An app launched in L.A. today that hopes to do for home cooking what Uber has done for amateur taxi drivers and Airbnb has done for novice hoteliers. Foodie Shares is a food-sharing app that allows home chefs to sell their food to anyone who wants to buy it. For now the app only covers Santa Monica and Venice, but there are plans to expand to the rest of the city by summer.
The app works much like those other sharing-economy endeavors: chefs are vetted by Foodie Shares, then allowed to join and advertise whatever home-cooked meals they want. The chefs set the price of their food. The makers of the app claim that most of their home chefs have culinary training, but anyone can apply to sign up.
Customers are able to scroll through dishes being offered in their area, choose the food they want, pay through the app and pick up food once its ready or have it delivered. There are plenty of specialty dishes offered from the chefs, such as vegan and gluten-free food. It seems like a tool that could really come in handy when organizing help for a new family or someone dealing with an illness, and it looks as though many of the chefs could cater to specific health issues. But another aspect of the app's objective is to allow chefs to be creative.
“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 co-founder Ryan Hoffman.
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Will this app change the food economy? It's unlikely, and it's hard to imagine making a living off of selling home-cooked meals on such a small scale with no guarantee of a steady customer base. There's also the question of regulation — like Uber and Airbnb, it's likely government agencies (like, say, the health department) may have some qualms with the retail sale of food cooked outside of commercial kitchens. Also like those other apps, it appears Foodie Shares will simply cross that bridge when they come to it.