Gabe Newell Invests In Cooking Company, Appears In Commercial

Gabe Newell Invests In Cooking Company, Appears In Commercial

Valve's Gabe Newell has personally invested in startup company ChefSteps, which recently unveiled its Joule cooking appliance.

What does Gabe Newell do when he isn't running Valve or working on projects that aren't Half-Life 3? Apparently, he supports an up-and-coming cooking appliance and appears in its parent company's commercials. Newell has personally invested in ChefSteps, an up-and-coming startup company, after meeting its creators two years ago. That's support has given ChefSteps the ability to hire more staff, and create the Joule - an immersion circulator used for sous vide cooking.

It all began when Newell purchased an auction item at his son's middle school: A dinner for ten prepared by Chris Young and Grant Crilly. Newell quickly hit it off with the pair, who were in the process of launching their startup company ChefSteps. "They talked to me like a scientist, like an engineer, and this isn't how I thought people in the cooking world talked," Newell said. "These guys are cooking nerds. And the science is super interesting. Their understanding of what's going on in the experience of cooking resonated with my experiences in the world of creating entertainment."

It certainly didn't hurt that the food Young and Crilly produced was delicious either. "They came over and it was easily the best food I'd ever had," Newell said. "Spectacular in its design and execution."

Newell ended up making a personal loan to ChefSteps to help them get started. While he's not an owner and has no shares in the company, he does keep appraised of how the organization is developing. "He never told us how to run the company," Young said. "Every six months he'd say, 'What problems are you having, what are you trying to solve?' Gabe is known as a guy who believes you will be successful if you focus on solving problems for a real community of people."

So what's this Joule appliance ChefSteps created? It's meant to aid in sous vide cooking, a process popularized in France and the US in the 1960s. It works by sealing food in a plastic bag and immersing it in water heated to a precise, even temperature. This cooks the food slowly and gently, while preserving any fats or flavoring. ChefSteps created the Joule to help with the water heating process after finding similar appliances to be frustrating and cumbersome. It can even be controlled from an app instead of having to fidding with dials on the device - you just insert it into water and it's ready to go.

Mostly though, I'm intrigued to hear about Newell's non-gaming interests - too often we get in the habit of thinking developers and publishers are nothing more than their jobs. That being said, I'm still adding the Joule to my of "things Valve made instead of working on Half-Life 3" list.

Source: Eater, via Eurogamer

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Yay for the app compatibility, but when I'm cooking, I don't like to take out my phone and fiddle with it, on-machine-dials or buttons for the win here.

Food looks good. Too bad that stolen coffee just got Half-Life 3 delayed again.

[insert unfunny joke about weight and recession-proof business investment here]

I read "up-and-coming" as "app-and-coming." You missed out on a trick there.
Are these the couple that use liquid nitrogen with their ideas? There was a fascinating TED-talk with them on.

Omg! Half life 3 not confirmed! You know what this means?!
Half-Life 3 confirmed!

bluegate:
Yay for the app compatibility, but when I'm cooking, I don't like to take out my phone and fiddle with it, on-machine-dials or buttons for the win here.

I have to agree. This only seems like the type of thing that adds more layers to the proses. Cooking equipment should be there to make things easier, not more complicated. That works for PC gaming because the benefits to the extra complexity make it worth it. Cooking, not so much.

In fairness, if you're doing a recipe off the internet, as most people doing a sous vide cooking method will be doing, you already have your phone out. Anybody serious enough to not need the app will be paying attention to the time anyway.

Xsjadoblayde:
[insert unfunny joke about weight and recession-proof business investment here]

I read "up-and-coming" as "app-and-coming." You missed out on a trick there.
Are these the couple that use liquid nitrogen with their ideas? There was a fascinating TED-talk with them on.

Molecular gastronomy was a big thing about 10 years back but it has now died down. It used all sorts of techniques including liquid nitrogen. Its was pioneered at the elBulli restaurant which was named best restaurant in the world for 5 years and the Fat Duck, another restaurant doing molecular gastronomy was also named as best restaurant in the world. Ferran AdriĆ  and Heston Blumenthal are the founding chefs. As with all these things fashion moved and its no longer has quite the same cache as it once did.

It sounds like Gabe just gave them some money and advice, then sat back and waited for/enjoyed the results; aside from "occupying a portion of the time he spends alive, awake, and upright", I don't understand how this is detracting from time working on Half-Life 3.

Slow news day, huh?

Actually this article was really interesting. It was interesting to get a glimpse into how Mr. Newell invests his personal money and how he attends to his private interests. Usually a story like this involves someone all but forcibly going public so that investors get a stake in the company. In this case though? Just a private loan, almost all but hands off... He's like the Queen of business. He won't talk margins and stalks, but he's got good all round conceptual advice to dole out... and is a good judge of who needs it and little more then a loan to make things work.

It's a shame more people with the kind of money Mr. Newell have don't invest similarly in passion projects. It's not bad for the economy and, provided things go this smoothly and it doesn't become a money pit as though you gambled for a hobby, is likely very rewarding on several levels at the end of the project. Right down to a new desirable toy he otherwise wouldn't have had. Good on Mr. Newell I say.

Then of course there are the long term economic benefits of helping an up and coming business. This was quite the good news story.

Half-Life 3 confirmed

As someone on the Facebook comments page stated:

"Just don't expect a three-course meal..."

I was expecting something longer, though. I know he's shy, but just stand infront of a greenscreen, cross your arms and let the people insert massive explosions in the background. And suddenly, because Steam Sales, the chef nerds there are blessed and create this new product.

I don't like cults of personalities and I feel torn.

ravenshrike:
In fairness, if you're doing a recipe off the internet, as most people doing a sous vide cooking method will be doing, you already have your phone out. Anybody serious enough to not need the app will be paying attention to the time anyway.

im confused by this statement. never have i used a phone to cook from the recipe of the internet. i would either set up my monitor in a way that i could see the entire recipe at a glance or print it out. my phone does not even have access to internet anyway. This whole "Everything must be an app" craziness has gone too far.

 

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