Editor’s note: We’re chronicling how different innovations like Potluck are changing the way we eat and drink as we lead up to this fall’s Food Loves Tech. Our annual deep dive into the future of food and ag returns to Industry City on November 2–3, 2018—learn more and get your tickets here.
Minsuk Kim thinks you should be spending more time in the kitchen. Or rather, he thinks it’s time more young people enjoyed preparing and eating home-cooked food.
The co-founder of new online Brooklyn kitchenware brand Potluck, Kim hopes to help connect a new generation of cooks to quality, affordable kitchenware but also “promote home cooking.” “So many marketing dollars are spent on convincing us cooking at home isn’t something we want to do… we’re choosing to invest our energy and money in supporting something different.”
Together with digital retail expert Jessica Sheft-Ason, the former Glossier marketing lead launched Potluck in July after realizing the majority of items in kitchenware sets either weren’t designed for small city kitchens, contained unnecessary gadgets or were prohibitively expensive, especially for first-time buyers. “We wanted to take a more thoughtful approach to product curation,” says Kim.
Looking to create the “most affordable experience possible” and drawing on his time growing innovative consumer brands like Warby Parker, the founder started connecting to manufacturers at national kitchenware shows. The more he learned, the more these conversations revealed much of what’s on offer today is “marked up several times over” despite being manufactured in the same place, typically China.
Kim realized that by cutting out the middleman and offering just the essentials, kitchenware could become more affordable. Settling on internationally sourced products for the most accessible price point, Potluck offers four curated sets ranging from $60-270. Available to purchase through the startup’s website and shipped to your door, the sets are designed to be suitable for a Brooklyn-esque kitchen: “living in Brooklyn definitely changes your relationship to space.”
Despite the lighter price tag, Potluck’s mission draws on lessons from culinary heavyweights such as Mark Bittman, whose “inspiring” article “A No-Frills Kitchen Still Cooks” says budget cookware doesn’t have to mean low-quality eats.
Similarly the site’s design, created by former colleague Rebecca Zhou, is reminiscent of cookbooks from the ’70s and ’80s, including culinary authority Jacques Pépin’s home cooking primer from the era: La Technique. “An incredibly informative book without being pretentious,” says Kim.
Now Potluck is throwing the gauntlet to a new generation of price- and space-conscious cooks by focusing on the practical over the fanciful. “There’s nothing in those sets we wouldn’t use ourselves,” says Kim. Ultimately he hopes you and your kitchen will agree.
Photos courtesy of Potluck.