Hiring a professional chef to come to your house and cook dinner was once the kind of thing that only happened in schmaltzy rom-coms starring Matthew McConaughey (pre-McConaissance, of course). You just don't hear of it happening much in the real world—not because it’s so expensive, but because there hasn't been a marketplace that could account for all the variables that go into choosing the perfect chef.
At least, not until now.
KitchenSurfing is exactly that kind of marketplace. It’s enticingly simple: Local chefs sign up to be a part of the service, with each offering his or her own culinary specialties, price points, and party sizes.
Users specify their budget and number of dinner guests, schedule a time for the meal, choose from a variety of matching local chefs, and customize the menu—changes can be made to account for kosher, gluten-free, vegetarian, and other specialty diets. Then you simply confirm the appointment.
The chef makes all the necessary food purchases, shows up at your house, cooks, serves the meal, and—perhaps best of all—cleans up. Payment is squared away prior to the meal, avoiding any awkward post-dinner conversations.
"For the chef, it's the opportunity to cook their own food, to engage directly with their customers instead of being locked in a kitchen," KitchenSurfing CEO Chris Muscarella told Mashable.
There are some restrictions, though. The biggest is geographical: So far, KitchenSurfing markets are only open in Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, and the Hamptons. Hosts are also usually expected to provide their own beverages, though some chefs specialize in beer or wine pairings at an additional cost.
As you might expect, the service is pretty expensive, though some of the options—like $120 for a “date night cooking class and three course dinner for two”—sound pretty reasonable to us.
KitchenSurfing launched a year ago in New York and has already made quite a stir. Thousands of chefs have joined the program, serving more than 100,000 customers. On Monday, the company announced it has raised $15 million in Series B round of funding, which it will use to expand to new cities.