Culture Kitchen Closes Shop

Mailchimp_img02

If you recently visited Culture Kitchen’s homepage you read the note below and learned that we have closed our shop.

Wondering what’s next for the blog?  I’ll be posting every few weeks, sharing my adventures continuing to cook with the amazing Culture Kitchen Cooks.  Right now I’m working on a post sharing an afternoon of cooking with Dang from Thailand.  Stay tuned!

Looking forward to continuing to cook with you!

Abby

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT!

2.5 years ago, the idea of Culture Kitchen was born

1.5 years ago, Culture Kitchen became a company.

Today, we close our shop & move on to new ways of pursuing our mission.

From the start, we set out to connect people by sharing culture and incredible food.  We began with cooking classes. We celebrated the amazing cooking skills and culture of our talented instructors, immigrants to the San Francisco Bay Area who have mastered their culture’s cuisine from years of cooking.  Our intimate classes focused not only on teaching authentic ethnic culinary cuisines, but the story of our instructors, bringing to life the flavors, experiences and essence of their home country.  We then ventured into a new product line, the Culture Kitchen Kits.  Our kits took some of the most memorable classes and instructors and brought their recipes and ingredients to the entire US.  In less than a year, we shipped cooking kits to almost all 50 states, covering 8 different cuisines and 8 incredible home-taught cooks.  Some of you shared your dinner photos with us and proved that together, we were able to connect people by sharing culture and food, no matter where you live.  

The last few years have been an amazing and life changing journey with the Culture Kitchen team, our vibrant cooks, their families, and all of our dedicated customers.  But we weren’t able to get everything to come together like we had imagined.  We had challenges with sales, bumps in the road with funding and sometimes dwindeling team energy from working very long hours.  All these things lead us to decide it was best to close-up shop, give big hugs to all of our Culture Kitchen family and explore our own ways of spreading culture through food with other projects.  It’s with heavy hearts that we close the doors of Culture Kitchen.  It has been a great privilege doing this work and making memories over the kitchen table with you. 

We are honored for all of the encouragement, enthusiasm, and support from our investors, teammates, customers, and everyone whose lives Culture Kitchen has touched.  Words cannot express how grateful we are to have had the opportunity to pursue our dream.  The mission of connecting people by sharing culture and food is bigger than just one company. We hope you will continue to explore ways to connect people through food.

THANK YOU!

Abby Sturges & Jennifer López

Co-founders

Advertisements

Hawaii Food & Wine Festival: Battle of the Food Geeks

 

We were honored to be asked by the Hawaii Food & Wine festival and 500 Startups to present Culture Kitchen as part of their Battle of the Food Geeks last week alongside other great food startups.  It was great to share what Culture Kitchen is all about with an excited audience of festival attendees and the esteemed panel of food and tech leaders.  A big thanks to everyone who came out and our impressive panel of Susan Feniger, Roy Yamaguchi, Sang Yoon, Lee Anne Wong, Chris Grdovic and Dave McClure!  Thanks for making our first trip to Hawaii memorable, aloha and mahalo!

Straight from the Source: Meet Aradhita

Aradhita is the amazing Master Cook behind this months new Culture Kitchen Kit.  Hear from her in this post on her cooking career.

————

In the year 2000, I gave up my bachelor life and got married. The only cooking I knew up until that point was how to boil milk and a few snacks. My husband used to live in Bangalore (often times known as the Silicon Valley of India) and we were supposed to travel there from our home town 2 weeks after getting married. He casually told me that I should learn 2-3 dishes from his mom before we leave. I panicked and interviewed my mom and my mother-in-law for recipes and wrote everything down – with the hope to try and figure it out when we reach Bangalore. The day came and we left for Bangalore, during the journey, I told my husband about my cooking skills. He was of course not thrilled and bought me a recipe book from the train station.

 

We reach Bangalore and I could not even figure out how to make rice. I remembered we went to the market and bought an electric rice maker and I had to read the manual to understand the ratio of rice to water. Well, that was the start of an amazing journey of my life. I had a brand new life in a brand new city, plenty of time in my hand, a few hand written recipes, recipe book and a desire to succeed and rise to my husband’s expectations.

 

One quality which helped me was the fact that I liked to eat. Till date, I cannot decide what I like more – to cook or to eat. So, as a connoisseur of food with zero cooking skills, I started experimenting with ingredients and spices. I got rid of my phobia of not touching raw meat and fish and started cooking, testing and making panic calls back home when things didn’t work. Slowly but surely, I started liking what I made. And when I like a dish, I knew others would like it too. I learned some more when my mother and mother in law visited Bangalore. Bangalore has a very cosmopolitan nature and that allowed me to not limit myself to any particular style. I grew in confidence within couple of years, started to throw parties at home where I would do all the cooking – something I enjoy even today. In 2006, we came to the Bay Area and I think my best came out. I cooked for a friend once and all of their guests called me back to see if I could cater for them. That started my catering business which I ran for a couple of years. Though I cook many different styles today, what I most enjoy is Bengali cuisine – it brings back all the memories from my home. Normally we put lot of emphasis on fish, lentils, rice and sweets. The taste can be fiery or subtle. Bengalis are generally obsessed with food – I have seen my father going to market daily to buy fresh supply of fish and vegetables. And that is the norm. Bengalis are also very particular about the way and the order food has to be eaten. Each item is served separately so taste of each once can be enjoyed. In big occasions like marriage (including mine), food is served in banana leaves. In any big occasion, normally a meal will consist of rice, dal, bhaja, at least 2 types of vegetables, fish, chicken, mishit doi (sweet curd) and sweets. And after all these, a paan (beetle leaf) is usually served. Normally all the guests will be seated to have the meal and it’s a very traditional practice for the host to go to each table, greet the guests and request them to eat well. Hosts will also request them to eat more of a particular thing like fish, chicken or sweet. It is also a normal practice for the guests to oblige. So in the end, everyone ends up over eating J.

 

PS: I still have those hand written recipes and the recipe book we bought from the train station.

First Culture Kitchen Kit with Suchitra

We have been hard at work here in the kitchen producing our first series of Culinary Explorers! December brings us to Western India with our incredible Master Cook Suchitra. Her menu of Chicken Tikka Masala Kebabs, Moong Dal, Spiced Vegetables and Saffron rice floods your kitchen and taste buds with the essence of Western Indian flavor and culture.

When building the Culinary Explorer, we really wanted to show that anyone can become a cook. Our incredible Master Cooks inspire us daily with their stories of how they learned to cook, from burning every spice they used for three months willing their kitchens with smoke, to buying a cookbook in the train station in hopes of picking up a few basics. We know what makes an incredible meal isn’t magic; it is just learning from others who have been in your shoes, hearing their stories, seeing their love of the food and culture, and having access to everything you need to make these dishes.

Because we can’t give everyone a private one-on-one class with our Master Cooks, we want to bring the essence of that experience to you no matter where you are. Here is the first of a series of Culinary Explorer videos with our Master Cooks that brings you into their homes as they share personal stories of their culture and love of food. We are so excited to be creating theses videos and hope you enjoy them.

To experience this menu on your own, be sure to sign up for our first shipment of Culinary Explorers this month! Check them out here.

Back from the Test Kitchen

We have been heads down at the Culture Kitchen office working in the kitchen on some new exciting projects, the first of which is this new website redesign. We couldn’t wait to offer new recipes, new functionality, and more information on the chefs and cuisines that make Culture Kitchen so special. But that is only part of what we are working on.

Yesterday we finished cooking up a yummy new product, the Culinary Explorer. Ever wish you could have access to the ingredients that our chefs use to cook at home? What if you had those spices in the exact quantities you needed, plus the recipes, and a video to pull it all together? Can you taste the delicious dinner now? We have already tasted it, and it is incredible! We love making it possible for anyone to cook like a pro and share in good food, good company, and explore.

We are releasing a limited amount of boxes to the first 100 people.  Sign up for a one-month, three-month or six-month subscription and bring a little Culture Kitchen to your kitchen.

Sign up here!