It's hard to believe Gilt Taste has been open for a little more than a week. As the General Manager of the team, I've been living and breathing this site for months, and we're all so thrilled that you've given us so much feedback. I'd like to tell you some of the changes we're making from the most frequent comments we've heard, but I also wanted to tell you a little bit about what inspires me.
Food, for everyone, is deeply personal. For me, it was my grandmother who really taught me how emotionally important it is. I was her only grandchild in all of Australia, where we lived, who could understand her Chinese dialect, so we'd spend all day with just each other to talk to. We grew close, and in tender moments, she liked to tell me that I am a descendent of a fruit seller. She said I inherited his ability to always pick a perfect piece of fruit from a market full of old and overgrown specimens, and this, to her, was no half-hearted compliment. To her, it meant that I had a sense for what really mattered. To her, it meant that I could always be happy.
She expressed her love in the way many Chinese grandparents do—by cooking great quantities of food for me. But one day she cooked, cooked like mad, and it wasn't for me. Her husband, my grandfather, had passed away 50 years before and left her with six children under the age of 12. She cooked all day—first going to the market, hauling back bags half her size to start kneading the dumpling dough, mince the fish, fry the chicken, simmer the curry, steam the vegetables… and all that before she started on the sweet dumplings, rice, noodles, and soup. She put eight dishes by the door as an offering to her husband. After the long and hungry day-long wait on the edges of the kitchen, she finally let me in to have a taste of all this food. It was spectacularly delicious, of course, but as she explained to me how important it was that she do this for the spirit of her husband, I started to realize this was about more than curry and fish. It's when I started to understand that food, sharing food, is love.
A few decades later, here I am working on a food site. Gilt Taste is of course a business, but it’s also our collective labor of love. On the day of our launch, we received over a thousand emails to email@example.com, and we could not be more thrilled that this feedback keeps coming in. We're excited to hear what you love about Gilt Taste, what you'd like to see, and what we should improve, and here, I'd like to address some of the things we've heard the most.
We've heard people would like to see more products, more deals, more recipes, more how-to instructions, more stories about the artisans, and more thought-provoking articles about issues that affect your food. Yes, yes and yes! In the coming weeks you'll see many more stories, news, recommendations on places to eat, and cooking techniques. You'll see daily specials every weekday starting Tuesday, and you'll see new, hard-to-find products being added to the site each day. I'm particularly thrilled about the impending debuts of Mosefund mangalitsa pork, Moser chicken, and Blue Bottle Coffee.
Timing your shipping
A big priority for us is developing a system to allow you to select the date that your food will arrive at your door. Honestly, this will take a little while because we have to coordinate and work out the best way to do this with our group of artisans in a way that works for them as well as for you. But please know, we are working on it, starting to test it, and not resting until we solve this!
We offer what we believe are the very best foods, produced by people whose practices we really love and respect. In meat, for example, that means that the animals live longer to develop flavor, have more room to graze, and are treated with more care, and all of that means that the producers have to charge more for the product. For most people, that means that many of our meats really are special occasion food, not necessarily everyday staples, though we are proud to offer a range of prices. Yes, there are the famously pricey Wagyu steaks, but also wonderful organic pork that you won't have to wait for your anniversary to enjoy. Still, we hear you, and are looking for a wider variety of producers we love to supply more gently-priced meat. But we'll never settle for product that's less than wonderful.
The top three things we know you love:
1. Ruth Reichl: We're so proud to be working with Ruth. Her guidance on our stories and on the landscape of food artisans, especially in America, has been inspiring and enlightening.
2. Beautiful images that move: When a link to Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck's stunning cinemagraphs was circulating in our office, we were blown away by their gorgeous animated photos. After an afternoon marveling at them, our engineering guru and part-time designer Yon just said, "Wait, so why aren't we working with them?" A quick phone call, a charming meeting, roping in food stylist Molly Shuster, and there you have it: our lovely product section headers.
3. Bottarga! Who would have guess that salted, dried fish eggs would be one of our top sellers? (Along with lobsters and picnic wine glasses?) What this means to us is that you really are as passionate about great, and sometimes obscure, food as we are, and we hoped you'd be! We'll keep looking for unusual, special, and quirkily delicious products.
Thanks to the outpouring of ideas and feedback from you, we are also adding places for people to comment and talk to each other on the site. This is just the very beginning of what we hope will be a real community around food, one where we'll share our favorite foods, recipes, and stories, one that, we hope, will truly touch the lives of our readers, customers, and our artisans. Thanks so much for seeing what we're about, and let's continue the conversation!