In the Quality Time series, we’ll be featuring Q&As with our accomplished chef partners, notable food industry figures, and more. From kitchen life to family dynamics to embarrassing moments, anything is on the table.
Jake Kalick founded Made In in 2017 with childhood friend Chip Malt. Their mission? To redesign the kitchen landscape they grew up in. With a hundred year family history of outfitting kitchens, Jake is uniquely positioned to use cookware's past to help guide its future. I sat down with Jake (it was easy — he sits three desks away from me) to talk Made In's founding, how Made In selects its chef partners, his favorite Made In product, and more.
1. First off, thank you for employing me! Secondly, what made you, along with our other co-founder, Chip, want to start Made In back in 2017?
"Haha, you're welcome. The reason we started Made In was to create kitchen products across all the verticals you would need to cook a meal. We saw in the market that enough brands didn’t hit all of the crucial categories, so what we did was set out to build supply chains with factories all over the world. In doing so, our goal was to craft high-performing products in locations with rich histories creating those products that are made by groups of people who have been mastering their craft across multiple generations."
2. What do you look for when it comes to selecting a factory to partner with?
"We look for multi-generational family businesses with incredible track records of quality that take their craft really, really seriously and would be fun and innovative to work with."
3. When it comes to the chefs Made In partners with (such as Tom Colicchio, Grant Achatz, and Brooke Williamson), Made In has the same high standards. Can you elaborate on why you think that's important?
"Definitely. We believe that, regardless of your culinary skill level, the food you're putting into your body deserves to be treated with the utmost thoughtfulness and care because it's literally going into your body. Our goal is to put home cooks in a position to do just that by providing them with quality kitchen products capable of getting perfect sears, great textures, and consistent results. The goal of our chef partners is the same, but a little different — they set out to directly provide customers with that quality dining experience themselves by using these incredible culinary skillsets acquired over long periods of time paired with quality cookware. When we noticed this synergy, we quickly realized we needed to partner with amazing chefs like Tom, Grant, and Brooke to help home cooks get that restaurant-quality food experience in their own homes."
4. Along with caring deeply about good food and knowing the impact quality cookware makes in the kitchen, what else would you say Made In has in common with its chef partners?
"Our chef partners take the best ingredients and make the best dishes and take it really serious throughout the process of crafting them. With us and our products, we do the same; we look for the best raw materials and the best partners to develop the best cookware and the best kitchen tools without cutting any corners."
5. Speaking of cookware, what do you think is the biggest cookware misconception people have?
"I think people incorrectly believe that novice cooks can't reap the benefits of high-quality kitchen tools. Well-made cookware and cutlery is actually much more forgiving when you cook than the cheap stuff. We were on a shoot with Chef Grant Achatz of Michelin 3-star restaurant Alinea and he pointed out that good cookware really does make it more difficult to mess up food. The pan actually does what it's supposed to do, so you don't have to be continuously monitoring heat or playing with the food in the pan."
6. This might be a hard one for you: What's your #1 favorite piece of Made In cookware and why?
"The Saucier. Super versatile, and the shape is a bit different from what's on the market here because it's inspired by our work in Europe. I even use it for sautéing."
7. And finally, what can people expect from Made In in 2020?
"We've been pretty overwhelmed (in a good way) by how loyal our customer base has been. We have a lot of fun building new products that we think make Made In a more compelling brand, and our customers support us by really showing up when we launch them. We'll continue to launch new categories in 2020; some you would expect and some you may not. Stay tuned."