The internet truly is an amazing thing. I love seeing the new innovative ways people use the internet to connect to other people not only online but also in person. Online dating connects people romantically, Craigslist connects people with a similar need (objects, service, job, apartment, etc.), Airbnb and Couchsurfing connect travelers to locals for accommodations, and now there is Kitchensurfing.
I just found out about Kitchensurfing from this New York Times article. Kitchensurfing is this incredible new phenomenon started by an entrepreneur who worked in a restaurant and saw how little chefs are paid. He knew they could make more money cooking privately, but also new that these freelance jobs were hard to find. He created Kitchensurfing to connect people to local, diverse chefs who will buy the groceries, cook, and clean up for a dinner party, special occasion, or just anytime.
Not all the chefs are professionally trained. Some hail from all over the globe and just love to cook. They are all pre-screened by the kitchensurfing team so they are credible, but not necessarily classically trained. This personalized experience allows people to connect to their food in an even more personal way. This experience allows the chef to tell a story. The chef can share a childhood memory, or explain where or from whom he or she learned to cook that dish, or where the freshest ingredients can be found.
This is redefining the restaurant experience. Kitchensurfing has made it possible for amateur chefs to be paid and treated like professionals. It has also allowed for a restaurant-quality meal to be personalized and made more intimate by taking place in your own home.
I would absolutely love to try this. I imagine it is rather expensive though. The luxury of a personal chef is not one that many can afford. I would love to see a less yuppie version of this where people could cook for each other and share recipes, skills and experiences. I am not the best cook in the world, but it might be fun to plan a whole meal with a friend, cook it for another group of people, and then have them return the favor the next week. Now that would be a cool bartering and learning experience! That would also be more inline with the idea behind Couchsurfing- making travel more reasonable for people with less money.