This website is dedicated to my grandma, Mirijana Djuknic
(1942 – 2018)
Photo by Sarah Hopp

Many of my family recipes are saved in a hodgepodge of textedit documents or emails that I transcribed from phone conversations with my mom. While functional, this becomes a little cumbersome when you’d like to share the recipe with someone else, or when you think you’ve memorized it but realize halfway through you should have double checked – especially because my notes are written in a mix of Serbian and English with unspecific quantities (“a little”) and many spelling mistakes.

Frequently, I cook without a recipe – throwing a few ingredients together and creating something based on my mood, but when trying a new recipe or one that started somewhere else – the act of cooking and looking at the recipe on a third party website is rough. Usually there is a lengthy personal essay prior to the recipe content and many advertisements intercepting the reading experience.

Simply put – I wanted to create a tool that improves this experience and creates a lightweight space where you can share and develop recipes from your friends.

Code of Conduct
Cooking is like a character trait. Every chef has their own style, tastes, sensibilities, and ways of navigating the kitchen. Throughout working on this website, the push and pull of utility and personality were common themes. The end result is legible and functional enough to be used by many, but rooted in my own associations with cooking. Many of my mom and grandma’s recipes originated in free Yugoslavian booklets that came along with celebrity tabloids.
These “Pocket Booklets” as they’re called, are visually loud and utilize a mysterious assortment of color, type, and very direct language. “Tiny cakes,” “Foods with Meat” “The Fish Cook” “Salty Pastries and Pitas” are a few of the titles. The design of this website highlights this memorable juxtaposition of customization and accessibility.
A professor once said that if you’re a good designer you’re good at cooking. I think about this statement a lot and while this platform is not exclusively for designers, it is for people who approach recipes and cooking organically. Dylan, my husband and creative collaborator, and I have been working on this project on and off for five years. It’s gone through many iterations and we’re finally ready to share it. We look forward to seeing how this project evolves with your content.
I hope you enjoy using it,

For me, Little Chefs is partly a tool born out of frustrations with established cooking websites, and partly an excuse to create a user-generated platform for publishing and sharing recipes (probably more so the latter, as I’m always looking for an excuse to start a new programming project). Our idea for Little Chefs (originally called Recipe Box) dates back to 2015. You can even see the initial GitHub repo for version 1 (12 commits), and also version 2 (100 commits). Finally, we are ready to share Little Chefs (78 commits as of this writing – sorry, the latest repo is private 😜).

Little Chefs’ website architecture draws inspiration from the programming community that I’ve been involved in for the majority of my adult life. As a daily user of git, I appreciate the hierarchy of tree-based dependencies, and the ability to see how a code base evolves and from where it came from. We saw parallels between the way a user forks code in git, and ways in which people customize recipes based on the comments sections of existing websites. We built this notion of forking 🍴 into Little Chefs from early in our design process. Every recipe can be forked and edited – and made into your own recipe as you see fit. We encourage this process of sharing and evolving.
We made this website because we wanted a platform that was lightweight, simple, and easy to use – exactly all that is required when you are in the mood to cook and need to look up a recipe. I hope that you are able to use the website for the same purpose. After all, being a chef – even a little one – should be fun!
Happy cooking (and hacking),
We’re currently in Beta Mode! Please send any questions or feedback to hello@labud.nyc