Building a better cooking site with Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street
Chris Kimball made his name running the America’s Test Kitchen, Cook’s Illustrated, and Cook’s Country brands. His approach to cooking, deep knowledge, and personality has endeared him to home cooks everywhere who look to him for advice. When we heard Chris was going start something new, we were very excited. Chris explained that he wanted to change the way Americans thought about cooking through a series of offerings from a physical teaching kitchen to a magazine, radio show, and website. Our mandate was to build a set of tools that would make learning in the kitchen easy.
We worked with the Milk Street team to plan, design and present their content to make learning at home fun and easy.
Our team loves food, cooking and kitchen projects and this was a golden opportunity to work with some of the best in the business to define a new take on cooking instruction. We prototyped some experimental interfaces, and over the course of a few months worked with the Milk Street team to bring them to life with content. The result of the partnership between videographers, designers, engineers and cooks is an easy-to-use interface that’s already building buzz in the culinary world.
The recipe pages have a prosaic overview and ingredients list (in true Chris Kimball fashion), but when you “start cooking” you enter a very different cooking experience. We found that while videos are the best way to understand nuanced techniques and see results (think folding in eggs or beating until stiff peaks form), the interface for controlling a video was difficult to use in a kitchen setting. Traditional video controls like pausing, scrubbing, rewinding, all made for a frustrating experience, especially with sticky fingers.
We broke each phase of cooking down into individual steps with simple looping gif-like videos.
The Milk Street team shot short videos to support these demonstration pages. It was a true collaboration between our designers and engineers and their content production teams to make it happen, and the reception has been very positive.
Multiple cooking modes meant we could support different cooking styles.
Ingredients are available in one long list for grocery shopping but are also broken down by step. When users are actively cooking, only ingredients for the current step are shown. And the whole thing can be controlled with a keyboard or touch gestures to make cooking from a laptop or a tablet a little easier.