When eating in restaurants, the ambiance matters, the service matters, your dining companions matter, but the single most important thing is the food.
Chefs Feed launched a web version of its food guide today, which features a tantalizing array of local dishes recommended by the city’s top chefs.
“We started as a chef-driven mobile food guide solely on iOS,” cofounder and CEO Steve Rivera told VentureBeat. “Everything we do revolves around building a product for chefs and we recognized an opportunity to produce original video and editorial content from their voice. We hope to achieve the construction of the most credible chef-driven digital media property on the planet.”
Chefs Feed launched as mobile-only social network for chefs and food lovers in 2012. Chefs create profiles with a selection of their favorite dishes from around town. Users can follow chefs they like, scroll through an activity feed with recently added dishes, and directly message chefs in the network.
The app quickly gained momentum with both chefs and foodies, and now offers dish and restaurant recommendations from nearly 1,000 chefs in 24 cities. Rivera said that over 7 million chef-to-user connections have been made in the app to date.
Now the content from the mobile app will also be available on the Web. This is the latest move in Chefs Feed shift from a mobile social network to a media property where chef’s can express themselves, share their work, and connect with their fans.
Chefs Feed launched a video network in September 2013 which features a series of videos that go behind the scenes with well-known chefs, taking a look at their history, their thoughts on cooking, their favorite dishes, as well as infographics with facts and statistics about their restaurants.
Rivera said the website will bring Chefs Feed diverse content together in a more cohesive way, and give chefs more opportunities to promote their brand.
On the website people can search by chef, dish, or cuisine and receive expert recommendations, and learn more about chef’s they respect without being limited to a smartphone screen.
Rivera cofounded Chefs Feed with his brother Jared. They previously ran a successful restaurant PR company that was acquired in 2012 and decided to grow Chefs Feed from a side project into a full-fledged business.
The startup aims to satisfy needs for both chefs and for foodies.
“Before chefs were just the guys with big white coats back in the kitchen, now they have this celebrity status,” Rivera said. “Their brands are bigger than they are. We are capitalizing on where the food scene is and creating dialogue, to help chefs keep the lights on in their restauranteurs and monetize on their fame.”
The dining scene is America to changing, thanks to the Food Network, reality TV, and an expanding national interest in high-end food. “Foodie” has become an accepted term for people who love cooking, eating, and talking about food with a certain degree of sophistication (and occasional pretentiousness).
For diners, Chefs Feed helps them cut through all the noise and inconsistency of user-generated content and reviews, and get recommendations directly from the experts.
After all, if you have taken the time and effort to find a restaurant you are excited about, get a reservation, organize your party, and are willing to drop some money on a nice meal, chances are you want to order the best things on the menu.
As Jared said, “a meal is a terrible thing to waste, and you don’t want to screw around with good food.”
VB's research team is studying web-personalization... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.