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125: Upgrading the Cooking Experience with Cooksy

Written by Rob Stott

June 28, 2022

Launched at KBIS 2022, Cooksy is an innovative gadget that’s designed to be your digital sous chef. Andreas Hansen, part of the Cooksy team, shares what excites him about getting the product into the Independent retail channel.


 

Rob Stott: We are back on The Independent Thinking Podcast and a pretty cool opportunity. I always love talking with our vendor partners, especially the new ones, because we got to learn a little bit about their brands and everything that they bring to the table, their products and all that kind of good stuff. Today, that’s what we’ve got, a new vendor partner in Cooksy, a brand I’m really excited to learn about.

Andreas Hansen, on the board there at Cooksy, I’m excited to learn about this and kind of where it fits into the luxury space, so I appreciate you taking the time and calling in and chatting with us today.

Andreas Hansen: Thank you so much for having me, Rob. Yeah, I’m very, very thankful to now be part of the Nationwide family. It’s something that I have tried before through my various experiences in the appliance industry. I came initially from Bosch and then Electrolux, and then I was the president for Liebherr Appliances, North and South America, where I met some of the Nationwide folks. When I joined the board of Cooksy, I just thought that this is the perfect kind of add-on product for all the brands that are already part of the family, because it teaches people how to use their equipment. It teaches people how to cook. It makes cooking less daunting. I’m very excited to be here and chat a little bit about Cooksy today.

Rob Stott: Yeah, you jumped on my next question for you, which was going to be a little bit about tell us a little bit about yourself, but awesome to hear about that background, where you come from. You had the familiarity with the Nationwide team, so talk about what did you do? What was your path like to Cooksy and how did you come to know about the brand and where did you see it fit in with the Nationwide brand?

Andreas Hansen: It’s a non-linear story within the appliance industry. As you know, we all know each other. There’s a lot of touchpoints, a lot of similar distributors, certainly the same dealers that we all work with. As I mentioned, I was a president for Liebherr that was a big international company, refrigeration was the focus there. I decided to go into the startup world roughly two years ago with another project of mine which was called Plum, which was a wine dispenser, which we successfully launched into the industry, but, really, I left them to join Cooksy because I had a similar idea years ago. I started tinkering on home product ideas, and that’s what I mainly do right now. In fact, stay tuned on that. I reached out to the folks of Cooksy because I just wanted to congratulate them on the great product solution that they’ve developed.

It’s a brand new category within cooking and, in my opinion, it’s leaps ahead of what the current innovation was within the AI cooking space. I can tell you a little bit deeper what Cooksy does, but I knew I wanted to be part of something that hopefully is going to be world-changing. If I think about the Jetsons’ kitchen of the future, Cooksy is certainly going to be part of that, and I wanted to be part of getting it into the industry, getting it into people’s minds.

Rob Stott: Yeah. Like you said, we’ll dive into what it does a little bit, but, still the backstory, a very new product, if I’m right, at KBIS this year in February. Is that when it launched?

Andreas Hansen: Yeah. In fact, that was the preferred launch. In fact, I went to a Nationwide event right before that where I started talking to people, and this is actually where I realized that Cooksy needs to be part of this industry, because this is where culinary lives. This is where appliance live, and we fit right in.

Rob Stott: Yeah. Again, before we dive into the technology itself and what it does, what was that launch like experiencing that, obviously, the big stage of KBIS, but what was the coverage like after that and what kind of press and things like that were there for Cooksy?

Andreas Hansen: Yeah, it was really more than expected. We were pretty much nominated for every award that is at the KBIS. We were on the stage just for design bites, we were chosen by a bunch of the design hounds as a favorite picks. It was truly amazing. The reception was great. We had a tiny, but very interactive booth where we were able to cook for people, let people cook themselves in fact, and just show them the technology, the reception was really exceptional at KBIS.

I have launched many products and many brands into KBIS in the past years, but we had a lot of fun with Cooksy and we were able to show it to a lot of appliance dealers, which now I hope we can…through the nationwide platform, get in to touch with and get it into people’s hands and make people’s lives a little bit easier.

Rob Stott: Yeah, absolutely. Well, now let’s talk about the product itself, because it is really cool. I’ve seen, obviously digging around your site and kind of learning a little bit about it, really cool product. And if you’re watching the video version of this, we’ll throw some pictures and maybe some, I’ll rip some of your YouTube videos and throw some videos over top as well. And you can watch there if you’re listening, be sure to check the description and we’ll have some content down in there. But tell us about the product and the technology and really what it’s all about, what Cooksy is.

Andreas Hansen: Great. So basically for the viewers here that they will be able to see, it’s a tiny little device. It’s not as easy to explain as just showing this little box around, over here, but it’s a new category. And what it does is essentially you have a box that attaches to your hood magnetically or through a wall mount. And then that AI device has two cameras. It has a thermal camera and a camera. And then it watches you while you cook and gives you guided video instruction on your phone or on your tablet. So essentially imagine Cooksy to be almost like a remote pro that is also a virtual chef that tells you what to do and when to do it. And to give you a very simple explanation example, Cooksy watches and then it will tell you on your cooktop, on your pan. “Okay, preheat pan to 220 degrees”. Next Cooksy will tell you because it’s looking at the pan, “okay now add butter”. And then at a certain other heat point “now increase temperature to 250, now add onions right now, move onions to the side. Now add steak now flip steaks”.

And because we set different heat pins all over the pan, we basically have the real temperature reading on the pan. Something that wasn’t possible before. You only had a sense of what temperature means because of the knobs on the range. And you go from number three to number four, number five, or you turn the knob, but that’s not heat. That’s how fast it heats, right? And you can reach 500 degrees at stage three of the cooktop, it just takes longer right? So basically over cooking, under cooking, all of those things are the thing of the past because we have a remote probe and then very conveniently with video instructions, we tell you what to do.

So on the screen, on your phone, you choose any of the hundreds of recipes. And then every time you’re supposed to do something, it gives a little preview video that shows you what to do. And it tells you what to do as well. And it also will tell you what to do next. So, “Hey, in two minutes, do something”. So you know you have two minutes to do something else. So it’s essentially a remote probe that gives you video instructions and teaches you how to cook. And essentially, my wife now doesn’t want me… especially for steaks. And I have every gadget at home. You can imagine, but especially for steaks, it really gives you the perfect result, right? It tells you exactly when to flip it and it’s always going to be perfect.

Rob Stott: That’s awesome. And it, just to kind of clarify, it ties in through smartphone. So you’re getting these notifications on your phone when you do things?

Andreas Hansen: Exactly. You have a live view on your phone. You see the live temperature, even if you walk away, let’s say you can be sitting somewhere else. You have a view on the pan and of the temperature. It’s hot. It will tell you if it’s low it will tell you, it will tell you what temperature to put. And essentially you do it from your phone or tablet.

What I haven’t mentioned is that on the Cooksy Pro you can also record your own recipes, which is amazing. So essentially you cook your favorite dish and you record it and you make it a video recipe that then you can share with your friends, family, with your mom or dad. You like to cook, you record all of your favorite recipes, or let’s say your kid’s favorite recipes. And if they’re off to university, they can have a Cooksy and they’re going to recook it, and the food is just going to taste a hundred percent the same.

Cause you’re following the same steps as the person that recorded the recipe, the same heat signature, the same timing, absolutely everything. So it’s completely Bulletproof. It’s like a GPS, I want to say, in the kitchen. So there’s nothing you can do wrong. If you can flip, if you can stir, if you can add ingredients, you can cook any of our Master Chef recipes or the ones that mom and dad recorded.

Rob Stott: That’s awesome. You’re always looking for that emotional connection to a product, right? And, to hear you kind of talk about how you can have…who’s to say, you can’t have grandma over, have her…can she cook a recipe and record that recipe. And then, for years you could pass down that recipe. Now, obviously we had cookbooks, but now you have Cooksy videos that you can share, so you can make sure it actually comes out exactly how she cooked it.

Andreas Hansen: Exactly like grandma did it. And one more, you see the hand, you see the technique. So there is a reminder of that person for the years to come, right? So you’re going to cook the exact same recipes and I’ve recorded a bunch of my mom’s recipes. And hopefully I will pass them down to my daughter, when she’s old enough.

Rob Stott: Ah, how cool is that, that’s awesome. And those are the things that you look for and try to find, and you make that connection is really cool for sure. But obviously that kind of story is something that a retailer can use to describe this type of product to a customer that might be interested, but what else would you say? For the retailer, maybe considering this product, what’s the pitch? They have a customer that might be interested. What can you tell them? You know, advice would you give to help sell this product?

Andreas Hansen: I have a beautiful example of a retailer that is part of your network. And she told me that when we sell those appliance packages, right? Those luxury appliance packages of female appliance packages, customers sometimes after they purchase is saying, wow, so now all I need is a check. Do you sell those too? And in fact, now you can, because essentially Cooksy allows any customer that the banks retailer may have to go home and get the best out of the appliances they just bought. Cooksy attaches to any kind of hood or wall. So it works with any system, whether it’s gas hooked up, whether it’s induction or electric hook up, and people will be able to cook. Only because they buy a plans package, doesn’t know, they know how to use it. And in fact, most people, again, because they never have the access to what temperature is.

Cooking in expensive state is daunting, right? It’s not something that you take lightly cause you don’t want to mess it up or the perfect egg or more elaborate recipes. Now, Cooksy is a chef that you have at home, it tells you what to do and when to do it. And the results are always perfect. So in combination with the new kitchen packages, you get a chef teaches you how to cook, allows you to interact with your community.

And that also maybe is important for the appliance dealer that want to connect, after they make the sale, by essentially recording their own recipes. If I would be an appliance leader, I would create my own little recipe book and share it with my customers. And that way I can speak to them right after they can cook my recipes, I can go and interact with them while they’re at home. I can make it about cooking events, inviting them, teaching them essentially how to cook at their own home with their own new appliances, which I think is a great benefit.

Rob Stott: Yeah. So is there a social element to, obviously you mentioned being able to share videos, but what is there like an interface, what’s the cooky interface like? You mentioned a retailer being able to share things, is it meant to be sort of a social aspect? Like the platform itself?

Andreas Hansen: Hundred percent the community is as important as the hardware. The hardware in fact is only the means to unlock the community. Because appliance dealer could, (and we can help by the way), record a bunch of recipes and speak to the customer and say, ‘Hey, cause you will type down certain chef notes in instruction, preheat your Bosch, or Fisher & Paykel cooktop up to 220 degrees,’ or they can create a recipe library that they feel really strongly about that maybe is regional. Maybe it’s Southwestern cuisine, or maybe it’s more barbecue heavy. And then basically upload it to a recipe book that can be private. They can call it a private customer recipe library, or they can share it with the world. And then people are be able to just go home and cook whatever is in there.

But I believe keeping it in the small community, keep on interacting with your consumers, this is where the value lies. Now for the consumers who can upload it. It allows you to share it on YouTube. It allows you to share it on Instagram. You can download your prerecorded videos. If you have a TikTok account or whatever you’re using in order to spread the word about your favorite recipes that only, you know how to cook, there’s many, many means of getting them up there. But I think creating the community around the appliance dealer and its customers, by the way, even for the past customers, because it’s a very small device, it’s tiny. After the fact they can go and send that newsletter to their database of customer and say, Hey, now we sell virtual AI chefs. That actually kind of make your life better. So you can communicate with the customers of the past that are not going to come in and buy a new refrigerator every month, but that way you have something to talk with them.

Rob Stott: How awesome is that? And, to your point, we know that appliance customers, aren’t coming in every so… It’s years between appearances in a store possibly. So what better way to be able to continue to connect with them and build that relationship in between those times. But you mentioned at the top, you were familiar with Nationwide and you were excited to bring this product and connect with this community again. What is it that excites you about working with the… why this channel? And why a Nationwide dealer? What is it about this channel that you think they’ll be set up to have success with something like Cooksy?

Andreas Hansen: I think that nationwide appliance did set up part of the network. They really care. They wouldn’t join a Nationwide otherwise. So they want the benefits that you offer to them, which is a strong kind of marketing support and helping them to be better at what they do. And I believe that select group, though your group gotten really, really big at this point, which is amazing.

But those other appliance dealers that care and that matter in the industry, you have the brands that care about culinary exploration, most of your, or if not, all of your appliance dealer brands, some of the best in their categories. So just joining the elite group of vendors that have the best for the customer in mind, just excites me a lot. And I think that the culinary focus within the group is what’s really stands apart from appliance dealers that work through other means. And I believe we fit right in there.

Rob Stott: That’s awesome to hear. And it certainly does. I don’t want to limit the word that I’m using, but like an add on to, just kind of boost the experience that you have with these products that…they mean a lot. They’re impactful within the home. So, to be able to elevate that experience and have something like this, where, so you’re already going to enjoy using these appliances, but to then to be able to, see yourself recording these recipes and things like that, it takes it to a whole ‘nother level.

Andreas Hansen: It’s a game changer. So I joined it because I had this big aha moment myself. I ask for a sample to kind of try it out and it’s a game changer. It’s a behavioral change that happens instantly. I don’t cook without the Cooksy. It doesn’t mean I only follow recipes, but I use it in order to keep tabs of the temperature in the pan. And I tell you something pans are almost more important than the cooking surface below, the heat distribution happened in the pan. And the first thing I’ve done is I’ve tested all my pans with a Cooksy, cause it tells you exactly where you have heat problems. And so some pans that I had, that are up to a hundred degrees difference between one side of the pan or the other, or the middle and the rings to set a steak on that, the sides are going to be not cooked and only the center and vice versa, or if you do eggs,.

So, those heat pockets within the pan, they were an eye opener for me. So I basically gifted my other pans to people that I care about, but not enough to give them my really good pans. And so for me, it’s an orientation point that I didn’t have before. I come originally, I was a product manager in the cooking space and this is new technology. This is brand new category that nobody knew they need, but once you start using it, you won’t cook without.

So, the Cooksy became the more essential part of my kitchen, other than the refrigerator, which obviously you use every day. But I would not cook, not even like a nice scrambled egg without the Cooksy, because I want that nice kind of fluffy gooey texture. And you only have that, if you hold it at a hundred percent steady temperature over a longer cook, versus preheating your pan really hot throwing in your eggs, the bottom burns, and you’re not going to get the same result, but if you follow the instructions, it’s going to be a great result.

Rob Stott: Kind of backed yourself into a killer cooking app, for you guys and did it in a way that I think is really cool. And, we’re excited to see how our retailers are able to leverage it in their stores and with their customers and the community aspect too, I think is awesome. So it’ll be fun to follow and see how they take advantage of that and how you guys are working with them as well. Because that’s always important too.

Andreas Hansen: Yeah. I’m very, very excited. We did some outreach. We were mostly focused right now on the development of our new product, which we are launching next month. You won’t be able to see it if you are listening to the podcast. So this is the Cooksy, magnetic top. And so this is the Cooksy mini, 40% smaller. And this really fits. So this is the $699 price point that allows you to report your videos. The Cooksy mini doesn’t allow you to report, but it allows you to follow all the recipes and it’s small. It’s, non-intrusive, it really fits in any kitchen. And it’s your virtual sous chef you still get access to absolutely all our hundreds of recipes, all the support and so forth. The only thing you cannot do is report your own media. So we have those two products and this is what we are about to launch.

Rob Stott: Well, Hey, a nice plug. If you can’t see it and you want to see it either go watch the video or you can join us in Orlando, you’ll be down there. I imagine, at PrimeTime here in a couple weeks and you can see it there for sure. So we’re excited to have you down there, Andreas,

Andreas Hansen: Thank you so much Rob.

Rob Stott: I look forward to getting hands on, with the product and all that good stuff. You got a mini product launch and without giving away company secrets and having to send someone up here to shut my mouth before I say something I shouldn’t, What’s the future for Cooksy? Where do you guys see it going and what’s sort of in your mind of where it could be?

Andreas Hansen: My wishful thinking is…And as I mentioned before, that this becomes like the microwave that this becomes an integral part into anybody’s kitchen. Other than a cookbook or a recipe, when you Google a recipe where you have to go through a million different ads and the backstory of things, this is something that just tells you what to do and when to do it. And, I believe this is good for anybody who likes good food.

So my wishful thinking is that this becomes a new thing, that this is part of every kitchen of every luxury kitchen, of every package. Because it’s a very easy add on to any of your members to simply add to the package and add a lot of joy to their customers. So my wishful thinking is to get this into absolutely everybody’s hands down the road, when people ask, do you have a microwave? Do you have a Cooksy? And people will just understand what the other person is talking about. So we are just in the beginning of the journey, but I believe together with nationwide, we can do it.

Rob Stott: Oh, that’s awesome. And certainly a story we’ll continue to follow. Cause I think the product itself is awesome. And maybe when I get down there in Orlando, I may bring a couple bones and you might have yourself, a new customer. So it’s a great product. And I’m excited to be able to see it hands on in what you guys do with it. So appreciate the time and look forward to connecting down there in Orlando and continuing to follow your story.

Andreas Hansen: Thank you so much, Rob, talk to you soon and see you soon.

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