In early 2013, Tal and Charley each independently made a spontaneous decision to leave the East Coast and head West. They both ended up in LA for work, where they were introduced by a mutual friend. Tal and Charley hit it off quickly not just because they were both new to the City of Angels, but because they were both in chaotic, career-driven phases of their lives. Though they didn't know it at the time, they were both also looking for a home, a refuge, and they found one with that friend's mother, Josephine.
Josephine gave Tal and Charley a place to crash while they found their footing in a new city. She mothered them, too. She fed them and checked in on them; she gave them a place to be vulnerable and supported. The experience was deeply cathartic - so much so that it inspired regular visits back to Josephine's house, even after Tal and Charley had settled into their new LA lives.
These visits to Josephine's home became cherished opportunities for Tal and Charley to catch up and to cook for one another. Over the next year, they had many conversations around Josephine's dinner table on the topic of home cooking. They talked about home cooking in the context of their own lives and families, as well as within the current food system. Tal and Charley had been serendipitously invited back into the culture of home cooking, while simultaneously seeing it vanish from the everyday lives of many, if not most, of the people around them. Inevitably, they wondered: is an increasingly convenient and commoditized food industry replacing the culture of home cooking?
So in April of 2014, Tal and Charley moved to Oakland to learn more about home cooking and see if they could use technology to improve this age-old human interaction. They spent 8 months learning from and helping cooks, food business owners, urban homesteaders, schools, parents, immigrants, and neighbors. During this period of time, they were lucky enough to work with amazing food justice and labor nonprofits in the East Bay, befriend Mark Bittman, and even help sustainably fund a public school cooking and agriculture program. It was incredibly fulfilling work. On the foundation of those learnings, they launched Josephine in October 2014.
Since then, Tal and Charley been joined by the other members of the founding team. As a group, we have the privilege of serving a diverse community of givers and cooks. Our goal is to give back to these people who think of others first, who dare to love and trust boldly. People who have fed us, hugged us, invited us into their homes and into their families. We work to empower this community because we believe that they are not only the key to a more equitable and sustainable food system, but also to a more compassionate world.
The story of Josephine wasn't some brilliant “eureka!” moment scrawled on the back of a napkin, and it definitely wasn't an attempt to do “Uber for food”. At the end of the day, we hope we can help more people realize that we're all in this together — that the everyday burdens, big and small, don't need to be shouldered alone. It's only human to be tired and lonely and uncertain sometimes. We believe that in those moments, it's important to know that somewhere nearby, there's an open door to a warmly lit kitchen, filled with the smells of home cooked food. In those moments, we bring you Josephine.