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About 20 years ago, a surfer named Jeff came up with an idea that would challenge the way the world scoops food from a bowl. While in Mexico, Jeff became frustrated over the trouble he had eating Ceviche and decided to do something about it. Inspired by the curl of the ocean, he designed a “CaliBowl” with a “wave like transition” on the inside that guides its contents onto a chip, spoon, or finger without spilling over the edge.
Bowls have not changed much in the 18,000 or so years of their existence. Clearly, challenging this traditional hemispheric vessel with even the most novel of concepts is not a popular pursuit. Despite the barriers, Jeff stuck with his vision for the CaliBowl. In a pitch video Jeff made in 2008, he describes how his bowl is not only great for our favorite snacks such as chips n’ salsa, but also helpful for both children learning to eat and those with special needs who may have difficulty holding bowls in place. Beyond the curled lip, the CaliBowl also has an interlocking lid that can be used on the underside to fasten the bowl in place on a flat surface—somewhat like a suction cup.
To bring the CaliBowl to the market, Jeff partnered with a 3D printing company who helped him with production and key placement, including a feature at the LA Gift Show. It was there that an editor from Oprah spotted the product, which resulted in an inclusion on Oprah’s famous “O” list. The bowl has since appeared on QVC, The Shopping Channel, Rachel Ray and can now be found in Target retail stores everywhere. The product’s primary selling point is a patent-pending “smart lip”, and its overall composition: a “non-slip silicone” that’s shatterproof and dishwasher safe.
We put this lip to the test with some chips n’ salsa. It worked just as advertised, guiding salsa right onto the chip. As a second test, we heated up some oatmeal in the microwave. The bowl had no problems in the heat and even stayed cool to the touch (on the edges) when removing. Our take in the CaliBowl: it’s an innovative product worth putting in your cupboard for those hard to dip/scoop dishes, and also comes in handy for mixing. Drop Test Bonus Points: these bowls are made in the USA; we always like to see that. Originally the company manufactured them in China, but, as co-founder Rich Stumps told Forbes.com, this initial “Monkey See, Monkey do” strategy quickly proved unsatisfactory. They decided to come back stateside to Northern California, and sacrifice some of their margins in order to preserve quality control and inventory management.
As a final test for durability, we used the CaliBowl to make some Jell-O and then, you guessed it, dropped the dish from four feet up. Watch it bounce in the video above.