Consumers who lack the time, energy or skills to prepare delicious home-cooked meals themselves already have semi-cooking options to help them along—including shopping and delivery services such as I Love Mother—as well as meal prep stores, with or without instruction. When even those are too much, however, BookOfCooks is a new online marketplace that can help consumers find local foodies who are willing to cook for them.
Professional and amateur chefs around the world can use BookOfCooks to set up an online restaurant or bakery that showcases their cooking talents with menus, prices, licenses and videos. Using BookOfCooks is free both for those in search of food and for those who prepare it. Consumers then can search BookOfCooks by city for the dish or food type they're craving, or they can browse the site's online Google maps and archives for links to local cooks and food aficionados, including ratings and reviews. When they find one that sounds good, they can place an order with the cook for pickup, delivery or even in-home preparation.
Meals purchased this way are frequently less expensive than what one would pay in a restaurant, BookOfCooks says, and can also make it easier to find less common cuisines such as vegan or gluten-free. For cooks, meanwhile, BookOfCooks provides a free way to establish a consistent clientèle, whether as a full-time business or—meshing nicely with what our sister site would call the sellsumer trend—for a little extra money on the side. There are, of course, legal issues to be navigated when preparing food for the consumption of others—and the related question of how many consumers will be willing to buy food from amateurs. Nevertheless, with ratings and reviews providing at least a small measure of protection, it seems possible this could spark a recession-inspired anti-restaurant trend.
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