Anyday Launches Microwave Cookware – Yahoo Finance
Steph Chen, founder of Anyday, joined Yahoo Finance Live to demonstrate the benefits of microwave cooking.
JARED BLIKRE: Well, from cooking to the kitchen, that’s as good as a transition I’ll get here. We have Steph Chen, AnyDay founder. And we’re going to talk about food and how to maybe make microwave food a little tastier.
I have to tell you, I’m an old fashioned guy. I still call it the science oven. And I use it to boil water. That’s all. What can we do these things now?
STEPH CHEN: That’s it? I suppose you use it as a warm up too, right?
JARED BLIKRE: Yes, a little, yes.
STEPH CHEN: A little, a little. Well, it turns out that the microwave is an amazing device that, as you said, can be found in virtually every kitchen. But people just don’t know what to do with it. And maybe the most surprising thing you can do is learn how to make raw food from scratch. And it comes out delicious every time.
SEANA SMITH: Talk to us about when you came across it, as you’ve worked with a number of well-known chefs. And people don’t necessarily associate microwaves with gourmet cooking. When you thought of this idea, I guess what sparked it? And then tell us about the range of products that you have to accompany with the idea.
STEPH CHEN: Yes totally. It actually started out as a total accident. What we had was just a prototype food storage container. And it was a unique storage container for food. It had a glass body and a glass lid and a silicone rim around it. And the silicone rim is important because it traps the vapor really well.
You can see in the photo there that one key to microwave cooking is to lock in the steam. But we started quite by accident. At first we asked ourselves, what else can we do with this storage container other than storing and warming food? So we put raw chicken in the bowl and put it in the microwave. Lo and behold, it came out. And it was juicy and tender and tasty and really the opposite of anything you’d expect from microwave cooking.
The story goes on
And actually, from then on, it piqued an idea in our minds, what is that about cooking from scratch in the microwave? And what we honestly found out through a lot of internet research is that chefs, food writers, and scientists have been promoting the microwave and all of its magic for years.
And I found that Chef David Chang from Momofuku and Ugly Delicious, Marco Wittmann, Kenji Lopez-Alt from Serious Eats have been telling all these people for years that you can cook from scratch in the microwave. And that’s all starting with vegetables, basically steaming vegetables is great, making rice, making grains, and making fish and chicken are really, really delicious.
And so we set out on this trail to see what this microwave cooking business is all about. And we discovered that there is a whole universe of things that you can microwave from scratch that people don’t know about. And what you get is really tasty and persistent every time
JARED BLIKRE: Well I have to ask you because I am listening to talk about this product. It sounds similar to the Instant Pot. I happen to own one. I have never used it before. It sits under my sink, very cozy and safe. What are the similarities and / or differences?
STEPH CHEN: Total. So the biggest similarity is that both the Instant Pot and AnyDay dishes solve the same core problem of giving people more time in their lives, right? You put some things in the AnyDay bowl. You put it in the microwave. You add a couple of minutes. And you press start. And then you can leave the kitchen and do whatever you want in your free time.
The Instant Pot is something similar too. The difference is that the microwave is something you already have in your kitchen. It’s just a device that you basically don’t use. And so we have developed a product that will help you maximize the magic of your microwave and give you not only the product but also the know-how for microwave cooking.
We have all kinds of recipes such as polenta on our website cookphia.com. We have salmon. We have vegetable and ingredient guides to help people figure out what their cooking times are for different ingredients like asparagus, snap peas and all those things.
SEANA SMITH: Hey Steph, what’s your sales plan to get your products onto more shelves? Were you able to do business with any of these larger retailers? Or what is your game plan for it?
STEPH CHEN: We actually made a very conscious decision to start direct-to-consumer and stay direct-to-consumer for a while, because part of the microwave challenge, as you can imagine, is that many people, many Prejudices have ideas about it.
People generally know that it’s really quick and really convenient. But they may have some preconceived notions about the health aspect, the safety aspect, and whether it is possible to prepare delicious food or not. And one of the benefits of staying right with the consumer is that you really can tell that story.
For example, when it comes to health items, a lot of people think that if I heat something in the microwave I might kill all the nutrients. And the reality is actually the complete opposite. So Harvard and Cornell have done studies that show that when you microwave broccoli or microwave spinach, the resulting nutrients are actually greater than when you cook it using a different cooking method, i.e. boiling, steaming, frying, frying. And that surprises a lot of people, the fact that you can put something in the microwave and get the maximum amount of nutrients in the process.
So this type of story is hard to tell when we put this dish on a shelf. Directly to the consumer, it enables us to tell the story of what the microwave can do and what our dish can do specifically in the microwave. And it also helps pave the way for people to learn how to do it. So having recipes is really important. It is very important for us to educate consumers about how to cook in the microwave and what to cook.
JARED BLIKRE: Well, delicious food from the microwave. I’m interested. I learned something here today. Thank you, Steph Chen, Founder of AnyDay.