If you're an amateur at using chopsticks or if you just can't get a handle on the wooden variety, you might want to try plastic Rookie Stix. The beginners' oriental-cuisine eating utensil - developed by Lynette Jee of Rookie Stix Inc. in Honolulu - is made of polystyrene and is designed in one piece to help that rice stay put until it gets into your mouth.
Jee developed Rookie Stix with co-inventor Demetri Economou and Bear Machinery, a Honolulu machine shop that builds a few injection molds now and then.
Two years ago she introduced the product in Hawaii. Sales took off, and with the increase in demand Jee found it more economical to move the mold to the mainland.
Plastikon Industries in Hayward, Calif., now molds Rookie Stix for Jee.
``It wasn't cost-effective to make the products in Hawaii anymore,'' said Jee, adding that the cost of electricity and importing the raw material pushed the price of the product beyond what she could sell them for at the retail level.
Recently, she displayed Rookie Stix at a housewares show in Las Vegas.
Joyce Chen, a distributor of Asian cuisine and specialty cooking products, now has the exclusive U.S. distribution rights for Rookie Stix.
Rookie Stix won Gourmet Retailer magazine's best new product award last May in San Francisco.