Goodbye for Now from Special Fork

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

On January 1, 2009, my son Dave and I launched Special Fork. We envisioned connecting home cooks like you to recipes and tips, to help with meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking. We wanted you to be able to access this information wherever you may happen to be—in the workplace, at the bus stop or in the kitchen.

The delivery system would utilize exciting new technology: the smartphone. When the iPad was launched a year later, we included tablets.

Back then, the Blackberry was king and the term, “smartphone,” was not yet a household word. Most of the big food and recipe websites weren’t mobile-friendly yet, and we saw an opportunity to pioneer this new space.

Special Fork offered a unique promise: having been a working mom with two kids, struggling for work-life balance in a global public relations firm, I could empathize with time-pressed parents trying to put a nourishing meal on the table. So we aimed for recipes that took no more than 30 minutes to prep.

Our name, Special Fork, originated from the highest accolade of culinary success achievable in our family: when my younger son, at six or seven, would exchange his dinner fork for the one mismatched fork from the utensil drawer to signal his particular pleasure in the evening’s meal. We called that fork, Special Fork, and its presence at the dinner table was high praise, indeed! My son continued this tradition until he went off to college.

We self-funded our venture, hiring a design firm to create our logo, and to build a searchable database for mobile phones that could pluck out recipes for every need: by meal category, occasion, ingredients, prep time, cook time and other parameters, and to create a shopping list. We developed three sites: one mobile, and two conventional internet websites for PCs.

We worked with former food editors to cull recipes and code them for the database and other food experts—editors, magazine test kitchen experts and chefs—to produce weekly food blogs for Special Fork. We created our own cooking videos. We hired interns. We enlisted brands as partners.

In retrospect, while we invested a sizable amount of our own savings in our venture and devoted an inordinate amount of time, we never had enough resources to take us from building the product to promoting it to the extent that any new venture demanded.

So after nine years, it’s time for us to close Special Fork. It was a labor of love. We still believe in our product and will continue to own our name—possibly to return another time.

While we will no longer be posting updates, we will keep the conventional site live so you can still access your favorite recipes. And to stay in touch, you can still find me as @specialforksndy on Instagram and Twitter.

Dave and I thank you for your years of support of our endeavor. May every meal you cook win accolades as a Special Fork meal!

With warm wishes and many thanks,

Sandy and Dave
Special Fork Co-founders

Posted: Jan 26th by Sandy_Hu