Are You an Artiko Chef? New Store Offers Frozen Help for Cooks At All Levels

by Judy Silberstein

artiko(December 3, 2003) “Are you an Artiko Chef?” asks Ariane Kemper, owner of Artiko, the new store at 1212 West Boston Post Road that sells an assortment of frozen foods for both everyday family eating and special entertainment events. An Artiko Chef, by her definition may be anyone from a non-cook looking for a home-heated meal to an ambitious gourmet cook who uses cut-up frozen ingredients to speed the process.

According to Kemper, at 4 pm, most of us don’t have anything planned for dinner and are frantically trying to shop, buy and prepare a healthy meal in the few remaining minutes before starvation strikes. “The irony is that in these days and times, more and more people want to eat at home but they don’t want to cook,” she said. That’s where she believes Artiko fits in with its assortment of frozen appetizers, entrees, vegetables, snacks and desserts. The motto is Cook Fast. Eat Well. Enjoy Life.

Kemper developed the Artiko concept after traveling in Europe and encountering frozen food stores with high quality items. “ I wondered why we didn’t have that,” she said. “The technology was there - it just wasn’t available here.”

ArtikoShe’s organized her store around 23 waist-high, glass-topped freezers stocked with over 350 items, many of them imported from Europe or developed specially for Artiko. There’s a small kitchen at the rear of the store, where she whips up samples and she’s open to suggestions. Recent additions include lo-carbohydrate meals such as the one featuring salmon, basil pesto and a squash medley. “We had a lot of requests for lo-carb,” she reported.

As a typically over-stretched professional woman, Kemper was drawn to the Artiko concept as a way to relieve her own domestic load. “The burden of cooking falls on the woman, and I found that profoundly unfair.” She admits to being one of Artiko’s best customers.

AnselmosAs Kemper offered a tour of the store, the Anselmo family stopped in for the first time. “Wednesdays are tough days,” said Pam Anselmo, whose young daughters Gillian and Gabby were helping her pick out dinner. “With swim practice we don’t get home until late.”

“My mom cooks every day,” offered Gillian. “This is perfect,” said her mom, who left Artiko with something for everyone, including something from the toddler section for her little one at home.

The crispy-mashed potatoes in the shape of letters or animals are a big hit with the under-three crowd, said Kemper. Another big hit over the holidays were trays of petit-fours. “One woman ordered over $500 of petit fours and appetizers for a birthday party,” she said.

The store is open 10 am to 7 pm Monday through Saturday and 12 pm to 5 pm on Sunday. You can reach Artiko at 1-888-278-4567. A website is in the works and will be found at www.artikochef.com

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