Recipes tailor-made for specific appliances, expert training and entertaining presentations can all help improve retail sales, and many small appliance brands are employing all-rounders in the kitchen to fill this role and engage with consumers.

Kambrook announced yesterday it has appointed kitchen chef and cooking class presenter Garth Halliburton to a newly expanded position as the brand’s new test kitchen and product consultant.

Working with the national product development and marketing team, Halliburton will be responsible for product testing and recipe development.

“He will work closely with colleagues in the engineering, sales and marketing teams to help build the Kambrook brand, as well as help to drive engagement with existing and new members within the Kambrook community,” the brand said in a statement.

Halliburton has nearly 20 years’ experience in the hospitality industry and has worked as a head chef across some of Sydney’s top restaurants and hotels. Most recently he held the combined positions of operations manager, head chef and cooking class presenter at the Hospitality Establishment.

Garth Halliburton
Garth Halliburton is Kambrook’s new test kitchen and product consultant.

Adam Tacey, Kambrook business manager, said, “We’re incredibly lucky to have someone of Garth’s calibre joining Kambrook. It’s a great endorsement for the brand and I have no doubt that Garth will add significant value to the team with his natural drive and deep expertise as a professional chef. We’ll be sure to tap into his talent as an engaging presenter and trainer as well.”

Sunbeam home economist Jill Cooney performs a similar role,  working in the Sunbeam test kitchen to test existing products and assist in the development of future appliances for the retail market. Cooney, who has more than 35 years experience in the industry, and her team work with the marketing department, designers and technologists to improve current appliances and create of new ones.

Once an appliance has gone through all the rigorous testing carried out in the test kitchen, recipes are developed to best suit the appliance. The recipes that make the grade are later incorporated into the instruction booklets that are included with the appliance.

Cooney is responsible for all the food styling and appears in many instructional videos played throughout major retail stores. She also trains all the staff at Sunbeam on products developed by the company.

Cooney has been with Sunbeam for 18 months and said the role has developed significantly since she has been there, with the inclusion of ‘hands on’ training for all the staff within Sunbeam and also to the trade.

“I do love it though when everyone gathers in the Test Kitchen and there is wild bantering of new ideas, creativeness and a simple feeling that everyone here is enjoying their role and also that the Test Kitchen provides everyone with great Friday afternoon sweet treats!” Cooney said.

Spectrum brands, which distributes Russell Hobbs small appliances, also has a full time home economist on the books, Anna Burke. Her role is to, “support the marketing team to connect the consumer to the product and the product to the consumer.” Burke tests all of Spectrum Brands home appliance products in development and designs and adapts recipes for its products.

Burke has over 25 years experience working within the food industry.  Prior to working with Spectrum Brands, she was a home economist for Coles Brands for several years and worked in product development across fresh food and grocery in FMCG.

She also takes a hands-on role in product training and developing product demonstrations for retail partners or in-store demonstrations.

Burke  also manages the digital marketing process, updating recipe pages and food content on the Spectrum Brands social media pages. “Working closely with the marketing team to co-ordinate the digital marketing calendar, Anna aligns the latest seasonal recipes, food trends and product updates to ‘talk’ to our consumers and our on-line community.”

Over at Breville, the team are busy building a community of “Food Thinkers” which feature recipes, tips and videos promoting Breville appliances. A team of 24 contributors have added recipes to the website including professional chefs and food bloggers.

For Kenwood, the testing and research at product level is conducted by the UK research and development team. The in-house home economists and chef test benchmark products and develop recipes to suit specific markets.