Long before there was William Sonoma (1958) and Sir La Table (1972) there was E. Dehillerin (1890). According to the shop’s website, Eurgene De Hillerin a descendant of an old noble family of Vendée brought down by the French Revolution. He took his family to Paris and began building a reputation as a specialist in the supply and sale of kitchen equipment. The brand’s motto is “Modest assistance in the promotion of French cuisine”.
Over its long history, surviving untimely deaths and two world wars, the family managed to maintain and build the reputation of E. Dehillerin. Maurice Dehillerin (son of Eugene), a great ambassador of the brand, rubbed shoulders with the greatest chefs of his time, including Auguste Escoffier, the father of French Cuisine.
Once the decision to spend 3 months on a personal sabbatical in Paris, France was made by home cook Mike Sanders, there was one store that was a priority to visit, and indeed, to shop in: E. Dehillerin. One only has to watch the following video to hear the enthusiasm in our home cook’s voice for this “hardware store for chefs”:
One reason for the fame of this unassuming cook’s store is the love that American cookbook author Julia Childs had for it. She was known for not having met a “copper” pan or bowl in E. Dehillerin that she didn’t love : )
And of course as Food and Wine magazine points out, the late, celebrated culinary and cultural hero Anthony Bourdain knew where to find unusual if not essential cookware when in Paris. “For season 2, episode 2 of The Layover, Bourdain spent a day in Paris. Between towers of langoustines and liters of natural wine, he visited E. Dehillerin, specialists in cookware since Napoleon’s time.” Incidentally, the historic store was located very close to the legendary Le Halles market in Paris, which has since been moved out of the center of the city. Le Halles was also the name of the famous, and sadly now-closed, restaurant in New York City where Anthony Bourdain was the executive chef.
A happy shopping day indeed. And not the last time this home cook would grace the threshold of the legendary E. Dehillerin and the euros in his pocket were well lightened. Au revoir until next time!