Monday, May 27, 2024
Affordable LuxuryFood & Drink

Two LGBTQ-owned brands you need in your kitchen!

A couple of things a kitchen should never be without is good salt and quality knives. Here are two created by LGBTQ kitchen wizards.


We were so happy we discovered this small-batch, hand-cured culinary sea salt business founded on Chicago’s West Side by former teacher, Johanna Thompson. Keep It Savory Salt Co was founded in 2013 by “salt maven” and member of the LGBTQ community Thompson, a science and history teacher with a love of being creative in the kitchen. She developed reliable yet surprising salt combos such as Lemon Thyme, Rosemary Sage, and Lavender Sage Sea Salt (all of which are a dream for roasted chicken and potatoes). But they are also perfect for spicing up turkey, lamb, and steak, fries, savory scones, veggies, and more! Vanilla Bean Sea Salt is a revelation for sprinkling on shortbread and cookies.

Thompson is still developing ideas for new flavor combinations that are gaining praise and accolades. Her Vanilla Bean Sea Salt was named Product of the Year by Food and Beverage Magazine! We’ve also found that the salts also provide good rims for various cocktails. We wanted to try the Jalapeño Lime Sea Salt on margaritas or even a couple of pinches in our guac but it is so popular it was sold out when we inquired, so we tried the Thai Ginger Lemongrass Sea Salt instead and it was delicious on the rim of a Turmeric Ginger Mule. We also loved the Mediterranean Citrus used on the rim of our Aperol Spritz, and sprinkled over a grilled chicken salad for lunch. These are powerful little salts that can bring a routine dish to life and give your favorite cocktail lip-smacking impact. Broccoli, beans, soups and scrambled eggs all get an elevated savory tang with these magic salts.

But there’s more to this savory business model than flavor. Thompson wanted to give back to her community. Keep It Savory Salt Co.’s handcrafted culinary sea salts are cured with fresh, local ingredients bought from growers and vendors working to increase food access on Chicago’s West side. And, at the end of each year, the company donates 10% of their profits to organizations working to unravel the decades of unsavory racism and economic disinvestment in that Chicago neighborhood.

“I started this salty endeavor a decade ago with the thought that my business would also be a good community partner,” Thompson wrote on Instagram recently. “I wanted to care as much about the people that made and bought my product as I did about profit margins. As a teacher for 25 years, I’d always felt like teaching made a difference in the world…I wanted the same from my entrepreneurial adventure.

“Something I have found as an entrepreneur and a teacher is that we are all connected in so many ways. The simple and complex ecosystems I teach about in the science classroom mirror the interconnectedness of people and communities all over the globe—especially the ones that include humans.”

Johanna Thompson | Photo: Instagram

And it turns out that salt, in moderation, is good for you. The human body needs sodium to maintain the right balance of water and minerals, conduct nerve impulses, and contract and relax muscles. Many of us become addicted to french fries simply because they are a salt delivery system (that’s our excuse). So start thinking about what else you can do with salt, and how you can use it to awaken your taste buds, and bring some pleasure and balance into your favorite recipes. Handy, healthful hint: Start your day with a big glass of warm water, lemon juice and a sprinkling of the Mediterranean Citrus Sea Salt to get you going in the morning.


If you’re like us, you’re probably still making do with blunt and ugly kitchen knives that have dull edges, no aesthetic appeal, and which brutalize your ingredients. Well, it’s time to change all that! We’ve discovered the only knives you will ever need. The brand is called Hast and it’s the vision of an LGBTQ, BIPOC young man named Elliot Cao.

Elliot Cao

Prior to creating Hast, Cao worked as a consultant in marketing and branding for agencies and companies such as FutureBrand, Weber Shandwick & Nivea. He is a certified Les Mills instructor, a certified trainer, and a nutrition specialist. He has always had a passion for excellence and innovation in cooking, industrial design, material science, and engineering and now he’s found a product that brings together his many interests and skills.

What a pleasure to pick up these knives and literally be given the edge as you prepare vegetables, fruit, meat, cheeses and other ingredients. Plus, the lightweight, beautifully designed, ergonomic knives add a stunning statement to your kitchen. We tried the handy little 3.5″ paring knife in matte silver—and the 8″ chef’s knife in matte silver may just be the best and most beautiful mainstay knife we’ve ever used. See the images below for what it looks like in matte silver, gold, and black. And note how the knife is one sleek piece. Made from Japanese carbon steel and with a stainless steel handle seamlessly blended with the blade, these knives will have you chopping, slicing and dicing like a pro.

Made to the same exacting standard as Japanese artisan knives, these are extremely sophisticated blades that look like art pieces in your kitchen. And speaking of art, Hast developed the iconic glass Knife Block which holds up to 7 knives and displays these pieces to their advantage. And while these are the sharpest knives we have ever used and it feels like they’ll stay that way for some time, you can purchase a Ceramic Honing Rod to maintain the edge you will come to expect from Hast.

Combining advanced materials and a Red Dot-winning streamlined design, Hast has received multiple awards from Good Housekeeping, Men’s Health, and more. Hast knives offer the preferred modern blades to bring out your inner chef or as a perfectly thoughtful gift for the chef in your life. Beautifully packaged in sleek silver boxes, we found these knives to be extremely gift-worthy, while offering an elevated take on something we use every day.

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