Ever wish you could have a professional chef make your dinner for you? With KITCHENSURFING that’s exactly what they do. This concept works well not just for personal dinners or get-togethers with friends, but it’s also great for small and intimate events. Below, I asked Co-Founder Chris Muscarella some questions about the company.
The Chicago Event Planner (TCEP): What inspired you to start the company?
Chris Muscarella (CM): We wanted to create a community of people that think that sharing an intimate meal with friends and family is one of the best things in the world. We saw a way of bringing more of that into the world and a way for chefs to earn better wages on their own terms. It seemed like a good thing to do.
TCEP: What are some creative or different ways you have seen people use your services?
CM: A few days ago, someone in LA sent a chef to a local fire station to cook for the firemen. He had gotten the opportunity to ride with the firemen and did it as a thank you. They were completely thrilled. That made us all smile.
Every week we see different things: a pasta making class for a bunch of nine year olds, a dinner with a relative that isn’t well enough to go out to eat, you can get a sense for the variety by taking a look at the First 100 Meals of Kitchensurfing: http://blog.kitchensurfing.com/post/61042936826/
TCEP: What has been a surprise or something unexpected that you have discovered as the company developed? Likewise, what have you learned?
CM: The diversity. We knew that there would be incredible variety between chefs, cities, and everything else. But seeing it starting to happen at scale is still a bit shocking. I think one of the things we’ve learned is what really makes a great event. Food is an important part of it, but it’s not the only thing.
TCEP:How might an event planner incorporate your services into what they offer?
CM: Event planners can probably find more competent chefs on Kitchensurfing than they know in their personal networks. In an ideal world, we’d love to see event planners trying out some new things: like more casual setups with Kitchensurfing that they can do more regularly for their clients with less administrative overhead.
TCEP:Do you prefer to work with individuals? Do you do corporate or larger scale meals or events?
CM: All different size events happen through Kitchensurfing, but we’re currently focused on groups that don’t get too big. We think intimacy is what makes it a special experience and while we know our chefs can do better than most caterers, it’s a logistical headache for them and often doesn’t pay as well as more frequent, smaller gigs.
TCEP:What are some ways you may be looking to expand?
CM: This might sound paradoxical, but we’re expanding through focus. Simplifying what’s available, getting customers using Kitchensurfing more regularly as a restaurant-substitute and not just for special events, and then expanding to new geographies.
TCEP:If someone would like to hire your service for a client as a gift, what would be the best way to get in touch?
CM: Well, they can purchase gift cards on our site or book any meal with one of our chefs. If someone would like to chat with us for some recommendations or to clarify any questions, they can drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org
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