Lots of companies gab about design thinking, but Chef’n lives it–and it has proven just how fast a startup can rise on the power of a few brilliant ideas. Chef’n focuses on kitchen tools, which are ripe for redesign because of all the fiddly tasks involved. Like Oxo, one of its specialties has been rethinking common kitchen tasks: Witness the Switchit spatulas, the VeggiChop, or the Garlic Zoom. But its designers also tackle plenty of esoteric chores with goofy, purpose-built gadgets that seem utterly obvious in retrospect, because they’re so well designed–while sparking impulse buys because of the gee-whiz factor. Witness the Wisecracker tool, for eating crab; the Flexicado avocado slicer; and the Grapefruiter grapefruit sectioner.
You might be surprised at the company’s humble operations. Apartment Therapy just toured Chef’n’s design studio and brought back these pictures, detailing the process behind one of its products, the Palm Peeler, which, unlike a regular blade peeler, slides over your middle finger, thus allowing you to trace more easily the contours of a round piece of fruit. Some people hate it, but it definitely works.
Designer Adam Jossem showing off the mood boards that were used during the design of the Palm Peeler:
Prototypes of the Palm Peeler and its cousins, alongside the finished products:
Design is the quintessential knowledge economy profession: You don’t really need a lot of overhead, just a few computers. For a company that racks up awards with bracing speed, Chef’n’s design headquarters are surprisingly simple–and tiny.