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

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

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.