Fashion & Shopping

Anyday Launches Stylish Microwave Cookware

Is microwave cooking the next big culinary trend? Cue up the home cooking TikToks, because a social media-friendly new brand, Anyday, just might make the microwave the coolest appliance in an Insta-friendly kitchen. Thinking beyond the mug cake, Steph Chen has developed a first-of-its kind microwave cookware collection, Anyday, with the goal of allowing home cookes to create sophisticated, time-saving, and nutritious meals entirely in the most underrated appliance: A microwave.

“It was a serendipitous accident,” Chen said of her idea to create Anyday. While trying to roast chicken in the oven, in a product that was initially meant to be a food storage container, she decided to speed up the process in the microwave. “It came out of the microwave perfectly tender and juicy, no oven needed, and we realized we’d stumbled upon something pretty magical,” she recalled.

After doing more digging, Chen, who works as chief of staff at her family’s global cookware company, Meyer Corporation, discovered that “cooking from scratch in the microwave has actually been championed by a lot of important chefs and food writers — but the idea hadn’t gone mainstream yet.” She believed that people were scared of microwave cooking, didn’t know how to accomplish it or even have the right tools.

A partnership with Momofuku Restaurant Group founder, and longtime microwave advocate, David Chang helped earn the concept more culinary cred, so Chen and Chang got to work developing the product that could revolutionize microwave meals.

“Since our goal was to build this new category of microwave cookware from scratch, we knew we had to nail everything about the product experience,” Chen said. “There were some innate principles that guided us: the dish had to be able to cook really good food in the microwave, of course. It was important to find a way to lock in steam so that food stays moist and juicy, and also have a way to release excess steam so that pressure doesn’t build.” They also didn’t want any plastic in the product, since plastic is terrible to microwave, and felt strongly that the dish had to be multifunctional, a serving piece and a storage piece.

“When you’re doing R&D and product development, what looks like a simple product from the outside is never actually that simple in real life,” Chen said. “There are never-ending challenges with taking a design and building it at scale, from product quality and consistency to manufacturing tolerances to packaging tests, and everything in between. I grew up in my family’s business, so I’m lucky to have worked with a team with a lot of industry experience to help overcome the challenges.”

The DTC brand launched in mid-March 2021, well timed with the year-long anniversary most Americans have been sick of cooking. Anyday’s initial products include large and medium Deep Dishes, ideal for cooking grains, soups, and one-dish meals; and large and medium Shallow Dishes, for cooking proteins and vegetables. Made with frosted glass, silicone, and stainless steel, the elegant, multiuse vessels are designed for cooking, serving, and storing. Anyday’s website also hosts a trove of microwave- specific recipes, like honey mustard chicken wings, and vegan mapo tofu, to help microwave cooks acclimate to a new world of cooking with the press of a button.

“Since the microwave is essentially a super fast steamer, any food that is good for steaming will work well,” Chen said of microwave cooking. “Any vegetable can be cooked beautifully with the Anyday in a matter of minutes. Proteins like chicken and fish cook quickly when microwaved, and stay juicy thanks to the Anyday’s ability to trap and retain moisture. It’s also easy to make perfectly steamed grains like rice, polenta, or quinoa using a lower power level.” She also encourage using the microwave as a middle step, to cut down cooktime in recipes like potatoes or chicken, which can be crisped on the stove or under the broiler for a nice sear.

As for the microwave itself, Chen isn’t picky – as long as it has functional buttons, home cooks can work with it. She prefers a microwave that’s around 1000 watts with 10 power levels, so cooks can change power levels, for foods like grains which cook better at lower power. Anyday’s website also provides guidees and the ability to input their microwave’s wattage, which will automatically change the cook times in the recipe to suit it.

“Anyday is incredibly useful for anyone that is simply in need of more time in their lives, and needs a way to make better, faster food,” Chen said. “New parents and young families who are especially strapped for time will find the Anyday indispensable for their daily routines, along with ambitious home cooks, who can create complex and delicious meals in a fraction of the time.”