From Software to Cookware
“I have been obsessed about cooking and food all my life. But, I never considered that as a business. It was always a hobby. In 2019, I decided that I am going to make my hobby into a business,” Shenoy says. With that, Chef Avenue was born. “Chef Avenue produces innovative cookware that melds culinary art with modern science. Our cookware helps the home chefs enjoy cooking and achieve great results in the kitchen, every single time.”
Growing up in rural India, Shenoy watched her parents collaborate daily to create delicious meals — her mother cooking, her father innovating creative ideas to make cooking simpler and foods longer lasting. Thus, the concept for Chef Avenue’s first product was created with this same simplicity and innovation in mind and, in turn, to eliminate unnecessary steps in home-cooking. “Our current product, Omnipan, is made for home chefs who want to cook great food with minimum effort — people who like home-cooked meals but do not enjoy standing next to [the] stovetop and later spend time cleaning,” she explains.
No stranger to the world of startups, Shenoy boasts experience as a co-founder of a successful, high-tech company in Silicon Valley called Trsoft Technologies. “The experience of being an entrepreneur, especially when you have gone through all stages a company goes through, is invaluable. It cannot be replaced by anything else,” Shenoy says. “You develop hunches and insights, and you know what it takes to build a successful new business. I cannot imagine going into my current business without the prior experience of running a company.”
Building the Perfect Kitchen Tool
Once the concept for a multi-purpose cookware product was developed, it was time to design the actual product Shenoy envisioned. “I researched various ideas for packaged food and cookware. In cookware, I wanted to design something that [would] save time and effort for the home chefs. I realized that there isn't any cookware in the market that goes from prep to refrigerator, to oven, to dining table, to freezer with left-overs, to microwave, to ultimately dishwasher to clean.” Shenoy explains, “This would remove the ‘friction’ and make cooking more hands-off and cleaning more effortless. After extensive research, I found 100% Silicone material that would help me to create exactly what I envisioned.”
Silicone, a rubber-like material, has been used for some time in cookware such as spatulas, baking sheets, and more. The material’s ability to easily transition from a variety of temperatures makes it ideal for this type of production. However, Chef Avenue’s genius is the combination of several types of cookware into one product, making it possible for customers to cook, freeze, store, and clean using one dish. With the option for three sizes, Omnipan is designed to cook a full meal without the need to stand in front of a stovetop — whether you’re preparing entrees, side dishes, or desserts. Additionally, Shenoy provides guidance for cooking with the tools as well, “We have a combo pack where home chefs can get a Mega Set of Omnipan with a cookbook, Cooking with Omnipan, that I have personally written.” Shenoy explains, “My hope is that these recipes will not only inspire home chefs to make delicious food but [chefs will] also be inspired to create their own masterpieces in the kitchen.”
With a background in software and entrepreneurship, this wasn’t second nature to Shenoy, “When I started, everything was more theoretical - how everything is supposed to work in the perfect world. Now that I have gone through various stages, I am more practical.” She says, “I had to learn every aspect of this business - industrial design, material composition and qualities, writing technical specs, package design, prototyping, testing, production, supply chain, logistics ... the list goes on and on.” The result of this hard work — another burgeoning startup with a product that challenges the status quo.
What’s Next for Chef Avenue
When reflecting on starting a cookware business with a specialty that is wildly different from the skills needed to design functional cookware, Shenoy notes, “I am a quick study. I did a lot of research and talked to several people. At times, things got so complex that I almost wanted to quit. But then I kept reminding myself why I am doing this, and one day I can look back and say I did it.”
Despite this, Shenoy is dedicated to making this new venture a successful one. “I do not want to go through life and wonder what I should have and could have done. I don't mind making mistakes and learning so that I know that I did everything I ever wanted to do. This is what kept me going and still does.”
In the long term, Shenoy has goals for Chef Avenue to continue building on their line of innovative cookware, “This area of your kitchen I've covered with Omnipan. Now, the next product would be something that Omnipan doesn't cover, which is the cooktop.” Additionally, the founder plans to expand the collection to provide tools for every cooking needs that are sustainable, accessible, and user-friendly. “We want to produce the products that you want in your kitchen, and you should be able to buy or get everything you need in your kitchen from Chef Avenue, and that's my sort of ultimate dream.”