Like a lot of great ideas, Cooking Planit was born out of one, casual conversation among like-minded friends. This led to countless hours of brainstorming and one obvious conclusion: people need a simple technology solution that helps them prepare delicious meals on time.
In this rapid-paced world, we recognize the importance of providing online tools and guidance for better, timelier meals. Like you, we have a passion for cooking healthy, delicious food and we prefer to “do it ourselves.” Yet, daily activities often overshadow crucial aspects of our life.
With work, shopping, cleaning, household projects and school events, who has the resources to prepare a great meal on time? The answer is simple. Anybody who wants to break free from the humdrum cooking routine can reach new heights using our simple, powerful approach.
If you love cooking and you want to enrich people’s lives with food you can be proud of, you’ve come to the right place. Let us do the heavy lifting, so you can focus on what’s most important-food, family and friends.
Jonathan Vlock: Co-Founder
It’s the stuff that dreams are made of-getting paid to do what you love most. While working on his degree in Political Science, Jonathan never envisioned that his favorite hobby would one day become his central focus in life. Every facet of his career has enriched him with the knowledge and expertise to lead strategic growth and positioning for Cooking Planit.
Jonathan began his career working in B2B technology publishing, where his focus has been on helping people and organizations harness the power of digital marketing. This exposed him to the amazing things that technology and the Internet can accomplish.
At this point, Jonathan was living in a tiny New York City studio, trying to “make it” on his own, which meant cooking at home was a necessity. However, his self-taught approach became increasingly frustrating, as he struggled with properly managing his time in the kitchen.
So on the weekends, he began attending classes at the Institute of Culinary Education. Meeting other amateur cooks, Jonathan quickly realized how many people share his frustration with Kitchen time management. Soon after, a “chance” meeting with his soon-to-be partner and co-founder, followed by numerous brainstorming sessions, resulted in the launch of Cooking Planit.
Tripp Wiggins: Co-Founder
They say that having children changes everything. Well whoever “they” are, were right. It was the first of three children that pulled Tripp off the road as a professional drummer and into his new role as Dad. And what does a retired musician do for a living then? Well, he goes back to his second love…being a technology geek. In the mid-90’s Tripp discovered the concept of Internet marketing on the Web, and found a new home in Internet Start-ups. Within a very short time, he became well known industry-wide for his forward thinking in innovative new media.
Beginning his new career when Internet marketing was in its infancy, Tripp has had a hand in the creation and development of a number of new online products, like the first U.S.-based Virtual Tradeshow and the growth of those events worldwide. He helped build a nascent B2B online advertising business into a multi-million dollar profit center, and helped launch an online tool for travel agents that is rapidly becoming the “go to” tool for the industry.
Tripp is an avid, self-taught cook, who – along with his wife – enjoys hosting dinners for their circle of friends. It was after one such dinner party that Tripp and his wife shared that first casual backyard conversation about the universal need for some way to help people get beyond making the same four or five things for dinner every week. When Tripp shared that idea with Jonathan, the first brainstorming session ensued…and the rest, as they say, is history.
Emily Wilson: Resident Food Wizard
Executive Culinary Director and Resident Chef, Emily Wilson, is living her ultimate “food dream.” She thinks about it, writes about it, prepares it and even photographs it every day. After a brief career in accounting, her life took an unexpected turn towards culinary school. Working in restaurants since college, she knew she’d be right at home in the hospitality industry.
Emily’s ascent into the gastronomic arts began with an internship at Sea Grill restaurant at Rockefeller Center in New York City. This connected her to Catering by Restaurant Associates, where for seven years she led catering departments at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and later The American Museum of Natural History.
Amidst the non-stop, fast-paced event world, Emily had always found creative comfort in her kitchen, where she still regularly hosts elaborate dinner parties for friends and reinvents holiday dinners with family. These parties would ultimately lead to her next career move.
As the vision for Cooking Planit began to gel, CEO and Co-Founder, Jonathan Vlock, was regularly attending Emily’s get-togethers. It was here that he recognized an amazing opportunity-Emily would be the perfect candidate to spearhead the culinary direction of this new, exciting enterprise.
Emily believes that food is love, nourishment and happiness all rolled into one. Of course, she takes infinite pleasure in passing along these wonderful traits to people just like you. Nothing satisfies her more than inspiring folks to execute memorable meals.
Emily’s goal for Cooking Planit is to give you recipes that taste good. Some recipes will be healthy, and some may even call for butter, cheese and bacon! Some will be quick and easy, while others will pose new, exciting challenges like unfamiliar ingredients or cooking methods. At the end of the day, what excites her most is helping you step out of your kitchen comfort zone-with Cooking Planit by your side, of course.
Phil Melito: Director of Product Development
Phil is often asked what he “does for a living.” This is a tough one to answer because, to him, “living” means playing music, creating art, baking pizza, swimming outdoors and so much more. But to keep the bills paid, Phil has enjoyed a 20-year career in multimedia design and advertising stretching from Austin to Seattle.
He still waxes nostalgia about the time he designed and programmed his first website in 1994, and uploaded it with a 28.8k Modem. Ah, those were the days… before the massive dot-com tsunami helped provide plenty of work for Phil and every other Internet newbie in Austin.
Phil has spearheaded Cooking Planit’s project development and design since this “crazy idea” was first hatched by Tripp and Jonathan years ago. He is a dynamic visual and usability problem solver who motivates, inspires and leads teams devoted to multi-platform design. Now that’s a guy you want to hang out with-as long as you don’t mind talking about making pizza and music.
Mark Heimberg: Chief Technology Officer
Cooking Planit combines two of Mark’s keenest interests: food and technology. It was this combination that made for a welcome and logical (and delicious) progression to Mark’s 20-year technology career, which includes various development and management roles.
Mark’s interest in computers and programming began in the early 80s, when his father brought home an IBM PC Jr., an incredibly powerful 128KB machine with a double-sided floppy drive. It was on that machine that he wrote his first adventure game, and explored graphics rendering in BASIC.
When Mark is not hammering out code to the tunes of Dream Theater, he spends his time outdoors with his wife and two kids, exploring the wilds of New Hampshire, or grilling on the back deck (once during a blizzard). Or, much to the lament of his family, yelling at the TV during soccer games.
Geoff Nelson: Director of Marketing
An innovative marketing and media professional, Geoff Nelson has over twenty-three years of experience developing cutting-edge programs for Fortune 500 businesses, start-ups and ad agencies. On both an executive and a consultative level, Nelson has an impeccable track record of solving complex marketing strategy challenges.
He has spoken at numerous industry events, taught social media as a guest lecturer at the University of Texas and, as an adjunct professor, instructed on creative strategy at Texas State University. Nelson co-founded a Social Media boutique Ivy Worldwide, which serves such clients as Adobe, HP Enterprise, Pro-Flowers, ATT and Microsoft. He also co-authored the book Social Media Judo in 2011. Nelson has served esteemed organizations, including St. David’s church and the City of Austin, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising from Texas State University.
Christy Horton: Executive Pastry Chef and Blogger Liaison
Christy Horton is a trained pastry chef and avid blogger. She graduated summa cum laude from the le Cordon Bleu Patisserie program in 2006 and worked at several local bakeries and restaurants around Austin. But her favorite gig was at the Central Market Cooking School where she had the opportunity to work with such culinary luminaries as Rebecca Rather, Nick Malgieri, George Geary, and David Lebovitz.
In 2009 Christy’s adventures expanded from the culinary to the literary when she began blogging at epicuriosities.com. The Austin Food Blogger’s Alliance formed in 2010 and she was one of the founding members of the AFBA which is now the largest alliance of food bloggers in the country. Because of her dedication to non-profit fundraising and near obsessive need to volunteer, Christy will be serving on the board of the AFBA as the chair of the Philanthropy Committee for 2013-2014.
Serendipity and relentless pursuit of culinary adventures led to a working relationship with Cooking Planit when it was still in development phase, at first as part of a panel of bloggers and later as a consultant on developing a partnership with the AFBA. Literally the day before going to a second interview for an office job, Christy was invited to join the culinary team at Cooking Planit to develop recipes both savory and (coming soon!) sweet. She is excited to join such a talented team and looks forward to every opportunity to share her knowledge and passion with the Cooking Planit community.