Hillaby's Tools For Cooks
By Athena Raypold

Cookware the World Over

In all her travels around the globe, Lynn Hillaby found herself in cooking stores noting down and collecting must-have kitchenwares: Moroccan tajines, French egg crackers, British bean frenchers. She’d end up paying overweight luggage fees for hauling copper pots and arriving home with tajines that turned to rubble.  “You learn a lot about a culture from what they’re cooking and their implements,” she says. “You go to Morocco and you see some things that are so far from our culture, and yet we’re making very similar foods.”

Lynn’s transition from collector to importer, opening up Hillaby’s Tools for Cooks in 2011, was a natural one. She already had years of stock lists and a passion for cooking and inspiring others to cook. “Cooking is the ultimate gift,” she says. “ ‘I like this and I think you will too.’”

I really, truly believe that we'd all be better off if we did more cooking. - Lynn Hillaby, owner
Lynn Hillaby opened Hillaby's Tools for Cooks after collecting must-have kitchenwares from around the world.
Lynn Hillaby opened Hillaby's Tools for Cooks after collecting must-have kitchenwares from around the world. Photo by Athena Raypold.

Cooking Inspires Community

Cooking is central to Lynn’s life: her two sons love to cook and so does her partner – it’s how her family socializes: “We get into the kitchen, we talk, we have a glass of wine, you know. We dance when we’re waiting for the water to boil, and it’s just so nice," says Lynn. "I think we have to promote that, as well, that everyone cooks, not just one person in there, you know, sweat on their brow, hating every minute of it.”

Lynn laments all the pre-made, processed foods that so many families rely on, and that all the cooking shows on TV make cooking look so intimidating. “I really, truly believe that we’d all be better off if we did more cooking,” she says. “I would like to pass that on – just to get people excited. I think more people could take pleasure in some of those simple things.”

Hillaby's Tools for Cooks sells everything from knives and spatulas to bakeware and pots and pans.
Hillaby's Tools for Cooks sells everything from knives and spatulas to bakeware and pots and pans. Photo by Athena Raypold.

Quality Cookware, Excellent Service

The key to a good kitchen is quality cookware, and quality abounds at Hillaby’s Tools for Cooks. From basics, such as knives, whisks and spatulas to bakeware, cast iron and copper pots and pans, Hillaby’s provides only the best. “I sell toasters that will last 40 to 50 years, the Dualit. I had a lady come in who said, ‘I need a burner for a Dualit, it’s 40 years old and I think, pretty soon, it might need a new burner.’ So I ordered the burner and it will be good for another 40 years,” says Lynn.

But Lynn doesn’t just sell kitchenware; she competes with big box stores by providing an unparalleled customer service. "We service the heck out of our customers and give them information too. Somebody comes in and they ask about a technique or a product they’ve seen on TV, and I tell them how it works, letting them know to start small and then advance,” says Lynn. Customers range from amateur home cooks to gourmet chefs to five-year-olds who love to cook. “I think that’s one of the greatest gifts you can give your kid,” says Lynn, “teaching them to cook.”

One of the most popular appliances sold at Hillaby's Tools for Cooks is the Dualit toaster, which lasts for decades.
Hillaby's Tools for Cooks is located in St. Albert. Photo by Athena Raypold.
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