People in this country are finding more and more ways to grow, share, and enjoy food within their local communities. In recent years we’ve seen secret pop-up kitchens, community gardens, and farm-to-table programs, all aimed at putting locals in touch, first-hand, with the foods grown and cooked in their towns. And now, two new companies have sprung up that are putting chefs and cooks directly in touch with the hungry diners in their towns. Some are calling it chef-to-home dining. We call it genius.
Kitchit launched in the Bay Area last September, and it just expanded to include Los Angeles (next up is NYC). The website acts as a new-wave personal chef finder service, putting you in touch with professional chefs in the area that will do everything start-to-finish for your request: shop, cook, serve, and clean up.
Where Kitchit differs from traditional personal chef finding services is that it operates like an Elance service for professional cooks. Chefs create online profiles that include their photos, profiles, resumes, and rates. Users then browse among those chefs and hire based on their needs.
Many of the chefs on Kitchit are locally recognized restaurant chefs, and that’s a large part of the appeal for users. The website is a one-stop-shop for hiring your own professional personal chef and making a completely customizable dining experience for your event.
Perks of Kitchit include the clean, fresh look of the website, along with its user-friendly navigating. Ask a Kitchit “concierge” whatever you need to know to get started, or browse through the site’s list of entertaining ideas to get inspiration. Downside of Kitchit? It’s pricey—chefs charge anywhere from $25 a person to several hundreds, depending on what you’re going for. But compared to a several-course meal at a restaurant, the prices aren’t all that bad.
Then there’s Kitchensurfing, which acts as a “global marketplace for people that love connecting over delicious food.” Translation: It’s a Craigslist-type idea where you can put yourself up for hire as a chef, put your kitchen up for rent as a kitchen space, or search for any of the above services to throw your own foodie soiree.
Kitchensurfing has more of a homegrown, for-the-people, by-the-people kind of feel to it, unlike the more “hire a professional” feel of Kitchit. At Kitchensurfing, you don’t have to be a professionally trained chef to go up for hire or have even worked in a real kitchen. To sign-up as a chef you just supply your relevant deets, such as your cooking experiences, your cuisine specialties, and your asking rate.
Co-founder Wendel Davis says that Kitchensurfing was born as “… an answer to the question, ‘How do we get more people having better meals more often with other people?’” This idea of promoting a community-expansive dining experience is apparent on the site. By putting your kitchen up for booking, you are literally inviting strangers into your home to share a meal (though you are pocketing a fee for the rental space).