- New kitchen startup Our Place wants you to spend more time enjoying food around the table with your friends and family.
- It makes a multi-functional nonstick pan called the Always Pan ($145), ceramic dinnerware (from $45), and glass drinkware ($50) that are made for everyday use and appreciation. They’re not fancy, but they’re useful and effective, and they’ll help you make great meals to share.
- The company sources materials from ethical factories or artisan collectives, and is centering future collections around cultural food traditions.
Family and community are built around food. At new online startup Our Place, that means nightly dinners, food traditions, and cultural gatherings — not the technical specs of cookware or recipes.
Our Place’s founding team of Shiza Shahid (cofounder of the nonprofit Malala Fund), Zach Rosner (formerly of MeUndies and Everlane), and Amir Tehrani (chief innovation officer at kitchenware brand Tabletops Unlimited) launched the company with a small collection of dinnerware and cookware meant to serve the needs and wants of the modern kitchen.
Through Our Place’s versatile kitchen goods, they honor the simplicity and diversity of food rituals in the kitchen and around the dinner table.
The company sources materials from ethical factories or artisan collectives, with a special emphasis on female entrepreneurs, in order to make all its products. Every collection after its inaugural collection will be centered around a cultural food tradition and the authentic cooking materials used to participate in that tradition. Its latest, Nochebuena, is made in partnership with artisans from Oaxaca and Puebla, Mexico, and includes goods like hand-spun table runners and mezcal glasses made from recycled glass.
Our Place’s “flagship” product is the Always Pan ($145), a multi-functional pan that goes against the conventional standards of cookware.
Shahid told Business Insider, “The status quo for cookware brands (new and old alike) is to sell people on the belief that they require many pieces of cookware — each designed to do only one or two things. For example, saucepans for a sauce, sauté pan for frying, nonstick pans for delicate foods, and so on.”
“So the design of the Always Pan started with a simple question: what if we flipped that on its head?” She asked, “Would it be possible to design one piece of cookware that did almost everything?”
With its quick-heating aluminum body, safe nonstick ceramic coating, and nesting steamer basket, the pan really does do almost everything, though a drawback is that it’s not recommended for oven use. And compared to its shiny, sleek, and modern competitors, it looks unique, relaying a more homegrown and traditional spirit.
The pan is deeper than a standard frying pan so I was able to steam a piece of fish in the basket first, and then use the same pan to whip up a scramble directly afterward. The pan felt sturdy, and the nonstick coating was slick and effective. The handle is designed in a way so that the included wooden spatula is perfectly nestled — a small but immensely clever touch.
I have a small kitchen and sink, so I love multi-functional products that help me cut down on clutter and clean-up time. Realistically, it makes sense to have additional pieces of specialized cookware to help you achieve the exact result you want, but for everyday dinners and cooking tasks, the Always Pan works perfectly.
Our Place also makes bowls, plates, and drinkware. The bowls ($45 for a set of 4) and plates ($50 for a set of 4) are made from sturdy, hand-painted ceramic, while the drinking glasses ($50 for a set of 4) are hand-blown and stackable to save space. All the pieces are attractive yet highly functional — thick, dishwasher-safe, and microwave-safe. Again, these are the dinnerware essentials that you could use for everyday meals as well as casual get-togethers with friends or family — no need for “fancy dishes.”
If there weren’t high-quality products to back it up, Our Place’s mission of bringing people together around food would run the risk of being fluffy idealism. However, my time with its Always Pan and dinnerware reveals a mission that has translated well into simple, beautiful, and functional kitchen essentials.