Mathew Froggatt started out in hospitality over a decade ago. Molecular gastronomy was having a moment and he was in the business of supplying kitchens with everything from rotary evaporators to sous-vide cookers. More recently, however, his focus has shifted to something altogether less high-tech. Through Kinn Collective, he represents a portfolio of artisans who create bespoke cookware and tableware by hand for private clients and some of the world’s leading restaurants.
When chef Jeremy Chan of Ikoyi in St James’s was searching for some custom-made skewers to accompany plates of octopus and meatballs, Froggatt hooked him up with Somerset blacksmith Alex Pole, who forges the most beautiful BBQ forks, skillets and ladles. When Guy Ritchie’s chef was after some wow-factor plates to debut at the director’s birthday dinner, Froggatt introduced him to Bird & Branch Turnery in Battersea, whose ash or walnut dishes are nothing short of stunning.
I’d happily overhaul my entire dinner service, cutlery drawer and pan cupboard with pieces from Kinn Collective, starting with spatulas by Erik Mossnelid of Renskalla, who sources his wood from Swedish forestland handed down through 13 generations of his family. Also on my list are some cobalt-blue-trimmed bone-china plates from Jeremy and Cath Brown of Feldspar in Dartmoor; a couple of bowls made out of ancient bog wood by Stockholm carver Daniel Wester; and some steak knives by Are-based forger Tobbe Lundström with handles fashioned from locally foraged reindeer antler.
One of Kinn Collective’s most popular makers is Norwegian studio Odd Standard. Among its creations is an iconic piece of tableware for Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume in the Lake District, called The Sack, which consists of porcelain food pouches standing upright on a corrugated clay base. Besides its beauty, what sets Odd Standard’s work apart is its durability. “A lot of ceramics look amazing,” says Froggatt, “but when they actually get into a busy restaurant they don’t always stand up to the dishwasher, to being moved about and stacked.” For Odd Standard, functionality is always key. Its Rocky collection is made from Finnish soap stone and looks like pebbles on a Devon beach. The plates and bowls can withstand temperatures as low as -200ºC and high as 1,400ºC, making them suitable for everything from experimental cooking with liquid nitrogen to heating up leftovers. Pretty and practical: what’s not to like?