R.A. — thanks for taking the time to respond.
Lets start at the bottom.
We’re a young company and we’re about to open up a large part of our core product. Our own projects will make it to the list. One of the interesting points there is we don’t want to pressure candidates in contributing to our stuff. We’d rather let them pick something they already know and are feel comfortable contributing to.
(1 & 3) I grew up with a celiac sibling. We cooked gluten free in my house. Like design, cooking restrictions lead to creativity and we welcome them all. We are OK with any dietary requirement, from medical or religious restrictions to personal preferences like not liking Cilantro. This is the very last part of the interview so we ask interviewees about any restrictions (whether dietary or alcohol related) before the dinner.
(2) one of our team members is vegetarian. I’d happily cook a vegan meal for this process, just haven’t had to yet.
(4) I cook as much if not more than my wife. I personally don’t associate cooking with a ‘woman’s work’, neither does the rest of my team.
I hate the bro culture as much as anyone. Coming to a founders house for dinner is definitely a bit of pressure but we aren’t trying to push people in any direction to try to fit in. I’ve moved around quite a bit. My family has lived in, Montreal, New York, California, Monterrey (Mexico), Singapore and Hong Kong. People, in all those places rally around food. If you make it to the last bit of the interview, chances are we want you. Its meant as a meet and great with the team, not an assessment of your cooking skills.
As you pointed out we want to get a sense for how candidates fit in with the team, we’re not looking for a mold, we’re looking out for how people behave when they relax a bit. At that point, we just want to make sure the candidate isn’t an asshole, won’t treat our diverse team like shit (we have more nationalities than people) and will generally enjoy spending long hours working on cool stuff along the rest of us.
I’m not trying to disrupt anything with this approach. The open source assessment is a small iteration on technical assessments of candidates. On the cooking front, I legitimately like getting to know the people we work with. Will this scale? No. Does this always work? No. Have I had to skip bits and pieces of this process? Yes, several times.
Hope this gives you and anyone else a better sense for what we’re trying to accomplish with this process.
Lastly, opening a restaurant at some point in my lifetime is definitely in the works.