Austin-based Made In has made a name for itself by creating restaurant-quality cookware for the home chef. Now, it’s trying to do the same thing for flatware, plates and glasses.
"We take the view and inspiration from the best restaurants and figure out how to bring it into the home," says co-founder and president Jake Kalick.
Things like plates for homes, he says, haven’t been designed for durability. Think about the number of times a plate is used in a restaurant and how often it goes through commercial dishwashers. Kalick says he wants that same durability in the plates Made In is making for the home.
For its plates, bowls and serving ware, Made In went to England, a place known for creating ceramics out of the best clay and then applying a glaze at high temperatures. For the flatware and glassware, Made In went to Italy.
The plates and flatware are available now at madeincookware.com. The glassware will come out in November.
The cost is $89 for four dinner plates, $59 for four appetizer plates, $99 for four entree bowls, $49 for four side bowls and $49 for a serving platter. The flatware is $179 for four settings of five pieces each. A setting of all the plates and flatware for four plus a serving platter is $459. The glassware will be $139 for four white wine glasses, four red wine glasses and four water glasses.
Aside from durability, Made In also went for utilitarian and sophisticated. "We don’t chase fads," Kalick says. "We take inspiration from styles that are timeless that will withstand trends."
It’s also versatile to match any decor and any type of meal, from the dressiest to the most casual, he says.
"The style matches the durability," says CEO and co-founder Chip Malt. "It would be incongruent if we said it’s going to last you a lifetime, but the style is going to go out as soon as you buy it."
The flatware, plates and glasses are not Made In’s first foray outside the cookware line it started in 2016. It also now has restaurant-quality knives as well.
"When we started Made In, we saw this behavioral breakage of the New Age foodie consumer going to Whole Foods and spending $30 on a steak and then they cook it on pans that were an afterthought," Malt says. "Let’s give them perfect cookware to create the browning and crust on the steak; now let’s put it on the perfect plate."
Malt says he thinks of Made In as "a cook’s cookware brand. We revel in the actual creation of the food."
In this time of the pandemic, do consumers have the money and desire to buy new plates, flatware and glasses?
"We’re seeing across the industry, people are spending a lot of time at home," Malt says. Instead of investing in travel, they are investing in the home, he says, and that can include what they are eating their now home-cooked meals on.
"We were blown away from the response from day one," Malt says of when they launched the flatware and plates.
Surprisingly, when Made In launched the plates and flatware this month, five restaurants bought the line.
"It proves our thesis that plates are more important than just decoration," Kalick says. "They really are an extension of the kitchen. We rely on it for performance."
Made In has more coming this year. Next up is a comal pan for making tortillas available in October.
One hurdle to introducing new lines is this idea that everyone’s cabinets might be overflowing with stuff. Made In has a program to send back your old cookware, which will be sent to a Habitat for Humanity center for resale.
There still are more new things that Made In would like to launch but hasn’t quite figured out how to bring to the consumer. It’s been working on an enameled porcelain cast-iron pan for two years, for example, but hasn’t found the right manufacturer.
"Everyone loves a good Dutch oven, " Kalick says.