Local excursions to faraway flavors


Advisors: Joshua Musick (United Technologies), John Leonard (frog)  

Team: Rachel Balma, Kinza Kasher, Johny Vino

Roles: research, interviews, synthesis, prototype ideation/concept, user personas, UX/UI, video

Categories: UX research/strategy, product design, UX / UI, video, prototyping






In a world with constant social 'connections' that can often times feel superficial or fleeting, cross-cultural interactions can create new understanding and provide honest insights. However, there aren’t always ample opportunities for them to occur naturally.


How might we create meaningful, shared experiences by connecting people from different backgrounds around something they love?




Melting Pot is an app dedicated to forging new bonds across cultures, with food as the ultimate connector. Users are paired with unexpected culinary experiences that are informal, personal and fun.


Anyone craving rich memorable experiences involving disparate culinary cultures as well as meeting new people with similar passions.
















During our user testing, we found that while the home page layout was clear, it didn’t tell the story of a rich experience. We wanted to bring people into the homes of the chefs and the true feel of cooking and sharing. To bring those pictures to life, we utilized GIFs, allowing the chef to personalize their offering further, taking some of the pressure off of having the perfect food photo.

GIF browsing creates dynamic content for the user that focuses on the experience of cooking and sharing rather than just the end result.



Users can follow chefs whose recipes they especially admire. They’ll see recipes from these chefs in “Spotlight” and know first when seats are open at their tables.




Provides subtle incentive for the user to engage in cooking experiences that are different from their current cultural knowledge or background.

Can also be used to help bring new users into the community. Users who are new to MELTING POT or travel longer distances than average could earn more points. When a user hits a certain amount of points, they might receive rewards dollars towards another MELTING POT experience.  They can also garner extra points by introducing the app to friends.



After a user completes an experience, the chef sends them a short thank you note and the recipe they cooked as a parting gift. This extends the experience and relationship beyond the dinner table. 







  • Users were more willing than we assumed to go to a stranger's home to learn how to cook something.

  • Users wanted an intimate experience, something that felt very DIY and impromptu. They were okay with initial awkwardness.

  • Users liked the idea of having some kind of keepsake after the experience.

  • The option to go with someone (a friend or partner) was important.

  • Ratings and images were especially important to build trust.



  • Continue usability testing and iteration

  • Expand on how the journey points system would work

  • Working on the business case

  • Onboarding, reviewing and host side experiences

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