About

Two people smiling in front of the ocean on a foggy day

Hi, we’re Nicole and Alex! We love to make fun, creative recipes that are easy for anyone to cook.

We love cooking (and eating) all kinds of food, but making restaurant-style meals at home has to be one of our favorite activities. There’s just something about replicating those mouth-watering, crave-worthy dishes in our own kitchen and enjoying them at the dinner table, on the couch, or on the floor in front of the TV. Aside from the obvious benefits of saving money and cutting down on calories, cooking our own restaurant-style food brings the excitement of a meal out into our own kitchen – and challenges us to become better home chefs.

One day, we’d love to open a restaurant and share our love of food with the community more directly. But until then, we hope you try the recipes here on our blog and let us know what you think about them! Who knows, maybe someday you’ll see one of them pop up at a future restaurant near you…

The Candid Cooks

We started this blog as a way to become better home chefs, so we’re constantly learning and trying new things in the kitchen. We view each of our recipes as an opportunity to share what we’ve learned with you, our readers – and help empower you to become better home chefs, too!

We’re not just here to give you recipes. From cooking techniques to helpful appliances to best practices, we want to show you how and why we do things a certain way. That means not only sharing our successes with you, but also sharing our failures. We learn far more when things don’t go perfectly in the kitchen than when they do!

Most importantly, we promise to always be honest (it’s in our name!) as we take you along for the ride on our cooking journey. We’ll share every adventure and every kind of recipe with you, so that no matter how you’re feeling – healthy, indulgent, lazy, ambitious, or somewhere in between – there’s always something here for you. And we hope that with each blog post you learn something new, and feel inspired to go experiment in the kitchen yourself.

Nicole & Alex's signatures
A charcuterie board with bread, dipping oils, cheddar, manchego, soppressata, prosciutto, green grapes, jam, and spices

How To Find Our Recipes

Our recipes are organized by occasion because we believe that the special moments in life should be celebrated over good food. Date nights, cookouts, holidays, even game days call for special meals you can share with your loved ones. So we’ve made it easy for you to find these crowd-pleasing recipes through the links in our menu.

But the simple moments also deserve recognition – whether that’s indulging in a cheesy midnight snack or doing everyday meal prep – so you’ll find those types of recipes on our site, too!

If you’re not sure where to start, you can browse all of our recipes here or browse by the following categories under the All Recipes menu dropdown:

  • Meal type – Everything from appetizers, drinks, and dinners to pasta, pizza, and burgers
  • Cuisine – Recipes organized by our favorite cuisines to cook at home
  • Protein – Dishes revolving around a specific protein, including vegetarian options
  • Season – Seasonal recipes for any time of the year
  • Method – Air fryer meals and slow cooker recipes for easy cooking
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Interested in partnering with us on a project? We are always open to new opportunities! Click the button below to contact us.

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Noteworthy News

A bowl of spicy dumpling soup with chopsticks and a spoon
Winners of Kikkoman’s Recipe of the Month Social Media Contest (September 2022)

We shared our Spicy Szechuan Dumpling Soup recipe, made with Kikkoman low-sodium soy sauce, on Instagram and were selected as the winners of their Recipe of the Month contest! Get the recipe here.

Top 5 Finalist for Food52’s “Your Best Dish Disguised as a Sandwich” Recipe Contest (July 2022)

Our Cheesy Chicken Alfredo Sandwiches made the list of top 5 finalists for Food52’s sandwich recipe contest! Entries were judged on relevance, organization, and ease of preparation. Get the recipe here!

A chicken alfredo sandwich with cheese sauce
Strawberry avocado toast with balsamic vinegar
Winners of the CA Strawberries #MillionWaysToStrawberry Challenge (May 2022)

Our Strawberry Balsamic Avocado Toast was selected as one of three winners for the California Strawberries #MillionWaysToStrawberry Instagram Challenge. Entries were judged on creativity, appeal, and ability for others to recreate. Get the recipe here!

A Little More Background

We met freshman year in our Intro to Engineering class and spent our college years trying new restaurants, hunting down local food trucks, and cooking all we could in our small shared kitchens. But it wasn’t until we graduated that we realized how passionate we both were about cooking. Loving food is one thing, but loving to cook is totally different.

Cooking used to always be about the food; a means to an end. But by dedicating more of our time to cooking, learning about the techniques and traditions behind different cuisines, and increasing our awareness of where our food comes from, we began to appreciate and find joy in the process of cooking. And that’s why starting this blog fundamentally shifted our mindset in the kitchen and helped us become better home chefs.

We now have our own kitchen with more space for groceries and cookware, which makes a huge difference in how enjoyable cooking truly is. Fresh, high-quality ingredients can make good recipes great – especially when those ingredients are thoughtfully and purposefully prepared with the right tools. Cooking is a journey, so by approaching every step of the process with intention your chances of success are higher, and you might just learn to love cooking too! (It’ll be fun, we promise.)

NEVER MISS A RECIPE!

Join our email list to get new recipes delivered straight to your inbox every week. Plus, we'll send you a free copy of our weekly meal planner as a thank you!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

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