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High School Twins Create Cooking at the Push of a Button

by Raven Davis

“If we can push a button to get great music on an iPod, why can’t we push one button to get great food?” asks Timothy Chen, UGA alum and CEO at Sereneti Kitchen. He is imitating his sisters, Haidee and Helen Chen, two of the co-founders of Sereneti Kitchen (@SerenetiKitchen). The high school twins stumbled upon the concept of automated cooking when they likened the process of cooking food to the process of playing music. Both processes initially involved a number of steps, but the latter has been simplified gradually over the years by technology and now only requires a person to press “play” in order to hear music.

What if cooking in the home kitchen can be automated by the push of a button? Think of a Keurig for cooking meals with fresh ingredients using a robotic arm.  This is complemented by a software ecosystem that mimics the iTunes environment.  Instead of songs, this environment offers actionable recipes.

The thought process was then, can the iPod and iTunes concept be replicated for  the kitchen? Or better yet, how?

Co-founder Jesse Rosalia has been spending the latter part of this year working to figure that out. A Georgia Tech alum with a background in Computer Science, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, Jesse handles the technical aspects of Sereneti Kitchen—from prototyping and exploring technologies to the nitty gritty software and hardware product development . His expertise complements nicely with Tim’s lengthy background as the director of sales for InTouch Health both stateside and in Asia. The potential for such a highly qualified collaboration is promising, especially given the  startup’s location in a city that has a lot of bang but with a lot less buck. Tim shared his thoughts on Atlanta:

  • “The cost of living in Atlanta is less than half of major markets like Silicon Valley. Many highly qualified, passionate young individuals are looking to take a risk in their careers by joining a startup. Living and working in Atlanta is simply better..”
  • “Being located on Georgia Tech’s campus makes finding qualified talent a lot easier. Tech is one of the top 5 engineering schools in the nation, with many ambitious people who want to make a difference.”
  • “There is a wealth of talent, and it’s easier to retain people here. It’s cut throat, but the mentality to switch companies every few months is not as prevalent as the coastal markets. There’s an instilled nature in the South to reward loyalty..”

This automated cooking startup just unveiled their first product on January 6th through participation in TechCrunch’s Hardware Battlefield at The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the largest electronics conference in the world held annually in Vegas. Sereneti Kitchen is the only Southeastern company selected as one of 14 teams picked from a global entry of several hundred highly accomplished hardware companies. The show has 3,500 + exhibitors (manufacturers, developers and suppliers of consumer technology hardware, content, technology delivery systems), 250 sessions, and 150,000 attendees from more than 140 countries.

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[Photo Credit: Sereneti Kitchen]

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