We’ve all been there: you want to dine as a group, but you’re doing Paleo, he’s (oy) gluten-sensitive, she’s low-sodium vegan, that one’s lactose-intolerant (oy gevalt) and this one is 100% raw—please. Can’t we just get along? Now we can, and it means that people with differing menus can share more at the table than a tepid glass of bottled water.
Thanks to Foodie Shares, a new iOS app which has just launched (March 5, 2015) in Los Angeles, residents of Santa Monica, Venice, Marina del Rey, Culver City, West Los Angeles, Pacific Palisades and Brentwood, can source a vast assortment of dishes on demand from home-based chefs who are highly specialized in particular types of cuisine and diets.
According to George Mathew, Co-Founder and CEO of Foodie Shares, “I developed the app at the request of my wife Serelyn, a former professional chef who now cooks at home. She once asked, ‘Why don’t you create an app so I can share my food?’ and thus the concept of Foodie Shares was born. Now Serelyn often shares her creations for free with her Foodie Shares followers when she cooks or bakes.”
Preserving the artistic integrity of the chef is a core aim of Foodie Shares. “We want to present authentic forms of cooking, where chefs do not feel pressured to modify their creations to satisfy the palate of a mainstream audience,” says Ryan Hoffman, Co-Founder. “Our app helps chefs connect with neighboring foodies seeking their style of cooking, and then allows members to purchase dishes and review them.”
For example, you’ll find “Dates. Stuffed with chorizo. Wrapped in Bacon,” from tomasreyes (the chef’s handle), and “Farmers Market Beet Salad” made with organic beets and fresh herbs by Satya Jess, who are located in Venice and Santa Monica respectively. Other temptations: “Argentinean-Style Grilled Pork Chop, Bone-In” by Serelyn, and “Risotto Primavera with Pan-Seared Chicken Breast” by Chefalex.
Unlike the usual food delivery app that brings you a meal from a restaurant or commercial venue and ends the transaction upon delivery, Foodie Shares is a membership-based marketplace, where there a fluctuating inventory of supply and demand is created by chefs posting special dishes for review and sale on a daily basis, and members purchasing their dishes in various quantities. As a result, availability of certain items changes. Members can purchase on-demand, or else reserve a desired dish for a future date. And, depending on the chef’s preference, members may pick up directly from the chef, or receive delivery.
After registering for the free membership, food lovers create a profile with their specific interests and search for chefs based upon their specialties, cities or geographic distance. You can also see ratings for quality, service and value, and read reviews posted by other members for their dishes. People can choose to follow certain chefs, receive their notifications, and message them via app. The app emphasizes sharing and community-building, and encourages ongoing dialogues between the chef and diner via the app.
The majority of chefs on this app have culinary training and professional backgrounds, which raises the bar in terms of quality in the offerings. Each chef must apply for membership and approval by Foodie Shares staff to post dishes. The majority of chefs have culinary school backgrounds, with some having worked in high-profile restaurants and others running private catering businesses. To apply, each chef must use the app to create a profile with a personal image and background information including cooking interests and specialties. Chefs also upload “foodiefolios” of their culinary creations for display, purchase, or review. Once approved, members can view the chef’s info, and contact or follow the chef. Chefs can choose to post dishes for the coming week in limited quantities or as pre-order options.
Chefs decide how much to charge for their dishes and how many servings are available. “Because chefs control availability, certain high-demand dishes may not always be available,” says Noa Rodriguez, Co-Founder. “And while there is no fixed price range for dishes, prices in the community are reasonable given the high quality.”
Now couples, roomies, friends, fam or any motley gathering of foodies can enjoy multiple forms of cooking all at once when using Foodie Shares. For people with an adventurous appetite, the app becomes a welcome addition to LA’s burgeoning digital food community, and a delicious and flavorful alternative to eating out.
“Foodie Shares makes the interaction between chef and food lover much less anonymous, and we’re thrilled to be able change the way foodies engage with chefs and vice versa,” says Ryan Oehm, Co-Founder. “Chefs also value the opportunity to engage with our members and receive ongoing feedback. Both parties gain in building this community.”