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Valve Software founder Gabe Newell, one of the most influential people in the video game industry and the king of the Steam digital distribution network, has invested in a cooking startup.

Geekwire reports that Newell invested in high-tech cooking startup ChefSteps, a Seattle startup that Chris Young and Grant Crilly lead. Both previously worked with Nathan Myhrvold, the former chief technology officer at Microsoft, on his Modernist Cuisine cookbook. Myhrvold is a big fan of the temperature-controlled water-cooking method known as sous vide.

The size of the investment wasn’t disclosed. Newell is the lone outside investor. The startup is based in the Pike’s Place market area on the Seattle waterfront. The ChefSteps cofounders credited Newell’s investment for being able to focus on serving a community of users over the long haul.

Young told Geekwire that Valve itself, the maker of games such as Half-Life, shared a similar philosophy. “On some levels, I think Gabe sees the way Valve is built as a thing that can be done again,” Young said. “Traditional funding and access to capital won’t allow that, so there’s actually a really big opportunity for funding companies that are capable of following that pathway.”


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Young was previously the founding chef of the Fat Duck Experimental Kitchen. Crilly has served as chef de cuisine at Busaba in Mumbai and Mistral in Seattle. ChefSteps serves a community of 500,000 cooking enthusiasts with online videos and advice. The company has 28 employees and contractors.

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