July 28, 2014

Trade in take out for a personal chefIn a world where the dining experience is controlled completely by the diner, not only would seating arrangements and decorations be of choice, but also the chef, cuisine and number of courses. Students at culinary academies may be happy to know that this dining world is not that far away. A start-up called Kitchensurfing has begun to market itself as the answer to some foodie dreams. Now diners can order chefs online, just as simple as take out, but with more care.

Chris Muscarella, CEO and co-founder of Kitchensurfing, realized the need for home-order chefs while working at his restaurant in Brooklyn. Muscarella noticed that people were spending a lot of time out in restaurants for business meetings, dates and other dining activities. He thought that the diner shouldn’t have to spend more time out than at home and wanted to keep the diner in control of his or her eating choices.

“You get tired of the whole restaurant scene,” Muscarella told Britt Thorson of Seattle Refined. “Ideas started kind of percolating in my brain about how to let people take more creative control of their time and food.”

Chefs for all
Much like Uber, Kitchensurfing is a sort of by-the-people for-the-people business. It has also caught on very quickly, with service in New York City, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Berlin and Seattle. Customers log on to the website and can choose a chef through various categories. They can either select a specific chef who is famed for a specific dish or order by cuisine or occasion. The price is set per person, but the cost can vary based on the ingredients required, the number of dishes and the chef’s experience. It requires a 72-hour notice for booking, so the service is not quite as simple as grabbing take out but could potentially garner crowds of regular restaurant-goers who are looking for a little more home time. A great benefit to eating in with Kitchensurfing is that the price is set before the meal and includes the cost of clean up and gratuity, so no squabbling over tab sharing will be had.

Not only do customers like the service, so do the chefs. Many chefs employed by the company have had previous positions where they were full-time professional in-home cooks. In the hopes of opening their own restaurants someday, they were putting in time and saving money without much change. Kitchensurfing offered a new avenue, a way to get your name out as a chef and also make money. Compared to the wages that most chefs earn in a restaurant, Kitchensurfing brings in a bit more. The top chefs for the site collect between $100,000 and $200,000 a year.