Food connects us to everything

27 September 2022

With guest Amanda Hesser - Co-CEO, Food52


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In 2009, Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs left their jobs as food editors and writers at The New York Times to start a website and company called Food52. They saw how Americans’ relationship with food was changing: food was no longer a niche interest, but a core part of people’s identities that connected them to every aspect of life. The founders saw an opportunity to use technology and the internet to bring people together around food, a site where everyday home cooks could find everything in one place, from recipes to cooking advice to where to find the perfect set of nesting mixing bowls. A decade later, Food52 has been recognized as one of the world’s most innovative companies, with three brands (so far) in its portfolio, a media content arm that reaches millions of loyal users per month, and a multi-million dollar e-commerce business that sells kitchen wares, home goods and decor, furniture, bedding, and more. Amanda Hesser, Co-CEO of Food52, joins the podcast to talk about the company’s natural progression — not perceived expansion! — from food into all aspects of the home, and how she and her team have built a brand that’s genuine, soulful, and “for people who see food at the center of a well-lived life.”

Listen to this episode to learn:

  • The value of content to build an emotional connection to and loyalty with users; and how building that trust allows Food52’s e-commerce business to move in different directions
  • How Food52 has found success in cultivating long-term relationships with its community and continually evolving as its audience (and the world) changes
  • The cultural impact of celebrity chefs in the United States and their role in making food more accessible, interesting, and fun to a broader audience
  • How Amanda’s background in media and journalism was great training for being a successful founder and entrepreneur
  • How Food52 has expanded its product offerings with three brands: its own Five Two kitchen goods brand; Schoolhouse, a lighting and lifestyle goods company; and Dansk, the Scandinavian-inspired heritage cookware brand
  • Why Food52’s new office headquarters in the Brooklyn Navy Yard will be an expression of the brand and a place for its community, employees, and partners to gather, create, and connect