Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

FoodCuber creates sensation

The brainchild of a Lake Oswego woman, this kitchen 'gadget' could revolutionize sizing portions
by: Barb Randall, Lake Oswego resident Lisa Brock has designed the FoodCuber, a product that is available in many sizes, and could become a standard utensil in every household.

Many people dream of coming up with just one good idea to make their fortune. Lake Oswego resident Lisa Brock may just have hit upon hers.

Brock has created FoodCuber, stackable, freezer-safe plastic containers that make pre-portioning and storing food a snap. The trays have one-half cup, one cup and two-cup storage compartments and feature half-fill lines, ensuring that you can store exactly what's needed.

The gadget is intended for use by anyone who eats, says Brock. The trays can be used for pre-portioning foods for children and elderly, helping keep portion size under control for dieters and diabetics, and reduce food waste, and even portioning pet foods.

Brock was hit with her idea in December 2001, while reading a magazine article prompting the use of ice cube trays for more than just freezing leftover chicken stock.

'I thought, 'What am I going to do with a freezer full of chicken stock ice cubes?' I knew that would be either not thawing enough or thawing too many - an ice cube sized portion was way too small,' said Brock. 'I wanted a bigger size cube, and started looking around for some on the market, figuring someone had created some system. When I couldn't find any, I thought, 'That's too easy. I can't be that smart.' I asked a few close girlfriends to look around, and when they couldn't find any either, I knew I was onto something.'

Brock spent the next several months researching patents and then actually put her project on hold, lacking funds to go forward.

'Then a dear friend stepped forward as my Angel Investor. She came up with the money for the molds,' said Brock.

The 'angel' is Diana Helm of Boring, a Damascus City Council member.

'It took three years to get to this point,' said Brock. 'I didn't know what it took to get (the idea) from a cocktail napkin to this point.'

As providence would have it, Brock was laid off her full-time job in December 2000, with a warehouse full of FoodCubers.

'Parenting Magazine called Jan. 2, and then Real Simple Magazine called Jan. 3,' said Brock with a smile.

She appeared on local TV show AM Northwest the first week in February. The big coup is her upcoming interview with producers from the Oprah Winfrey show in Chicago.

'The Oprah show is looking for the next Big Idea. I sent in my FoodCuber info and they shot back an interview time slot in Chicago the end of March!,' Brock said.

An appearance on the Oprah show would bring national attention to her product.

'Three cities will have shows showing great ideas, and the audience will select the top idea. That company will get a spot on the QVC network. I'm already talking with QVC; and face it, once anyone is on Oprah, it's a whole new ball game.'

Currently, FoodCuber trays are available only on the Internet at www.foodcuber.com. Retail packaging was to be ready for Brock's approval this week.

'I am trying to push the horse from both ends,' she said.

'I will have more credibility with retailers if I can say I am in Real Simple Magazine, Cooking Light and at Parenting Magazine.com's pick of the week.'

A Tigard firm manufactures FoodCuber currently, but Brock is expecting to have to move production to China eventually.

So what's next? Brock wants to hear from users what they want her to do with FoodCuber next.

'It would be natural to go to the quarter-cup size, but I want to hear what users want. And I think I'll hold out for Williams Sonoma to produce the porcelain and copper version,' she said with a smile.

For more information on FoodCuber, visit the Web site at www.foodcuber.com.