ChefSteps CEO tells Joule users and cooking fans ‘this truly sucks’ in post about startup’s job cuts

ChefSteps co-founder and CEO Chris Young shows off the Joule sous vide cooking device during the 2016 GeekWire Summit. (GeekWire Photo / Dan DeLong)

In the days following news that ChefSteps, the cooking technology startup, had to make significant changes and reduce staff, co-founder and CEO Chris Young has said that while the situation “truly sucks,” the company is still operating.

Young shared some insight in a “Cook with Joule” public group on Facebook last Friday night, writing that ChefSteps’ “funding situation unexpectedly changed” and a “significant fraction” of the 7-year-old company’s team — reported to be about 50 people — had to be let go.

“I appreciate your understanding that in the coming days our focus will be on supporting our affected friends and that we may be a bit slower to respond than usual,” Young wrote in a post to the group, which is a community of more than 17,000 users and fans of ChefSteps’ signature product, the Joule sous vide cooking device.

Young said certain lines of business, including Joule Ready and any additional content being added to ChefSteps Premium, would be discontinued. But product and customer support for Joule will still be available.

In a follow-up text to GeekWire this week, Young said he had nothing additional to add to what was in the Facebook post, and said, “We are still operating while we explore strategic options.”

ChefSteps was founded in Seattle in 2012 by Young and Grant Crilly, who both previously collaborated with former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold on his epic Modernist Cuisine cookbook.

The startup, which is currently No. 51 on the GeekWire 200 index of the Pacific Northwest’s top privately held companies, has been funded through a low-interest loan from Gabe Newell, head of the video game company Valve.

“I won’t lie, this is all incredibly difficult, but making these changes will allow us to focus on Joule and continue to support the hundreds of thousands of customers that cook with Joule,” Young wrote on Facebook. “We remain confident in our Joule sous vide business, which continues to exceed our expectations. We will continue to provide product and customer support for Joule — yes, your Joule is going to keep working.”

Read the Facebook post in full here and captured below:

(Facebook screenshot)