Morsel chief executive and co-founder Kris Petersen wants to bring the conversation about good food by talented chefs and foodies to an app, and the public eye.
To do so, Petersen’s Chicago-based startup Morsel raised $800,000 in seed money Tuesday, with some of that cash coming from GrubHub co-founder Matt Maloney. Chicago Ventures and Merrick Ventures led the round with participation by a handful of angel investors Petersen didn’t name in Chicago and San Francisco.
Petersen is a programmer by trade and sees Morsel as bridging a critical juncture between the chefs preparing your food and the people eating it. Petersen, 37, described Morsel as a social community for food enthusiasts and chefs who can create and share information on dishes, preparations, and where to find it.
“The whole idea is to share insights. This is a way for the food creators to explain themselves, and to get your own voice out there too,” Petersen said.
The genesis for Petersen’s Morsel was his frustration at finding good online sources that talked about food in an intelligent way in both words and pictures. To that end, the app allows users to post photographs of the dishes in question. The app guides users through the process of creating content with prompts on how to maximize its exposure on social media channels. The app then bundles up the content for distribution on the user’s social networks.
Petersen said over 1,000 people have downloaded Morsel through the App Store so far. The app is not available for Android, and at this point, Petersen said there are no plans to produce one.
For the small team at Morsel, generating revenue at this point is not the primary focus. Getting the attention of famous chefs and food and drink brands is. Petersen has lined up an impressive roster of nationally recognized chefs and other notables to spread the gospel, including TV personality Norman Van Aken, chef Paul Kahan of Chicago’s famous Blackbird restaurant, and food photographer Jeff Scott.
Petersen said one of the goals is to take the conversation about food outside the restaurant. “This is a conversation on the topic of food. I can’t predict what this will look like in an hour, but I’m just really excited,” Petersen said.
Sounds like something Anthony Bourdain would like.