We have some very happy news to share — Schoolhouse will be joining the Food52 community of brands! Known for test kitchen-approved recipes and a perfectly curated online shop, Food52 was founded by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs with the goal of bringing people together through shared stories and community-cooked recipes. From Buttery Balsamic Chicken to their legendary Chocolate Dump-It Cake, it’s clear Food52 is well-admired for their love of food and thoughtful approach to joyful living.
Whether it’s in the living room or around the table, we’ve always believed in the magic of home, and we couldn’t be more excited for this next chapter. To celebrate this happy union, we asked Food52’s Amanda Hesser and Schoolhouse President Sara Fritsch to share a bit about their personal stories and give us a glimpse of the Schoolhouse + Food52 future.
Food52 and Schoolhouse are both passionate about the sharing of stories. What stories are you hoping to share collectively in this new chapter?
AH: We want to tell stories about Schoolhouse’s design process and bring our communities behind the scenes to show how products are designed and manufactured. Together, we’ll be able to expand our community so that both Schoolhouse and Food52 are places where designers’ work can thrive. We’re also excited to highlight how people live in their homes, what inspires them, and how they weave together a sense of comfort, memory, and beauty into the spaces they inhabit.
SF: Both brands are known for sharing beautiful stories in creative ways. I look forward to seeing Schoolhouse through their eyes, and I can't wait to see which of our stories and products they are most excited to celebrate. I also look forward to identifying, capturing, and sharing stories that overlap between the two brands. How do we go about designing products for the kitchen? What does it look like for us to experiment with their favorite recipes or for them to host a dinner party under our beautiful heirloom pendants? I'm excited to see their community engage with our brand and vice versa.
Both of you have unconventional backgrounds and lots of world traveling under your belt. If you had to choose one point in time from your personal history that impacted your current life trajectory, what would that moment be?
AH: I’ve always been energized by traveling, but I’m most myself at home. I don’t think my life was significantly impacted by any single moment, but I was heavily influenced by the value that my parents put into cooking and taking care of your home. My mom cooked everything from scratch, and she and my dad were always fixing up our house. Sometimes that meant just moving furniture around to make a room feel different and fresh. Other times it meant getting new bed linens or painting some rooms. Our house was in a constant state of evolution, and yet it always had a strong sense of order. I guess it’s not a surprise that I’ve made a career of helping others cook, eat well, and have homes they love.
SF: As a child, my family moved around a lot. I still pause when someone asks me where I grew up. I went to three different middle schools, in three different towns, in two different countries. During those years, my parents did a fantastic job of making home always feel like home, regardless of where in the world it was or how temporary that location may be. To pull this off, they must have had clarity about what they wanted home to mean to us, and then prioritize those things. In our home, we always ate dinners together, laughed a lot, and felt safe. When everything else seemed to be changing for me, the feeling of home was a constant. This taught me to identify and be grateful for reliable anchors during times of change.
Do you have any philosophies or quotes you live by?
AH: Ask for forgiveness, not for permission. I’ve always been a do-er who starts with “yes.” But it turns out there are a lot of “no” people out there! I found the best way to pursue what you believe in (and the ideas that others may not see the potential in) is to simply go ahead and make it happen.
SF: I always want to have a good time. I am not a perfectionist. I never take myself or anything else too seriously. Also, obviously “Work Hard and Be Nice To People."
How do you see the values of Schoolhouse and Food52 intersecting?
AH: So naturally! Both of our companies approach home design and home happiness as something that should be accessible to all. We are two brands that are obsessed with quality, whether that’s content or products. And we’re both devoted to our communities. We both feel strongly about offering high-quality products with an emphasis on sustainability — and by this we mean products that are made to last and products that are made with sustainably sourced materials.
These deeply shared values make our work together blend so organically. Schoolhouse wants to help people create thoughtful, personal spaces with heirloom-worthy products, and Food52 aims to help people enjoy life’s most important pleasures: food, home, and connection to others. How you eat and how you live in your home are so tightly connected, and by working together, we’ll be able to be a much better resource for people.
SF: Both Schoolhouse and Food52 are people-centric. The people that matter to us are our employees, our customers, and our partners. Beyond that, we care deeply about quality and are focused on the meaning of home. Neither brand could be satisfied merely selling things, and we each care more about the things in life that are not for sale.
Food and homewares both inspire nostalgia like nothing else. How do you see nostalgia and memory playing into our day-to-day lives?
AH: We are two companies that aren’t just here to sell stuff — we’re here to help create meaningful connections in people’s lives, whether that’s the comfort you feel when you turn on your bedside lamp or the taste of a cookie that reminds you of your college years. Emotional connection and the stories of our lives are why we’re here on this earth, and we want to help people live happier, more fulfilled lives.
SF: Nostalgia is often linked to repetition, which might explain why so much of our nostalgia is related to the objects we engage with at home. When I think of nostalgia through this lens, I am reminded that it is an honor for both brands to get to inspire how our communities eat and live in their homes via our design, assortments, recipes, and storytelling.
To piggyback off the last, what is your most nostalgic meal and home item?
AH: My mom’s Chocolate Dump-It Cake is by far the most nostalgic recipe for me. It’s the cake my mom made for all our birthdays. I wrote about the recipe for the New York Times and Food52, and I now hear from readers all over for whom it has also become their family birthday cake. It makes me so happy to know that something my mom put so much care into is now a part of so many other people’s lives.
For the home item, I’d have to say the first poem our daughter wrote (on a cardboard box!) at age 8. We now have it framed:
The Great apple
tree shakes as
the wind blows
and fallen wishes
are taken into
the wild and
SF: Both my mom and husband have excellent bolognaise recipes. So if I simply say “bolognaise” nobody will know whose bolognaise I am actually talking about. “Bolognaise” it is.
Lately, I have been feeling especially connected to anything made by my dad. My dad grew up on a farm in Iowa and has so many unique skills (spinning wool, caning chairs, whittling, carving birds, making furniture, fixing anything). As he ages, he is on my mind and in my heart every day. His creations are imperfect, beautiful, functional, one-of-a-kind, and also trigger warm memories of a time when he was actively creating them at home, usually while also watching football (go Browns!).
Finally, we have to ask, if you had to pick a favorite Schoolhouse product and Food52 item (or recipe), what would you choose and why?
AH: One of my Mugs52 mugs by Convivial. Every year, we ask 52 ceramicists to design an exclusive mug for our community, and every year I’m blown away by how awesome every single one is. My mugs runneth over…:) For Schoolhouse, the Teig Lamp — it’s a new product, and I’m obsessed! How can you not love a lamp whose shade is the shape of bread dough?!
SF: Ever since meeting Amanda and working with her team, I have heard so much about a Chocolate Dump-It Cake that I simply must try it. I am also very in love with all of the Food52 TikTok content. As for Schoolhouse, picking one would be like picking a favorite kid (impossible), so here are a few that I love:
Stockings: each season I am obsessed with our new designs, and I have to fight my instincts to buy new ones.
Giant Luna Pendants: I have at least four of our 16” Lunas in my house, so they are a clear favorite and will forever be part of so many memories at home – including the time one was shattered right into a lasagna just before we ate it, and we had to order pizza.
Tabor Crystal Knobs: opening a cabinet with the Tabor Crystal knobs feels like a gentle daily reminder that I am worthy of nice things.
Tangerine Popcorn Coverlet: this bedding is such a special heirloom treasure. I can’t keep track of how many people say it reminds them of their grandmother (which is the ultimate compliment to a team whose mission is to develop the next generation of heirlooms).