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- Made In
- Enthusiastic home cook should keep an eye out on these two online kitchen companies. They’re making cookware and kitchen tools so good that they’ve attracted the attention of well-known chefs.
- Made In, fresh off a $5 million funding round, now counts restaurateur and “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio and Alinea Group cofounders Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas in its group of advisors. Its American-made pots and pans perform at professional kitchen level, but are surprisingly affordable.
- Material‘s resident expert is food magazine contributor and cookbook author Alison Roman. Its sleek, thoughtfully designed kitchen tools reignite excitement in the little things, like spoons and spatulas, and remind cooks that it’s okay – maybe even preferable – to dine in at home.
Like a well-oiled kitchen brigade dishing out stunning meal after stunning meal to diners, the success of a startup can never be attributed to a singular person. Carrying out a founder’s vision requires a stellar team of product developers, manufacturing partners, marketers, investors, and more.
For kitchen startups, often founded by non-professionals like you and me who simply love cooking and want to have a better kitchen experience, seeking experts to advise on their products provides new perspectives and insights to round out their operations.
Made In, a fast-growing online cookware company founded in 2017, has roped in numerous notable names from the culinary world to advise on product development and offer tips to customers on how to best use Made In’s cooking tools at home.
Restaurateur and “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio joined Made In in late 2018 as an investor and advisory board member, citing the startup’s American-made manufacturing and thorough execution of affordable quality cookware as reasons.
- Made In/Instagram
Made In currently sells stainless clad pots and pans, carbon steel pans (now available for pre-order), nitrogen-treated chef knives, and small accessories like its award-winning Universal Lid. We tried its nonstick fry pan (from $69) and saucier ($99) last year and they’re still two of our favorite pieces to cook with – strong and sturdy, with great heat distribution and retention, and comfortable to hold. Sealing the deal is the fact they cost about 50%-60% of the price of name-brand products made of the same materials.
Though he has been approached by many different cookware brands over the years, Colicchio says “Made In truly stands out from the pack,” and he’s even planning to stock his newest restaurant with Made In products.
A recent $5 million seed funding round, led by Bonobos and Trunk Club founder Brian Spaly, brought on Alinea Group cofounders Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas to the investing and advisory board team. These chefs behind the three Michelin-starred Chicago institution Alinea will also take part in a how-to series for Made In.
The addition of this expertise is a testament to everything Made In has already accomplished in the cookware industry and an exciting hint at what it will bring to the kitchen in the near future.
While Made In prides itself on making products worthy of both the home and professional kitchen, another startup, Material, stays a little closer to the world of home dining and entertaining, and its choice of advisor reflects this leaning.
Alison Roman, the NYT Cooking and Bon Appetit contributor of “Dining In” cookbook fame, has an approachable yet no-sense attitude towards home cooking, making her role as Material’s first strategic brand advisor very fitting.
Material specializes in kitchen tools like knives, spoons, and spatulas, bundling them in two essential collections, The Fundamentals ($175) and The Iconics ($245). These multi-functional pieces work hard whether they’re being used to slice up fruit for an afternoon snack or create a dinner party feast.
Its chef knife ($75), for example, features razor-sharp Japanese steel and has a well-balanced feel, allowing you to chop and cut most ingredients. The metal spoon, suitable for both cooking and serving, rids the need to bring out a measuring cup because it holds exactly 1/4 cup of liquid.
Finished with matte details and housed in a handsome wood base, all the tools look clean, neat, and stylish, so cooking and serving still feels like a special occasion, even if you’re staying at home. Roman’s urging to “dine in” falls in line with Material’s ethos that enjoying food doesn’t have to be complex, stuffy, or expensive.