Great Jones is cooking with heat



Great Jones, the name of a popular New York-based cookware company, is a nod and a wink to two Big Apple staples: NoHo’s Great Jones Street and the award-winning cookbook editor Judith Jones (1924-2017), who also was known for rescuing The Diary of Anne Frank from the rejection pile.

There is a definite playfulness to the brand, a direct-to-consumer operation launched in 2017 by two 20-something childhood friends, Sierra Tishgart and Maddy Moelis. (The two met as kids at a summer camp, “where we bonded over a love of Chipwich ice-cream sandwiches and pizza pockets,” they write on their website.)

Their products, which come packaged in bright, retro wrapping, have playful names. The Dutch oven is the Dutchess; the big stockpot the Big Deal; the skillet Small Fry; and the saucepan Saucy. Great Jones’ slick-yet-lively products suggest cooking should be first and foremost a fun affair.

The brand itself is a product of youthful optimism. Tishgart, a James Beard Award-winning editor at New York magazine’s food vertical, Grub Street, was dismayed by the extravagant prices of quality cookware. With childhood friend and University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School graduate Moelis, Great Jones was launched to provide dependable, ethically produced goods with affordable prices. “Style has to meet substance,” Tishgart tells Reside®.

Founders Sierra Tishgart, left, and Maddy Moelis, with their Dutchess.
Founders Sierra Tishgart, left, and Maddy Moelis, with their Dutchess.

Credits: Great Jones

It has, so far, been a wildly successful start. The company, through the venture capital firm General Catalyst, recently raised $2.75 million in seed funding; investors include the founders of the popular luggage start-up Away, Jen Rubio and Steph Korey. Forbes magazine listed the entrepreneurial pair on their prestigious 2019 “30 Under 30 in Food & Drink” ranking.

In the world of home products, brands that sell their products without third-party retailers are increasingly common. (Moelis previously worked at one of America’s most successful direct-to-consumer brands, eyeglasses giant Warby Parker, and at Zola, a wedding-registry service and seller of cookware.)

Great Jones is generally more affordable than legacy brands like Staub and Le Creuset, with comparable quality. The Dutchess, which comes in five food-focused colors—broccoli, Earl Grey, mustard, macaron, and blueberry—retails at US$175. A full Great Jones set costs US$395. The Small Fry is US$45.

A full set of cookware from Great Jones

Credits: Great Jones
A full set of cookware from Great Jones

During the research-and-development phase, Moelis and Tishgart tried to cover all the bases. With 3D-printed designs, they consulted “culinary pros” throughout New York, from Momofuku’s David Chang to Tishgart’s local butcher.

Their stainless-steel products are “fully clad,” meaning they possess an aluminum core, which allows heat distribution throughout the entire surface.

Other details were painstakingly worked out: how to keep the products weighty but not too heavy; how to make the handles as ergonomic as possible; how to ensure food doesn’t get trapped in slopes or curves. All of the items, too, had to look good. As they proudly proclaim on their website: “Cookware shouldn’t be relegated to underneath your sink.”

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