SideChef began in 2013 with a mission to make cooking easy and fun and to take the guesswork and heavy reading out of recipes. Over time, the recipe app startup has evolved to think of itself as a platform for the connected kitchen and today announced a partnership with electronics and appliance giant Sharp at the Smart Kitchen Summit in Japan.

SideChef will now be the smart software behind Sharp’s connected appliance lineup, powering the mobile app and recipe content to provide guided cooking tools when using the brand’s products. The first internet-enabled appliance from Sharp that will include SideChef’s intelligence is the Sharp SuperSteam+ Convection Oven, an oven that includes a new way to grill, brown and even roast foods using super heated steam.

This announcement builds out SideChef’s vision of being the de facto smart kitchen platform, giving manufacturers software that can bridge the experience and control of different kitchen devices and engage users to go beyond basic connectivity. The Sharp “powered by SideChef” app will include over 5000 machine ready recipes with built-in control for the integrated appliances. The recipes give users a guided cooking experience, automatically setting timers, playing educational videos or suggesting helpful tips based on the ingredients, time of day, season or location.

SideChef’s CEO and founder Kevin Yu says that the company will also help Sharp build an engaged user community and drive relevant content – which is a core strength of SideChef’s business. But Yu hopes to help manufacturers think differently about their IoT strategies and move past connectivity as the end goal.

“We’re not just here to connect things or teach people how to cook. That’s a great goal, but that’s 1.0. We want to help manufacturers see how they can create real engagement and monetization from these platforms,” commented Yu in an interview with The Spoon.

It’s not a surprise that SideChef is thinking beyond the intelligence inside the app to the user experience and engagement. Yu’s background is in game design and development, so he’s often thinking about the gameification of activities in the kitchen.

“The goal is to get the user engaged and willing to spend more money in micro transactions. This is what we think of as modern monetization for the smart kitchen,” he adds.

Sharp is one of a handful of appliance manufacturers looking at third party companies to connect and serve as the content partner behind their connected appliances. Earlier this year smart kitchen startup Drop announced an integration partnership with GE and later Bosch and Innit, a kitchen platform and data company also explored work with Whirlpool in the past.

“Sharp was looking for ways to combine convenience with perfect cooking results from our next generation of smart connected home appliances,” Jim Sanduski, President of Sharp Home Electronics Company of America said in a prepared statement.  “SideChef already offers an award winning mobile culinary platform so partnering with them to integrate cooking operation and control was an easy decision.”

The company plans to roll out its internet-connected line of products starting with the SuperSteam wall oven along with the Sharp app powered by SideChef in fall 2018.

SideChef and Sharp announced their partnership at the first-ever Smart Kitchen Summit in Japan. To see Kevin Yu and others speak at the 2017 Smart Kitchen Summit in Seattle in October, use code SPOON for 25% off tickets.

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