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If the folks at Feastly have their way, people may soon find themselves dining in a home they’ve never visited before, surrounded by a table of perfect strangers.
The local web start-up connects eaters with passionate cooks, who prepare and serve authentic meals in their own homes. Users can go to the Feastly site, search through upcoming meals, read a little about the cook preparing it, and pay a pre-fixed amount. Typically, meals cost between $20 and $50.
Feastly co-founder Noah Karesh says it’s an opportunity to try new cuisine, and also to meet people you wouldn’t meet otherwise.
“I think a lot of times at restaurants you're secluded at your little table,” says Karesh. “We're trying to expand that, and offer a different opportunity.”
He says there’s inherently something intimate about being invited for dinner.
The idea is not totally new. Underground supper clubs and websites such as Grubwithus organize similar dinners in restaurants and pop-up spaces around the District. Feastly is the first site designed to bring people into one another’s kitchens, according to the sites co-founder, Danny Harris.
Harris says Feastly is akin to Airbnb, which allows people to turn a room in their home into a rentable hotel room. The kitchen, Harris says, is the next space to monetize. Harris says they’re working toward building a platform where anyone in the world can post a meal, and any Feastly user can sign up to attend. Online reviews help users figure out which meals might be worth attending.
Not only is there money to be made for chefs and amateur cooks, Harris says, but it also changes the relationship between our food and us.
“I've spent too many meals sitting at home by myself watching Hulu on my computer, eating cereal for dinner,” he says. “And that's just not a way to live, we should be eating together more often… the table is the original social network.”
[Music: "Come On A My House" by Nasty Tales and Their Orchestra from Ursadelica / "Love's Theme" by Love Unlimited Orchestra from Rhapsody in White]