Food52’s first test kitchen—and photo studio, and video set—was our co-founder Amanda Hesser’s apartment. Fast-forward to today, and we’re in an office with three kitchens on three floors. Everything smells like butter (or, you know, steak); there’s never a shortage of warm cookies; and by the end of each day, ingredient leftovers—from handfuls of parsley to half-full jars of kimchi brine—are headed to loving homes.
Food52’s test kitchens are the heart (er, stomach?) of our humble headquarters. And at the moment, we have almost 50,000 recipes—thanks to our staff and freelancers but, more than anyone else, our community members.. This mix of content from professional and home cooks is one of our proudest parts of Food52. But it does make a reader (maybe even you!) wonder: How can someone tell the difference between a recipe from the test kitchen and a recipe submitted by a community member?
We’re glad you asked—because we have some exciting news: a shiny, brand-new recipe tag called Test Kitchen–Approved. It’s taking the place of another well-worn tag, Community Pick, which has served us well but wants to retire by the beach and drink piña coladas while watching the sunset (can you blame it?).
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If you’re wondering what a Community Pick even is, that’s a question a lot of our readers (and even some staff members) have wondered. Way back when, Community Pick was a recipe contest term. Consider it Food52-speak for semifinalist.
Our contests haven’t included that stage for awhile (like us growing out of Amanda’s apartment, things change), but we’ve kept using the term. Over the years, it became our way of saying: Our test kitchen has made this, our studio has photographed it, and we’re totally in love with it.
Who could guess that from the name, though? Lots of you told us this was unclear. So we listened, agreed, and got right to making things better.
That’s where Test Kitchen–Approved comes in. When you see this tag, you’ll know that the recipe has gone through our nitpicky (in a good way!) test kitchen—and probably our home kitchens, too. We’ve made the cookie dough with a standing mixer and by hand to see which one is better. We’ve timed just how long it takes for those three chopped onions to caramelize. We’ve increased the baking powder by 1/4 teaspoon to see if it was worth it (it wasn’t). We’ve taken the internal temperature of everything from a pan-seared steak to a loaf of brioche. In short, we’ve obsessed over every measurement and instruction until it’s just right.
All of which to say: Test Kitchen–Approved is our staff’s stamp of approval. We hope it’ll guide you toward some of your new favorite recipes. Just click here to get started.