Feel like throwing a dinner party? Not sure who to invite, or how to fund your dinner party? Enter Feastly, a website (you can also connect with their Feastly Facebook page and Feastly Twitter account, however almost inexplicably there seems to be no Feastly app) where you can sign up to either throw a dinner party or to attend a dinner party.
Or, as Feastly explains it, “Feastly is an online marketplace connecting passionate cooks with hungry eaters to offer homemade meals prepared and served in a cook’s home.”
Explains Feastly founder, Noah Karesh, “People today want to know who’s making their food and where their food comes from. We want to cater to that. People who use our platform are looking for specific things in food, not just in terms of ethnicity but also in terms of ingredients.”
Those who attend the dinner parties are called “Feasters”, and those who hold Feastly dinner parties are called, well, “Cooks”.
Cooks are required to agree to Feastly’s guidelines, which include health and safety guidelines (which can include home inspections and tastings, says Feastly), and serving the dinner within fifteen minutes of when it was scheduled to be served.
For their part, Feasters are expected to have good manners, and arrive promptly. As for the wisdom of allowing perfect strangers into your home, Feastly says that you can always use the “Decline button” if you have reason to be concerned about a particular Feaster who has signed up for your dinner party, adding, rather ominously, “As a cook, you may accept or decline meal RSVPs based on information available to Feastly and third-party social networks.” (We have no confirmation of the rumour that Feastly has tapped into data from the NSA’s Prism project.*)
[*For the humour-impaired, this is a joke. There is no connection between Feastly and the NSA. That we know of.]
So, why would someone want to open their home to complete strangers, and to cook a meal for them?
We can think of several reasons, including:
– You want to open a restaurant and want to see if you can cut it before going through all the hassle, heartache, and high stakes of opening that restaurant.
– You are planning a special family or holiday meal, and want to try out the new recipes on people whose feelings and opinions you don’t care about quite so much.
– You want to try out some new entertaining ideas, and the idea of being able to charge someone to share in the experience is appealing.
– You absolutely rock at a particular dish, menu, or ethnic cuisine – this is a chance to offer a class and to teach others your mad skillz.
– You want to throw a dinner party, but have nobody to invite.
According to Karesh, he got the idea while travelling in Guatemala. He was trying to find a place where he could get really authentic Guatemalan food, and, for some reason, having a hard time of it. About to give up, he asked a street vendor who was selling avocados if he knew where he could find some really authentic Guatemalan food.
As Karesh told it in an interview with NPR, the vendor responded “Yeah, my mom’s house.”
Says Karesh, “So we follow him back to his house, he swings open the door and there is his mom, Rosa, making the most amazing Guatemalan food.”
“As those smells hit my nose, I knew we’d found something magical,” added Karesh, and that is how he got the idea to replicate the experience, and thus Feastly was born.
It is unclear how Feastly will earn revenue, but an obvious source, which one may assume, is from a percentage of the seating fees that Cooks charge Feasters.
You can also read more about the service in the Feastly FAQ on the Feastly site, where you can also sign up for an invitation to join Feastly.
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