Pleasant smells abound at the workspace for
Food52, a startup media companybringing inspiration to food lovers in a whole new way.
Former New York Times food editor Amanda Hesser and writer Merrill Stubbs founded Food52 in 2009 as a way to fill a gap they observed in traditional food media.
“As editors and writers, we had been deeply immersed in the food revolution that was going on, but if you looked online there was no place that really reflected that — where anyone who was engaged in cooking could go and get high-quality recipes, ask questions about cooking, buy a set of plates, or get inspiration for a weekend of entertaining,” Hesser said to Business Insider. “We felt like there was a great need for this because food was becoming more important and interesting to people, and no one was tackling it.”
Food52 is an inherently social model, featuring top-notch recipes accessible by cooks at different skill levels. Users can create their own content, peruse recipes posted by others, and even ask questions on the Food52 Hotline.
Hesser and Stubbs worked out of cafes and their own homes until being invited to share a space at Dogpatch Labs at the end of 2010. They then moved into General Assembly for two years before moving into their own Manhattan office in February of this year.
Finding an appropriate place for the company was no easy feat.
“We really wanted a space that could act as a set, where it could be for video shoots or for photo shoots, and that could work for both Provisions and Food52,” Hesser said. “Some buildings don’t want food smells, so we had a challenge finding a place that would allow us to build an actual functioning kitchen but that also had great natural light and was affordable.”
The result is a space that is at once airy, eclectic, and filled with plenty of personal touches. Office designer Brad Sherman helped Hesser and Stubbs source materials like reclaimed wood and antique cookware from local flea markets.
We visited Food52’s office and test kitchen to see the magic for ourselves.
Disclosure: Food52 is a syndication partner of Business Insider’s.
You won't see walled meeting rooms here. In an effort to preserve natural light, the designers created this small meeting space that can be closed off with a curtain.
Furnishing the office was a group effort. Like many of the other pieces in this sitting area near the office's entrance, these chairs are on loan from an employee's apartment.
This pegboard is a nod to Julia Child, who famously hung her pots and utensils on a pegboard in every kitchen that she used.
The knickknacks on these shelves were sourced from a variety of places, including a fish-shaped bread stamp that came from Italy.
The company's 22 employees enjoy a light and open working area. The team built the tables themselves, with bases they bought at Ikea, tops they sourced from a Queens lumber yard, and white edges created with an ironed tape.
It's a cozy working environment, with the Provisions team pictured on the left and the editorial department on the right.
The plates, jars, and other props the Food52 team uses in their photo shoots find their home on these shelves.
Most of the kitchen's appliances are from KitchenAid, while the farmhouse sink was bought on eBay and the faucet on Amazon. The Calacatta marble was cut at a shop just a block away from the office.
The staff had a knife slit cut into the island's countertop so their various tools would be at the ready.
The kitchen shelves are made of reclaimed Kentucky barn wood, which Brad Sherman sourced at M. Fine Lumber in Brooklyn.
The kitchen's little dishes came from lots of different places, from CB2 to flea markets to the staff's home kitchens.
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