While he was still in college, Minsuk Kim read an essay by the cookware author Mark Bittman that made such an impression on him he’d eventually launch a company around its tenets. “I contend,” went the intro to “A No-Frills Kitchen Still Cooks,” “that with a bit of savvy, patience and a willingness to forgo steel-handle knives, copper pots and other extravagant items, $200 can equip a basic kitchen that will be adequate for just about any task, and $300 can equip one quite well.” Yeah right, you’re probably thinking as you stroll through a traditional cookware store – but in a restaurant supply shop like Mark Bittman recommends, it’s possible. The knives might have plastic handles, but the blades are sharp – these are, after all, the tools real chefs use in their actual kitchens.
Everything you need, nothing you don’t.
Minsuk took the tip to heart, shopping for his first no-frills pieces of cookware at shops like Bowery Kitchen in lower Manhattan. More recently, over lunch with his friend Jessica Sheft-Ason (they met working at cult-favorite beauty brand Glossier), they realized they wanted to take it a step further: Launch a company that will bring pared-down, restaurant quality basics to consumers for prices so low they seem like wholesale. In other words, make it possible for some to stock a fully-functional first kitchen on an entry level salary even if they don’t live near a restaurant supply shop in New York City. (Are you cheering yet?) They started researching production methods, visiting factories, and last week their completely self-funded startup, dubbed Potluck, went live.
“It’s totally bootstrap, it’s just me and Jess shaking out our piggy banks,” Minsuk says. “We really believe in this business and really believe in what it stands for.”
With tri-ply construction, their stainless steel pots and pans are meant to last a lifetime.