“The majority of our customers are adults who make dioramas for military displays.” —Gina King (aka “Chef Gina”)
Come and Get It—In 1:6 Scale!
Spunky entrepreneur and 1:6 scaler, Gina King, of North Ridgeville, Ohio, wrote into The Joe Report recently to advise us that she’s been creating and selling her own line of miniature food and drink props since 1999, and that her products are ideal for use in any sort of GIjOE-related diorama requiring such items. Our imaginations immediately raced with thoughts of the Joes sitting around our offices and their “pals-n-gals” all set up in historic WWII sidewalk cafe dios, pulling all-night K-P in the Mess Hall kitchen, throwing darts down at the local pub with “me mates,” or just hangin’ and chillin’ in a cool 1:6 scale game room, playing pool and drinking beer. Oohrah!
After conversing back-n-forth, Gina kindly offered to provide The Joe Report with some free samples for our (and our reader’s) close-up perusal, and we couldn’t resist setting up a quick, impromptu “photo-shoot” with some hungry and thirsty GIjOEs, so as to demonstrate the exact scale and details of her superb products.
After inspecting the samples, we knew we wanted to learn more about Gina’s amazing “minis” and were just about to ask her if she would consent to an interview when our crack research staff discovered she had just completed a similar interview in the January 2013 issue of Dolls Magazine (DM). It seemed pointless to make Gina “chew on” and “spit out” the same faux food information twice (HA), so we’ve adapted and edited down the most pertinent passages of her DM interview and “re-run” them for you below. Our sincerest thanks to Dolls Magazine and Gina for allowing us to re-share this information with you here again today. Enjoy!
DM: In addition to sculpting miniature food, are, or were you also a chef or “foodie” in real life?
“Yes. I have an Associate’s Degree in Applied Business with a major in Culinary Arts. My specialty was high volume cooking for up to 30,000!”
DM: Your website says you’ve been “Chef Gina” since 1999. How did the business get started?
“Chef Gina’s started on Ebay in 1999. The idea behind making doll food was originally my mom’s idea. In 1999, I was laid off from a job and my mom said, ‘Gina, I always wanted play food for my Barbie’s. Why don’t you make food for Barbie and try selling it on eBay?’ I said, ‘Mom, that’s stupid. Barbie doesn’t even eat. Who’s going to buy that?’ That Easter, my mom gave me a basket full of clay. We worked hours through the night ‘cooking up’ scrumptious food! When the business started to grow, we eventually created our own website (HERE).”
DM: Are you a doll collector yourself? If so, for how long? And what kind of dolls do you collect? (How many do you think you own?)
“I am a doll (and action figure) collector. I’ve been collecting since I was a child and now have 140 dolls. My collection ranges from vintage Kellys, Barbies, and GIjOEs, to My Scenes, Bratzs, Genes, Tonners and American Girls. Most of my dolls are out of the box; because I use them for displays.”
DM: Is Chef Gina’s a sole-proprietor operation, or is there someone else involved in the business?
“Chef Gina’s is a LLC. Including myself, there are four people involved: James, my brother, is the set and design manager. He can design and build anything! A lot of his work has appeared in magazines. Peggy, my mom, you’ll see at conventions and doll shows. And my husband Kelly does all the behind-the-scenes work.”
DM: How would you describe the Chef Gina’s business? Is it just food for dolls or is it something much more? How would you explain it to someone who is not familiar?
“Chef Gina’s is a global brand. We make and sell realistic play-food for fashion (1:6 scale) and larger sized dolls as well as life-sized. At this time, our brand can be found online and in three stores. In addition to providing adult collectors with accessories for their dioramas, our products also influence the creative, young minds of children.”
DM: Is being “Chef Gina” your full-time job? If not, what else do you do?
Chef Gina’s is not my full-time job, even though I do put in full-time hours. My main profession is top secret….I basically sit in a “bat cave” waiting for the call!”
Bottom Line: The final results of our inspection are in: the products from “Chef Gina’s LLC” are of absolute top-notch quality and are sure to please even the most demanding detailers and creators of 1:6 scale dioramas. We absolutely LOVE their 1:6 scale mugs of beer, jello desserts, and dinner plates full of food. They’re superbly detailed, durable, and just a lot of fun to play with. The prices too, seem VERY fair for all the detail and professional-quality workmanship you receive. Our sincerest thanks to Gina King for providing all the free samples and for the “heads up” on her fascinating (second) full-time job. What a great business. Go, GINA!