Picking a restaurant can be tough.
There are lots of apps and sites that want to make the process easier for us, from Yelp’s user-generated ratings to the Infatuation’s expert, yet funny, reviews.
ChefsFeed is an app that generates dining recommendations from yet another perspective: the chefs themselves.
Star chefs can use the app to recommend a few of their favourite dishes from other restaurants.
Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud, for example, recommends the oysters and pearls from Per Se.
“This is definitely a date-night dish. It tastes of heaven and it’s beautifully elegant,” he writes. “It’s a powerhouse dish that makes working hard worthwhile.”
You can find recommendations for any kind of food you might be in the mood for, whether that’s an extensive omakase meal or just a classic cheeseburger.
Chefs Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar, for example, recommends the Jon Jon Deragon hot dog from Please Don’t Tell in New York City.
Chefs have to be referred by a friend and approved before they can write reviews on ChefsFeed. Chefs typically recommend about two to three other chefs they admire, so it stays exclusive. There are currently about 1,200 chefs sharing their recommendations on ChefsFeed.
In a way, the app becomes a social network for chefs that the rest of us foodies can spy on. Users can search the app using their current location, a particular dish they want, or by their favourite chef’s recommendations.
ChefsFeed currently has more than 1 million active users in 57 cities.
“These chefs have more followers on ChefsFeed than they do on Twitter or Instagram. It’s a built-in, targeted audience,” CEO Rich Maggiotto told Business Insider. Magiotto worked at AOL in the ’90s before going on to cofound digital magazine publishing platform Zinio, which sold to Gilvest in 2007.
“It’s a way to talk to all of the experts at once.”
ChefsFeed was started in 2012 by brothers Jared and Steve Rivera, whose PR firm was purchased by Wagstaff Worldwide later that year. Maggiotto joined in 2014.
ChefsFeed has raised a total of $US16.9 million in venture funding to date, including a $US5 million round led by Artis Ventures in February.
The app recently unveiled a brand-new look, which Maggiotto describes as “more taco truck than white linen.” ChefsFeed’s former logo showed a chef’s whites on an orange background.
“A lot of chefs don’t wear white linens anymore. Plus they make it a lot harder to show off your tattoos,” Maggiotto said.
They have also announced a host of new content, including behind-the-scenes videos and columns from industry experts.
There’s also an added incentive for chefs to share their favourite dishes — for each review posted, ChefsFeed will make a donation to No Kid Hungry.