Amanda Gold spends a lot of time thinking about ways companies are succeeding – and failing – when it comes to delivering new technology in the kitchen. Gold Culinary, her Bay Area based consulting firm, works with food tech and food manufacturing companies, restaurants and other culinary businesses to more effectively bridge the gap between corporate, tech-minded companies and a consumer base that is passionate about food.
Amanda’s first experience with the divide between food technology and consumer understanding began in an interview about a seemingly crazy new device for the kitchen. “During the interview, the co-founder started telling me all about the product and spent about 15 minutes talking about the cool technology inside it – there were cameras built into the top and sides, weight sensors across it – but I didn’t understand where the value add was,” says Amanda on the conversation. “Yes, this is all great, but how does that make a better piece of salmon?”
This question sparked the realization for Amanda that she was in a unique position to help technology companies better communicate their products and solutions, and their value to consumers in the kitchen. As a 12-year veteran of the food section for the San Francisco Chronicle (with her last two years focused on food tech) Amanda knows the food and restaurant industry. A trained chef, Amanda’s practical experience in the kitchen lends a hand in her ability to see emerging food technology from both the business and consumer perspective. “We’re helping companies in the industry tailor their product or content so that it makes sense from an everyday standpoint, not just as a once-in-a-while cool machine,” says Amanda. At Gold Culinary, Amanda offers strategy, recipe and content development, product testing, and training for food industry giants like Hidden Valley and Soy Vay.
Through her work, Amanda has seen a common thread in addressing the reality of connected living from the food industry’s perspective. “There’s still a disconnect between what’s cool versus expensive and what’s helpful versus realistic,” she says. “Though there are certainly plenty of companies that are doing it right, it’s important to recognize that most people might ultimately choose just one or two smart devices, so it’s essential that what they do choose makes life easier and more streamlined. Ideally, it will also get them back in the kitchen on a more regular basis, especially if the process, once they get there, is simplified.”
Outside of Gold Culinary, Amanda’s pursuits include working as the executive producer for Food Network chef and host Tyler Florence’s Wolf it Down podcast. Although Wolf it Down is not strictly a food tech podcast, it does focus on every aspect of the kitchen and what’s current – including discussion around the smart kitchen. A recent episode, for example, featured an interview with food tech innovators Hestan Cue and Chefsteps on the future of technology in the kitchen.
Amanda and Gold Culinary’s mission is an important one to the smart kitchen space. As technology grows and more consumers seek out new gadgets to simplify life in the kitchen, so does the need for companies to better align their messaging with consumer product knowledge and understanding. Amanda sees herself as the mediator between the two parties, simplifying and streamlining consumer understanding.
“I love the communities that are being built around specific devices and their content. I think in many ways that’s a bonus that nobody would have predicted. I am at the core simply a content creator who is interested in helping companies tell their story, both through the recipes and food-related content they provide and in the way they market themselves,” explains Amanda on her work with Gold Culinary. “There are many ways to tell a story and that story needs to be constantly changing in the smart kitchen space. Now, more than ever, that’s incredibly important to understand.”
The Smart Kitchen Summit is the first event to tackle the future of food, cooking and the kitchen with leaders across food, tech, commerce, design, delivery and appliances. This series will highlight panelists and partners for the 2017 event, being held on October 10-11 at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.