Ever wish you could design a dream dinner menu within your budget, cooked by a personal chef? That's the idea behind the new Kitchensurfing.com, an online marketplace for chefs and foodies, launching this week.
The site allows users to browse through photos and mini-profiles of chefs, much like a dating website. Then users can hire a chef for anything from a private dinner party to weekly meal deliveries, a one-on-one cooking class, office lunch or green market fridge stocking.
"The idea kind of represents how food has evolved in the last couple of decades," said Ben Leventhal, president of Kitchensurfing.com and co-founder of Eater.com. "If you think about 20 years ago, you had this idea of going to a restaurant where you're very conscious of who the chef is. We kind of feel like it's (Kitchensurfing.com) really bringing the restaurant to you."
Leventhal stressed that the participating chefs are all "indie" chefs in the sense that none of them are associated with larger brands or companies. They are all vetted by Kitchensurfing.com, which seeks out chefs they have heard about through word of mouth. Many chefs also asked to become involved after hearing about the site through Craigslist, or various Kitchensurfing.com events.
On the website, you can choose the kind of cuisine you would like, your budget, the style of service (cooking class, dinner party, etc.) and include any dietary restrictions. Kitchensurfing.com then attempts to match you with an appropriate chef.
"It is much more focused on a meaningful interaction between the client and the chef," Leventhal said. "When you talk about traditional catering, they have a menu of things they go to depending on head count, sort of like paint by numbers. What we're doing is really providing a more interesting, interactive, engaging, rich eating experience."
The website is already operating in Berlin, Boston, Chicago, the Hamptons and New York.