Photos by Dak & Ju
What do you do in the food world and what do you love about it?
We started Dak and Ju early 2019 as a way to stay connected to both food and each other. After living together for two years, cooking together, talking about food constantly and sharing recipes, we realized we have something to share with cooks, aspiring or otherwise. Fundamentally, we believe food should be equally pleasurable and accessible, so we developed our video series to teach techniques, share our favorite recipes and hopefully make being in the kitchen seem approachable. We stay authentic to how we would actually do something (we never peel carrots) and just have a good time while filming. This project has been as much for ourselves and satiating our desire to participate in the food world, as it has been for creating something for others.
How do you resist the patriarchy?
Take up space. Own our privilege. Vote for women. Participate. Stop apologizing. Ask for what we want. Hype fellow women at work/school and in life. For Ju, this means pursuing higher education in a science-based field. For Dak, this means reminding men on the bus to move their backpacks.
In your videos and your recipes, you are dedicated to making cooking approachable. What is your recipe development process like to achieve this? How do you hope this comes across for your audience?
Our primary focus is to consider cost, accessibility of ingredients and ease of preparation. Something we keep in mind while we’re filming is ‘how realistic is it that people watching would make this?’. Our hope is to provide recipes that are somewhat flexible: we share ideas for substitutions to make it simpler for people to use what they may have on-hand. If someone comes away from watching one of our videos feeling like a more intuitive cook, that’s a win.
You cover a wide range of food and bev on your channel- from pickling to pie baking to mixology- how do you select the recipes?
Whether we’re picking a recipe from a chef we admire or writing and testing one ourselves, we film recipes that we love and make at home. We make food that we love to eat and try to cover the bases, depending on the season and what we’re in the mood for. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of: It’s January, and we’ve only made brown food for two months. So then we take advantage of in-season citrus and do a video on salmon with lemon and blood oranges.
What do you think is the most underrated pantry item?
Dak: Aleppo pepper
Ju: Sumac (“it’s citrus without being citrus!”)
Recipe testing can be time consuming, do you accompany your time in the kitchen with any fave podcasts or playlists?
Dak: I listen to some combination of Joseph, Lizzo, Emily King, Your Last Meal podcast and, erm, Love Island.
Ju: Honestly, my apartment is full of sounds from my partner playing his bass and the cats meowing. If I had my way, I’d always listen to NPR and The Bachelor.
You talk about working out of a small apartment kitchen. What is your best advice for making the most of a small space- are there tools, storage solutions, mantras, anything you recommend?
Dak: Less is more. I feel like I could do many things with a sharp chef’s knife, a Y peeler and dutch oven. I try to keep my collection of tools limited. Would I love to own lots of different glassware for every occasion? Sure. Maybe someday, but it’s not practical right now. Though, I do have a crepe pan that I’ve used once
Ju: I think we get really stuck with the idea of having a tool for every job, which you really don’t need in the kitchen. I hope I’m buried with my cast iron pan set. Some of the best chefs I know have the most basic kitchens. My kitchen is the size of a boat galley—it’s a one-butt kitchen.
What's the best piece of advice you've received from another woman?
Dak: The other day my friend Eden said to me over dinner, “You don’t have to apologize for wanting whatever it is that you want.” As a queer person—in the midst of planning a wedding—I’ve felt some shame wanting certain things that ultimately stem from a patriarchal wedding industry. Something so seemingly simple was a powerful reminder to me that I can do whatever I want, as long as it feels authentic to me and is respectful of others.
Ju: Something that I’ve taken to heart is that you should always ask for what you want because the worst thing that someone could say to you is “no.”