Distributor’s New Facility Focuses on
Wallingford, CT It’s a rare individual who, upon entering a superb
kitchen, complete with state-of-the-art accoutrements, doesn’t feel
a powerful longing to possess the talents of a chef. Delia, Inc., a
Northeast distributor of high-end cooking-equipment, appliances and
systems, is prepared to indulge visitors to its new Wallingford, CT
headquarters in that fantasy.
Twice as large as Delia’s former headquarters in North Haven,
CT, the 62,500 sq.-ft. Wallingford complex was designed to be not
merely a showcase of quality brands, such as Viking, DACOR, ASKO
and Vent-a-Hood, but a culinary training center for those who enjoy
cooking and living well.
“Our new facility is designed to educate consumers, appliance
dealers, architects and interior designers about food preparation,
not just appliances,” declares Delia president Cal
Right from its January opening, the Wallingford headquarters has
featured a number of revolutionary concepts, Callahan
These include Delia’s Culinary Forum where locally and
nationally televised cooking programs will be produced, and ongoing
food-preparation seminars, led by award-winning chefs, will take
Additionally, the new facility sports a prototype showroom, dubbed
a “ProtoSite” showroom, which allows consumers to reposition actual
appliances and cabinets on wheels to create distinctive dream
Designed by Centerbrook Architects and Planners, LLC in Essex,
CT, Delia’s Wallingford ProtoSite is characterized by a floor
divided into one-foot-square grids and marked by intersecting,
bright yellow rulers enabling the simple transfer of blueprint
measurements to full-size mock-ups. Many of the gas and electric
ranges are hooked up so that consumers, designers and dealers are
able to test the live power and performance of Delia’s offerings.
As a result, the showroom creates a unique experience that visitors
can see, hear and touch, Callahan notes.
What sparked this creation of a feel-your-way concept?
“I always think people should test out architectural designs
with their own body pacing off the rooms and spaces they imagine
they want,” explains Mark Simon, FAIA, who designed the project
with Richard Staub of the Center-brook office. Delia’s Wallingford
and Manhattan showrooms allow them to do just that with “life-sized
props,” Simon notes.
When they’ve completed self-designing their personal dream
kitchens, they can move onto actual cooking, since all visitors to
the facility are welcome at the Culinary Forum. Also designed by
Centerbrook, the Forum contains two fully equipped kitchens, each
including a long, curved granite countertop/workspace; electric and
gas cooktop stoves; microwaves, and convection wall
Plans for the Culinary Forum include weekly cooking
demonstrations and classes led by chef Patrick Boisjot, as well as
guest luminaries. Boisjot, director of the Institute of Gastronomy
and Culinary Arts at the University of New Haven and former head
chef at the French Embassy and the French Culinary Institute in New
York, will welcome such visiting chefs as Jacques Pepin, host of
numerous national public television cooking shows and a columnist
for Food & Wine.
Even with its emphasis on the groundbreaking new technology, the
staff at Delia’s remembers old-fashioned price-and-value comparison
shopping, Callahan maintains. That’s why the Wallingford center
contains a Testing Facility, where Delia’s products are placed
side-by-side with other manufacturers’ appliances for performance
Trained technicians are available to assist customers in
comparing the relative attributes of each appliance through product
demonstrations, Callahan adds.