Welcome to ChefSteps

We are Chris Young, Grant Crilly, and Ryan Matthew Smith-all alumni of the Modernist Cuisine team.

Nathan Myhrvold set an audacious goal for that book; and we achieved it because a team of talented people collaborated to create something that would have lasting value for the culinary world. But once Modernist Cuisine was published, we thought: What next? Should we get in touch with other literary agents and see if we can try to get something bigger and better published? Or do we figure out what our next step is first?

Well, for us, the answer was to go big. To build our own experimental kitchen with a solid countertop from one of those tile slab yard and beautiful cabinets (and a photo studio) where we could keep doing what we love to do, which is exploring what’s possible in a kitchen where the art and science of cooking come together.

We’ve done this. Delve Kitchen is our workshop located in Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market. It’s filled with all the usual stuff you expect in a well-equipped kitchen, plus a number of exotic tools, technologies, and toys found only in research labs and machine shops. Better still, steps from our door are the farm stands, butchers, fish mongers, specialty grocers, and local artisans that make Pike Place Market the heart of Seattle’s food scene.

Once our kitchen was up and running, a lot of people assumed that we would quickly get to work on another book. Not quite so fast – disaster struck many times before we could launch. Our ovens blew up, and required a rather speedy oven repair. Speedy, as in, within the next 24-hours or we don’t open.

Now, big beautiful cookbooks are great-and we’re always excited when a new one arrives at our kitchen-but we were interested in doing something different. Rather than sequester ourselves away for a long time before publishing our work with great fanfare, we wanted to do something more collaborative.

So rather than a book, our audacious goal is to create a culinary school where curious cooks can learn the how’s and why’s of cooking.

Our first course is on sous vide cooking, and you can read more about it here. But creating the course content is actually the easy part of our job; we need your help to make this successful. Our team is small, we’re in start-up mode, and this is all being done without a bunch of investor funding. When you are a start-up, there are a lot of things that you need to take into account, so as we progress and find our footing amongst all of this there will be a chance for us to advance, maybe we’ll need to look into Software development phoenix companies, or ones like it, to reach a new level for our company or appeal to other potential clients, etc. all of this is new but exciting so we can’t wait to see where this takes us and you.

And this is where you come in: If this seems interesting, tell us, and better still, tell your friends about us. Feel free to use Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or some other new social media thing that we don’t know about yet. Then, once the course starts, get engaged with us and with your peers. Above all, practice the techniques, try the recipes, and then let us know how it goes. Your feedback (good and bad) will keep us getting better at what we do.

Chris, Grant, and Ryan

39 thoughts on “Welcome to ChefSteps

  1. Chris,Grant and Ryan: This is amazing to have the opportunity to follow your course on sous vide cooking. I am a 62 year old Canadian woman with a background in food (not professional) and the opportunity to travel and eat all over the world. I will definitely take your course and love the fact you would appreciate feedback. A big thank-you!

  2. Excited to see what you have in store.

  3. This is huge ! So excited to share and learn ,give back and watch this site take off ! Thank you for sharing and exploring

  4. Inspiring and ground breaking work! I’m using SousVide Supreme and Salmon is now on the menu tomorrow….

    Merci Bien!

  5. Thanks Deborah, Adam, Michael V, and Barbs. We really appreciate your interest. More to come, and soon.

    Chris, Grant, and Ryan

  6. Chris, Grant, and Ryan – thank you for starting up this amazing project! I found my passion in cooking and now changing my professional life. Hope to learn many interesting, modern techniques from you. Wish you good luck!
    Alexandra (with thanks from Siberia, Russia)

  7. Absolutely can’t wait for this to get up and running. I’m 25 from Perth, Australia and this looks like an awesome way for guys like me down here to learn a few things without hitching flights to the states/europe.
    Good luck guys.

  8. Wonderful. I delighted that The NYT published a heads-up about your project. Please keep me posted and YES, you may snag/use my email address from this message. Best wishes. -C.

  9. Thank you so much for doing this. I’m looking forward to taking the course. There’s so much to learn and to know that I’ll be learning from the experts is enormously motivating.

  10. Like what you are doing, have already told my cooks to check you out. Every bit of information that you can make available from books, on-hand, and know through demonstration videos can only further a person and ultimately the level of cooking in the United States. When do you think that the full course will be available?

  11. Amazing stuff! Really effective video and teaching. Can’t wait for rest of series!

  12. looks like a good format. excited to see this take off.
    Best of luck!

  13. Chris, Grant and Ryan,

    Thank you kindly for your entreprenurial and amazing vision. More and cost-free access to education is the future, this is just great and thank you again for your effort. Chris, I heard your conference and demo at the CIA, which was truly inspiring and am looking forward to all of your classes.


  14. Keep me informed.

  15. I’m currently studying to get my Culinology degree. I could only imagine doing this as my job, and it makes me VERY excited for the future!

    I’ll be definitely visiting this site frequently!

  16. Greetings from across the sea! This is just what I was searching for, and you wrote it well. Thankyou

  17. Hi there you have a great weblog over here! Thanks for sharing this interesting stuff for us! If you keep up this great work I’ll visit your blog again. Thanks!

  18. Thank you for this exciting venture. I have been doing quite a bit of molecular cooking but it is mostly trial and error because there is so little useful information out there – even in cookbooks. The trial and error method means I have to do a meal 3 or 5 times before I perfect it, and this is costly for a retired person. Once again thanks and I can’t wait.

  19. […] ChefSteps: Part of the team behind the Modernist Cuisine project has peeled off to start an online cooking course. Even if you never sous-vide a thing, the photography alone is worth studying. — Julia Moskin […]

  20. From Spain we are eager to know more about your proposal.
    Good Luck!

  21. Great idea you have developed. Many congratulations on the initiative and I will join the courses. Please notify the start already notified several colleagues and students. I am writing from Central America and I’m sure many we will join this great learning. Cordial greetings from Nicaragua.

  22. Congratulations for this good idea. Fantastic!

  23. Love your blog! Keep up the good work. 🙂

  24. Anderson Chaparro

    Boys, that work you do is amazing, I hope this is not a cooking-dream. I’ll wait for everything you gave us. thanks from Colombia

  25. Simplemente espectacular! Cuándo podremos continuar con el curso de cocina al vacío? Muchas gracias y felicitaciones!

  26. Hi, just wanted to say that i hope all the courses arent like your first one. i think sous vide is wonderful but just not practical or accesible for most. It requires a big investment in not only time but equipment. Looking forward to a class that I can really use on a more practical level. Awesome idea though!

    • Hi Derek:

      We do have courses beyond sous vide planned. Ultimately it will be you, our students, that decide what we offer next. I also hope that we’ll be able to convince you that sous vide doesn’t necessarily require expensive investments in vacuum sealers and immersion circulators.

  27. I can’t wait! Thank you for sharing and knowledge and experiences.

    Have I mention that I really just can’t wait to begin your curriculum? I case I haven’t, I really, really can’t wait.


  28. this sounds great!! Can’t wait to take a course!!

  29. Thank you for your dedication, vision, and courage to follow your passions and bring us along with you!

    You guys are more than an inspiration… you are genuine leaders in a field where inclusion is a challenge and community has only, until now, had to flourish in small pockets.

    Now, we have a virtual table we can gather around to learn, share, and grow.

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

  30. This sounds like an incredibly interesting project – I love, love, love the fact that you are trying to disseminate free learning and that you are willing and eager to do so about complex topics. I am not a professional chef, but a good home cook and avid eater who would happily travel to Seattle to take a course with you guys.

    I have though a neurotic question about sous-vide. I am extremely cautious about heating foods – mostly in the microwave – using any kind of container or cover that isn’t ceramic or earthenware (or metal for stovetop or oven, obviously). Every time I see an image of sous-vide cooking I worry about chemicals, etc. leaching from the (plastic?) encasing the food into the food itself. I am very interested in your opinion about this matter.

    Thanks again for this great idea.

    • Just figured I would comment on this, as I had similar concerns. I do not know the bag types used with chamber vacuum sealers, however I know that food saver brand vacuum bags are 5 layers of plastic, with the innermost being a nonleeching kind. From everything I have found on the internet, foodsaver bags are safe. I have not found similar for ziploc, which makes me paranoid.

    • Hi Rachel. Welcome to ChefSteps, and thanks for your question about plastics.

      As most of us know, media reports have raised concerns about chemicals leaching into foods and drinks from their plastic containers. Many people are concerned that plastics used in sous vide packaging contain harmful chemicals that can leach into food during storage and cooking.

      We’ve looked into this issue extensively. According to the latest research, the safest plastics for use with food are high-density polyethylene, low-density polyethylene, and polypropylene. Virtually all sous vide bags are made from these plastics (the inner layer of nearly all sous vide bags is polyethylene). Most name brand food storage bags and plastic wraps such as Saran Wrap are also made from safe plastics like polyethylene. It’s our opinion, after an extensive review of the scientific literature, that concerns about the safety of sous vide bags are misplaced.

      Indeed, other plastics in your kitchen are where we focus our concern. Inexpensive, bulk plastic wraps are often not as safe. These products are still commonly made from polyvinyl chloride or polyvinylidene chloride, which can contain harmful plasticizers that have been shown to leach into fatty foods such as cheese, meat, or fish. Legitimate concerns exist about food exposed to these plastics at higher temperatures, such as when you microwave food wrapped in these plastics.

      What should you do? Polyethylene-based plastic wraps are available at only slightly higher cost and do not raise such concerns. You can tell the difference because the PCV plastic wraps are very stretchy, whereas the safer polyethylene wraps are, frankly, not as good.

      Another area for concern are the clear, rigid, plastic storage containers common in professional kitchens. These are made from polycarbonate. These plastics are a cause for concern because they contain bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical that can disrupt hormone activity and can leach into food or beverages. Cracks and crazing due to wear and tear increase the rate at which BPA leaches out of polycarbonates. If you are concerned about BPA contamination, however, replace any polycarbonate containers that have cracks or crazing. Thankfully, newer polycarbonate containers are now, mostly, BPA-free as a result of the massive amount of media attention this controversy has received over the last few years.

      • This is the exact kind of concise information disseminating that I hope this style of learning achieves. Thank-you for your broad scope and inclusionary position. We will all benefit from diversity. Though as a professional; I hope to find opportunity for subject expansion. No doubt, your endeavors will be my reward. On that topic, I’m curious how your efforts will be supported? I have decided to purchase a couple “things I’ll need” from your recommendations. Will the courses ever be fee based or chefsteps require a payed-for membership?

        • Hi souljoyman, we plan to develop our course content—for the sous vide course and for future coures—based upon the feedback we get from our students. If you have topics you would really like us to cover, the best thing to do is ask us your questions and provide your feedback on our forum.

          ChefSteps plans to remain free-to-learn, which means we will not be charging money for the course itself. In the future certain services like live demonstrations and office hours may incur some kind of fee.


  31. Hi Grant and Ryan, it was great meeting you today and learning more about what you are doing downstairs. I look forward to seeing what we can do with chocolate in Pike Place Market. Very excited to be your new neighbor!


    indi chocolate LLC

  32. I am so excited that I was referred to this site. I have already gain tons of valuable information. I look forward to seeing more videos that are outlined in the syllabus.
    I also would like to see things using the other Tools in the MC Books 🙂
    Thanks again for all the hard work!!


  33. My wife and I just redesigned our kitchen and she is experiencing the slow loss of her sister to brain cancer, her days are numbered and I am seeking something for the two of us to do together after her sister has passed. I feel I have found something in your program both with our true love of cooking and the fact we can’t afford culinary school which I have always wanted to attend for just the skills of cooking. I have already signed up and learned about knives and even that excited me. Go figure, thanks for doing this and I will tell all as we go. Ken

    • Hi Ken — We’re glad to read that you and your wife have something valuable in our work at ChefSteps. We’ll keep more coming.