culinary items. We offer a huge assortment of instructional opportunities and we’re always trying to help people with their culinary journey. Though she remains an active member of our Board, Martha retired in December of 2007. We remain committed to her desire for Cooks’ to be a wonderful place for sharing discoveries about food.

So, that’s where we are today, 5 kids, a big standard poodle, a large extended “family” and one well used kitchen. Sharing discoveries at every turn. We don’t just say that “Life happens in the Kitchen” – we live it.

- Karl and Marie