The Conair Cuisine kitchen products division, launched in 1987, did well but was short-lived, because two years later Lee acquired Cuisinarts, Inc. – the crown jewel of the category.
Changing the Way America Cooks
In 1989, one of the most innovative products in premium kitchen electrics was the Cuisinart Food Processor. Following its introduction to consumers in 1975, it had been steadily working its way into the home kitchen scene. One of Lee’s catch phrases was “follow the money.” He had been watching Cuisinart for a while, and once the food processor was endorsed by superstar chefs Julia Child and James Beard, he swiftly moved forward. In 1989, with profits from the Zotos sale, Conair Corporation acquired all assets of Cuisinarts Inc,
including its premier food processor. Lee immediately began building a brand out of the Cuisinart Food Processor, the company’s trademark product. Within two years of the acquisition, he unveiled a pint-sized replica called the Mini-Prep. It was an instant hit and set the stage for what would become one of the most extensive and highly rated lines in the premium kitchen appliance category. In the years to come, the boy who grew up with Josephine’s phenomenal home cooking would build this single-item brand into one of the world’s most