Saturday, June 01, 2013

What’s Cookening, Goodlookin?

We have a friend, Hunter, who loves to play chef. She has a way of romancing a saucepan and Cuisinart with outcomes that will titillate the taste buds. Her kitchen is smaller than our pantry, but she magically whips out soup to dessert with enough platters between them that heads of state would be impressed. As visuals are just as pertinent to a meal as the savory sumptuous blending of the meals, here again Hunter surpasses most others with her table ware spread. Going to her place for dinner is better than a fancy restaurant.

At one point, she had mentioned having dinner parties for a fee. The concept being that people would pay a set fee, with a limited number of seats available, and guests would savor a lavish dinner that would be the talk of the city for many meals after. When we discussed it, I hadn’t given it much thought other than the means to advertise such events and basically pooh-poohed the idea.

Recently, we had a guest here who is traveling the world over a year’s time. His most recent adventure was in Buenos Aires, Argentina and happened to mention that he went to ‘hidden dinners’. He explained that these were dinners at peoples’ homes that were advertised by word of mouth. You contact the host, make a reservation, and pay a set fee when you arrive. He was enthralled by the cultural experiences he was immersed in that would not have been possible had he not heard of these.

Today, in one of my computer newsletters, there was an article on Cookening, a website started by a Frenchman. The concept is simple. You sign up to either become a host or a guest. As a host, you create a ‘table’ on the site, which you format to your liking and include the financial contribution you would like from guests. Spice up your table with a few pictures of the potential dishes you might offer and then publish it on the site. His ‘table’ gets verified by the site administrators.

A potential guest who is interested in culture, food, and meeting new people finds your ‘table’ on Cookening. You send the host a booking request. The host then accepts it, declines it or continues to dialogue with the potential guest to refine the request. All of this is through the site at the onset.

When the host accepts the booking request, the guest then pays the host’s contribution and Cookening fees online confirming the request. Contact information is then shared.

The only downside at the moment is that the cities and countries are limited. Yet this is a young company with hopefully a bright future and it will grow exponentially over the years. Here is hoping.

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