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Charles E. Williams, Founder Of Cookware Giant Williams-Sonoma, Dies


You can thank Chuck Williams for a lot of things we now take for granted in the kitchen.


Balsamic vinegar, food processors, those standing KitchenAid mixers. Williams died over the weekend at age 100. He's being remembered today as the guy who took cooking up a notch.

MCEVERS: Here he is on this show in 2005, talking about opening a store in the 1950s.


CHUCK WILLIAMS: What was available for home cooks was completely different - much thinner aluminum pots and pans. In fact, you had to be careful with them because they would get out of shape and dented up.

MCEVERS: Chuck Williams named his store in Sonoma, Calif., Williams-Sonoma.

CORNISH: CEO Laura Alber says it was always more than a shop to him.

LAURA ALBER: He taught Americans to cook at home.

CORNISH: Williams did that through classes at the stores, and he helped write more than 100 cookbooks. Alber says he believed in the power of good technique.

ALBER: You can make all these complicated things, but if you can do the simple things really well with a small change, that's the Chuck Williams way. That's the inspiring home-cooked meal that everyone wants to have.

MCEVERS: Chuck Williams had two pieces of advice for a long and happy life. He told the Williams-Sonoma blog earlier this year, love what you do, and always eat well. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.