THE BEGINNING OF COOK SMARTS
When I started Cook Smarts, I didn’t have a clear idea of what the company would grow up to be. I knew that I wanted to help others live healthier but I wasn’t sure of “the how” just yet. However, I did know that I wanted the focus to be around education and home cooking, something I have been passionate about for some time (so passionate it even landed me on the Food Network Star when I was 24 — more on that in the links below).
I decided to spend a year doing some market research to figure out what my business would be about, so I started giving cooking lessons all around the Bay Area to answer my big question: What prevented people from cooking more at home?
My lessons led me to a wide array of people — lots of moms (and a whole class of teenage moms that I taught for an entire year), newlyweds, widowers, people who had just been diagnosed with an illness. I learned a ton from spending time in their kitchens but the biggest insight I got during this time was that regardless of gender, age, or income, just about everyone lacked the same 3 things: time, knife skills, and kitchen confidence.
People wanted to cook and knew that it was the healthier choice but just didn’t feel like they had the time to do it. Plus without proper knife skills, everything took longer than it needed to, which made them feel pretty unsure of themselves in the kitchen. Sound familiar? If yes, know that you’re completely not alone! I saw this pattern with every single one of my students!
It then became clear to me that whatever I built would have to save people time while also improving their skills too. My answer? A meal plan service where people wouldn’t have to spend time stressing out about what to make for dinner that also had an educational component to it. With short knife skills videos integrated right into the recipe steps, they would basically be getting a mini cooking lesson while cooking up a dinner that they didn’t have to plan.
It seemed like the perfect solution, but now the big challenge was how the heck was I gonna build this?