Cook Smarts First Year in Numbers | A Letter from Jess


It’s our 1 year birthday today, so happy birthday to us! 12 months ago on this day, I marked the birth of Cook Smarts when I gave my first cooking lesson in a kitchen in San Ramon, California. It had been less than 2 months since I left my job at payments giant Visa where I had worked for five great years. I loved my job as a numbers jockey, strategy maker, and international jet-setter, but I love my job as your kitchen coach, side-kick, and cheerleader even more. The last 12 months have been incredible thanks to the amazing response of our clients, meal plan subscribers, and blog readers. I’m extremely proud of the accomplishments I’ve made with Cook Smarts and wanted to make a record of it. As someone who’s used to creating quarterly and annual board presentations on progress and the numbers, please forgive me for the need to quantify my accomplishments. I like numbers. I am at that nerd. So here’s a snapshot of the last year:

Cook Smarts' First Year in Numbers

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received was from a partner at my first job at a consulting firm. He told me, “You’ll be more likely to accomplish your goals if you write them down.” So aside from reporting last year’s progress in this infographic, I also wanted to share with you my goals for Cook Smarts in year #2. Since it’s now recorded on the internets for eternity, there’s no turning back on these promises, right?

I am hoping to expand beyond this current 1-woman juggling act and bring on more partners to help me create even more great content to suit all your cooking and eating needs. Part of that goal involves designing our cook school, which will be launching its first set of paid online lessons in the next few weeks. I created so many useful materials during the 8 months I was giving in-home cooking lessons that I want to make sure those lessons live on somehow. The cook school will package this material up into online lessons that you can purchase and access on your own time from anywhere.

We are also excited to announce the meal planning web-app we’ll be launching this spring (fingers crossed). There are a lot of developers in Silicon Valley but convincing one to work on your project when you’re not venture-backed (and have no intention of becoming so) and not likely to become the next Instagram is not an easy task. After months of searching, I’ve found an awesome developer who has started to turn our current meal plans into a cool, slick, dynamic web-app.

Lastly and most importantly, we want to continue our commitment to bringing food education back to our schools. Last year, we gave cooking classes to teenage moms at Redwood City High School. This year, we hope to continue supporting this very important social cause through financial commitments and partnerships with organizations that are working hard to re-establish Home-Ec programs and provide food education and awareness.

To make sure you keep up with all our progress and hold us to our promises, I’m gonna be all over the social media-sphere this year. It took me a year, but I think I finally understand Twitter. If you’re not following us, do it. We’re informative and sometimes even funny. If you haven’t liked us on Facebook or followed us on Instagram, please do. I’ve been trying to share more of how I cook at home when food doesn’t have to be photographed all prettily for the blog or the meal plans. A lot more cooking by improv type of stuff that I think will be useful to most home cooks.

Alright, that’s it for this first annual report. Thanks for making these last 12 months just incredible. I couldn’t have asked for a better community of readers and subscribers.

Keep on rockin’ it in the kitchen.

Your proud kitchen coach, side-kick, and cheerleader,

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  • Congratulations on your first year, Jess! You’ve got a great website.

  • Jess, I love this! Here is the thing: your numbers aren’t braggy to me, they are symbolic of you reaching your goal (and even passing it!). I am a food blogger for fun (following my learning to cook journey), but you set out with intention of teaching people how to cook, and you have done that. WAY TO GO! Very proud of you 🙂

  • Roger

    It is really great what you are teaching kids, adults in your face to face cooking classes in CA, but out here in the middle, we eat beef. I checked the box for no menu restrictions and my wife and I tried two recipes…we were not impressed. One was salmon and roasted cauliflower and the other was portabello, onion and kale tacos. Question: Where’s the beef?

    In addition, fresh produce is super expensive in land-locked Nebraska. It cost me 30 bucks for those two meals.

    Hey, I understand. Beef isn’t as healthy as tofu, but c’mon, really?

  • Samantha

    Jess, you’ve been doing great! Keep it up!

  • tim

    Congratulations on one year! You’ve been working very hard to deliver great new content each week. Your photos look great and your recipes are delicious. Keep it up!

  • @Samantha Thanks!

  • @Tiffany Thanks! Really admire your site too. It’s beautiful!

  • @Melissa Thank you!

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