Week 44-45

The last two weeks: I’ve been busy doing user interviews with a lot of great people here in the Seattle area — It’s been super amazing to talk to people and hear what they like best about ChefSteps. All of the feedback I’m getting has been great, and we’re learning a lot about how to prioritize our efforts. Thanks to Alex, Nicole, Julian, Quoc, Chuck, Zack, and Amanda for taking time out of their day to hang out and talk with me about ChefSteps.

I’m re-examining the value of a carousel around here. I like it, because it’s really beautiful, but I’m not sure it’s helping people find content that is relevant to them. In fact, the more I talk to users, the more I’m seeing that that is a recurring problem. Because we have so many different levels of cooks at ChefSteps, the experience needs to be more guided so that people can find content that helps them take their skills to the next level. For a lot of people that are in the industry, even though some of the knife sharpening stuff is cool and relevant from a science standpoint, they already know how to sharpen their knives because they have to do it for work all the time, but spherification is new and exciting, so they’re more likely to be helped by that new technique.

Equipment continues to be a barrier for a lot of users as well, with a lot of folks not having all the cool tools we have in the kitchen (but wanting them). I think we’re doing a good job listing the substitutes and different techniques to achieve similar results. If we’re not, let us know.

One of the other things I keep hearing is that people don’t document their recipes. I was talking to Michael about this and it’s a big barrier. There are people that do it because it’s their job; recipe development is something they do and they want people to use their recipes, but for most home cooks and for users outside the industry, they cook mostly by feel, taste, texture. Is that a barrier that we can overcome? If we made it easy enough to upload a recipe or made it super-easy to get the bones of a recipe started so that you can edit it later or, better yet, someone else could do it for you or work off your idea and make something different and amazing, would that be good enough for users to really find value? I’m not sure yet, but I’m working my way towards an answer the more people I talk to.

In any case, that’s mostly what I’ve been up to. Lots of good content went up these past two weeks, so make sure you check it out. We’ve still got a lot of things coming soon as well and we’re working at making it more obvious when our stuff is going to come out so stay tuned. Have you uploaded your avatar yet? Get rid of those gray boxes!

Have a great weekend. Remember: <whisper>chefsteps!</whisper>

5 thoughts on “Week 44-45

  1. Yes! Documentation is a major hurdle to overcome. Having a way to put down a quick “sketch” of a recipe is a great idea to start getting in the habit. The current recipe editor feels a bit overwhelming and gives the impression that it will take a long time to complete. I feel like I should have a perfected recipe before I type it up. Would also love to see additional collaboration with other ChefSteps users, allowing multiple users to contribute to a recipe. Maybe a “recipe in progress” status of some sort…

    Love your guys’ commitment to the users!

    • Hey John, all good points — Right now, only admins have that ability to edit recipes, which are a select few, and opening up that to the entire community leads us to the question how to expose the entire recipe evolutionary tree to everyone or how to just select people to do it which is another UI thing completely. Pretty interesting way to develop recipes though — The collaboration part is key, which gets us to pulling and pushing, branching pretty quickly 🙂

  2. I’m loyal.
    What I like, are the “components” of your final plates that you show in depth.
    For example: pickled mustard seeds, I produced, stored and have used several times in variation.
    Strawberries, salmon crudo, biscuits, pumpernickel, sous vide beans.
    All foundation and useful to tweak.
    Knife sharpening was nice to show my dad, and a few young cooks. I needed the refresher.
    Keep up the great work!
    My only request would be to see even more of it but I recognize how often we see a new technique. Impressive. Thank you for your hard work and investment.
    I really look forward to the new “tricks.”

    • Thanks, Marc! Great feedback, I’m starting to hear that a lot — Final plates are going to start cropping up more frequently as we roll out our plated dishes recipes. We’re really close on that.

      We’re definitely working on new tricks to show everyone!

  3. I’d like to see a useful app for mobile platforms including these ideas for documenting recipes. I currently use Paprika and buy it for the team so we stay in sync, but I often find that I don’t update changes as often as I should.
    In my ideal world, I would “speak” my changes and the app would update in good format but I realize I’m reaching too far yet on that one. 🙂