Shark Tank's recent episode left viewers scrambling for tissues (and their credit cards) after the kids of a 9/11 firefighter represented for their dad's brilliant cooking tool — and did him proud.
The late Keith Young was a New York City firefighter, firehouse chef, two-time Chopped champion, and cookbook author who worked during 9/11. He invented a clever kitchen tool called the Cup Board Pro, a pitched and grooved cutting board with a detachable cup/tray for collecting chopped items or waste, which also acts as a visual tribute to the firefighters lost in 9/11.
Keith stopped working on it for two years to take care of his wife, who passed away from breast cancer in 2014. After picking it back up and releasing a YouTube video demonstration where he made guacamole with the Cup Board Pro, he started working toward the goal of pitching it on Shark Tank before he passed away of a 9/11-related cancer in March.
His children Kaley, Christian, and Keira fulfilled his dream of pitching the Cup Board Pro on Shark Tank and showed the judges the audition video he had gone so far as to film. Even the most ruthless Shark's eyes were teary by the time the siblings asked who wanted to make a deal with them — it's hard not to break when you see a hardened NYC firefighter tell the siblings in a video that their dad made the firehouse kitchen a place that was "comfortable, safe, and warm."
The Sharks ultimately all jointly offered the Young family $100,000 for 20 percent of the profits, which they pledged to donate to a charity that their father supported for firefighters who got sick after 9/11. The money will be used to manufacture more units and pay for marketing and advertising.
“It was surreal,” Christian, 20, recalled to People of the Shark Tank experience. “It was really cool pitching with my two sisters. We knew we were all next to each other, giving each other the energy to pitch our dad’s product.”
Kaley, 24, told the publication that the Cup Board Pro has sold out of its initial 2,000 units since the episode aired, via the online store that they started with their sister Keira, 15.
“So now we’re going to work on more manufacturing to fulfill my dad’s dream of having the Cup Board Pro in every kitchen in America,” Kaley said.
And no, we're not crying... we're just over here chopping onions on our Cup Board Pro (while crying).
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