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Foodie Shares Connects Home Chefs with Food Lovers

 

In its most ideal form, the Internet is about connectivity. Take one person who wants something and connect them with the person who's got it. This is why websites like eBay, Amazon, and Etsy have come to dominate the Internet. And now, an app is trying to accomplish this connectivity in the world of food.

Foodie Shares connects home chefs with gourmet food lovers. Released in March of 2014, the app currently only offers dishes from chefs in the Santa Monica and Venice areas. I spoke with George Mathew, the app's co-founder and CEO, about its future.

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How did this project start?

George Mathew: My wife used to be a professional chef in New York. She makes all of this amazing food, and like a lot of chefs, she's used to making in large quantities. And I'd always joke with my friends about how she makes so much food I have to exercise all the time, and they were like, well we'd wish you'd tell us when the food was available. So, one day she said to me, why don't you build me an app so I can share my food with people. That was the fall of 2013, then, when I started coding the app.

Why did you choose to start in L.A.?

Mathew: We did our research on marketplaces, and the marketplaces that are successful are very local. We decided let's focus on a very tight geographic area to test the idea and see if it works. And to make sure the inventory's there, let's carefully vet these launch chefs that we have on the platform, so we know that the supply is good. And then since it's a tight geography that doesn't require a ton of money, we can do more grassroots things, like handing out flyers and going to farmers' markets, doing office launches, to really try to get it to work in a small market.

What is the vetting process for chefs on the site?

Mathew: Through the app, there's an application process, and they basically fill out a chef's profile. That's the first step. And we get that, review those, and reach out to them. So, we schedule a time to have them post a dish, and then we order that dish through the app. We have the dish, we meet with them, we talk with them, and we basically then decide if this makes the cut.

Are there any health department legal worries you have regarding the app?

Mathew: It's a question that comes up sometimes. It's confusing because we are new. We're not trying to replace restaurants, they'll always have a place. The whole idea of the app was really around that original concept that you have people who love to cook, and cook with passion in a way they believe their food should taste. But for a variety of reasons they choose not to open a full-time restaurant or be full-time chefs, and a real foodie understands that. The reason I called it Foodie Shares is because I feel that a true foodie makes a journey to find amazing food. My wife and I, we live in Venice, but we'll drive to San Gabriel for Chinese, we'll drive to Torrance for Korean. To us, it's not a fancy restaurant, it's a strip mall in an ethnic neighborhood. We felt like Foodie Shares would allow us to get to that next level, which is like that Turkish mother who is making amazing food. And she doesn't make it all the time, she might only make it once a week, but I'd like to know.

Where do you want to expand?

Mathew: We're not trying to expand right now. Our plan is to expand, but we're really focused right now on getting the marketplace going and learning as much as we can about this process, and tweaking the business model and the app. We really want to make sure we get this done right and we don't want to blow a ton of money and a ton of time on growth just for growth's sake, so we want to make sure it's done right first. And then outside of these areas I think we're going to try to use the data to determine where to go next. We've been getting a lot of registered users in the app who are not in Santa Monica or Venice, and that gives us a lot of information as to where the interest is coming from.

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