Sharing and empowering cultures through recipe sharing

Grandma's Best- Recipe Sharing App


Prompt 1: With unified communication and info across humanity than ever before, how can we use digital platforms to share and empower our own cultures and other cultures we meet?

Many immigrant families have their family recipes lost to time due to language,  intergenerational barriers, and cultural differences. During Catalyst, a virtual UI/UX designathon, my team and I collaborated to develop an app prototype over three days. My team was passionate about giving these families the ability to share their family recipes while also exploring foods from other cultures by creating a community that elevates underrepresented global cultures. Through our app, we hope to create a global community where everyone can learn and share authentic recipes made from the heart.

As the UX Designer for the team, I helped conduct virtual interviews. Furthermore, I was responsible for creating all of the high-fidelity prototypes and developing the visual brand identity.
Mykalle Bonnevie
Sophie Zhu
Alex DeRosa
40 hours
March 24 - 26, 2023

problem statement

How might we help people find authentic family recipes from other cultures, record and archive their own family recipes, and create communities to facilitate learning about other cultures in an organized and intuitive manner?


Cross cultural education through cuisine highlights

What is Grandma's Best?

Grandma's Best is a community based app where users are able to learn about other cultures through family recipes that highlight the historical backgrounds of different cuisines. Through this app, users will see what other community members are cooking in addition to learning how to cook new cuisines through highlighted cuisines from around the world.

1. How might empower other cultures and provide users with a way of finding authentic recipes?

We created a Daily Cuisine Highlight feature that would empower underrepresented cultures by sharing the recipe and history of their cuisine.

2. How might we create a community that fosters education and support from different cultures?

We created a Community feature that other apps were lacking for users to learn more about different cultures in an organic way. Users can ask questions about a recipe or culture and receive instant feedback.

3. How might we create an easy to navigate interface that incentivizes users to share recipes?

We created a badge system that would encourage users to share their recipes. Furthermore, we established a system that would allow users to save recipes into groups, look at their uploads, and contact friends they’ve made on the platform.

user research

5 In-Depth User Interviews and 21 Survey Responses

We conducted 5 in depth user interviews about family recipes and learning about other cultures through food. To supplement these interviews, we also surveyed 21 people on how they find recipes online.

Some of the questions we asked: 

  1. Where do you find recipes for other cultures?
  2. Do you have family recipes? Are they passed down? If yes, how?
  3. Do you like or dislike your current method of finding recipes from other cultures? Why?
  4. What features do you want in an app when looking for recipes?

key user insights

📁 Organizational Challenges

Users frequently encounter challenges when trying to organize and save recipes discovered online. For example, one user, Amy, reported difficulties in keeping track of her preferred recipes.

🍜 Authenticity Concerns

Another common issue users face relates to determining the authenticity of online recipes. Platforms like TikTok, while accessible, lack mechanisms to verify the cultural or ethnic accuracy of recipes.

🔍 Filter and Search Functionality

Users expressed a strong desire for a comprehensive integrated filter system with filters like cuisine, ingredients, and dish occasion. Users also appreciate apps offering ingredient substitution suggestions when they lack a specific ingredient.

further research

Family Recipe Preservation

While a significant number of survey respondents expressed an interest in sharing and archiving recipes, a smaller portion expressed concern about the potential loss of family recipes. This discrepancy suggests a broader need among users to preserve recipes in general, beyond just family recipes.

Nonetheless, there is a clear demand for a solution to archive and safeguard family recipes. Our research indicates that many family recipes are orally transmitted, underscoring a potential market gap for capturing and preserving these cherished culinary traditions. Incorporating these findings into our app prototype will be essential in addressing user needs and creating a user-friendly, effective, and culturally sensitive platform for recipe discovery, organization, and sharing.

Secondary Research

To supplement our user interviews and survey data, our team also conducted secondary research on popular Reddit forums such as r/Old_Recipes, r/familyrecipes, and r/Cooking to better understand the issues that users ran into when looking for recipes. Mirroring our other research, many users discussed how many recipes they found online did not feel authentic. Rather, users felt that many of these recipes were generic and did not come close to their family’s cooking. Users associated family recipes with love, culture, and nostalgia.

user personas

Primary Persona

Secondary Persona

competitive analysis

Lack of an educational community-based forum for recipe sharing

The majority of participants primarily discover recipes online. Subsequently, they rely on recommendations from family and friends and occasionally turn to cookbooks. The most popular online sources include All Recipes, YouTube, and TikTok, with more than half of participants utilizing all three. Additional avenues for recipe discovery include platforms like Epicurious, New York Times, Facebook Groups, Instagram, personal blogs, and general Google search results.

While many online sources had a method of sharing recipes, there was a lack of a educational community-based forum where users could learn more about the cultural significance of dishes.


User Flow

Through our user flow, we integrated essential features for a family recipe sharing app gathered from our research insights. For example, we created potential flows for how users search and filter recipes and upload their own recipes. Furthermore, we created a simple user flow for users to upload written recipes using their camera.


Our first round of prototyping focused on creating an actionable onboarding page for our users that would explain each of the different features within the app. We followed the User Flow to illustrate how potential features such as the Community, Home, Search, Upload Recipe, and Cuisine Highlight pages would look like.

visual design & branding


For our brand attributes, we decided to go with a warm and inviting theme. We chose attributes like nostalgic, traditional, and family-oriented. Through using our app, we wanted our users to be reminded of warm family gatherings around the dinner table. Our mood board highlights this by featuring large hearty meals and happy families sharing a meal together. We noticed that the dominant color theme consisted of neutral natural colors featuring beige, muted yellows, warm oranges, and a pop of leafy green - colors you would find in communal foods like soups or pastas.

Style Guide

Exploring illustrations and photography

Due to time constraints, our group was not able to complete the usability testing for the app. Despite this, we were still able to iterate on our application. Initially, our group sought to integrate neutral warm toned illustrations into the app branding to create a nostalgic and warm feeling that was also playful. While we still incorporated an illustration theme with elements from @eggbuttertoast in the onboarding and the cartoonish badges, we also wanted to find a better way to highlight each culture.

Ultimately, we also used photography to showcase the people and families behind each of the recipes to provide an authentic voice. As this app is focused on creating a community that elevates and connects underrepresented cultures through food, we found photographs of cultures from all over the world to integrate into the app. We felt that Gabriele Galimberti's work “Delicatessen With Love” - where he photographed grandmother's and their finished signature dishes from 58 countries around the world - captured the mission of Grandma's Best perfectly. We wanted to design an app where families were empowered, and encouraged to share their story and culture with a global community interested in learning more.


Creating a warm and welcoming tone

video walkthrough

Creating a global community, one recipe at a time.


Perfection is the enemy of Progress

Coming from my first UX Design project to participating in my first Designathon, I was nervous and scared that I wouldn't be able to turn something in on time. I had no idea how I would condense weeks of work into 40 hours. Although my team wasn't able to conduct usability testing, I am immensely proud of the work that we managed to accomplish. Through this project, I learned that it's more important to create something viable rather than something perfect. I didn't have time to nitpick every design decision like I usually did and it was for the better that I didn't. Creating a minimum viable product helped me understand how to spend my time effectively on major decisions rather than smaller ones such as choosing the right font. Thank you so much to Alex DeRosa and Sophie Zhu for being amazing team members. We did it!

Let's connect!

That’s it! You’ve made it to the end. If you’d like to present any work inquiries or just want to say hello, feel free to email me at I’m always down for a zoom boba chat where we talk about our dreams, our favorite books, and, of course, our plans to take over the world.🧋✨