Today, Paris startup Cookening has opened up its “Airbnb for your kitchen” to the public, allowing anyone to taste the fine local cuisine of their neighbor or a local. Founded by CEO Cedric Giorgi (30€/meal to eat at his Paris apartment), CTO Sebastien Guignot(25€/meal) and CPO Julien Pelletier, the Paris startup has been in private alpha for six months, with 1500 registered users signed up so far. Now open to the public, Cookening will still be focusing on creating a superfluous number of hosts in the Paris region (want to eat with me?), but will be allowing international travelers to easily sign up for a meal.
Launching in Paris may have been one of the smartest moves for Cookening – founder Cedric Giorgi, who previously helped organize LeWeb, and spoke on a panel at SXSW last year, could have easily launched the company elsewhere, but Paris has a very strong collaborative economy culture, with companies like Airbnb seeing the French capital as a key location even today. The platform hopes to streamline interaction between hosts – whether professional cooks looking to create an intimate experience in their kitchen, or social eaters who wouldn’t mind sharing some pasta and a tarte aux pommes with friends – and visitors.
“The purpose of Cookening is not online, it is off the screen during a meal with real people. We’ve thought the entire user experience of the site in this direction. Whether the feature to build trust between hosts and guests, the table publication system or the payment and booking process, everything has been developed on Cookening so it is simple and intuitive to use for the end user. ”
-Julien Pelletier, CPO
Hosts can choose the price of their meal, the number of people allowed, as well as the time of the meal; much like Airbnb, the experience for each ‘restaurant’ page is about creating a personal relationship between the host and the visitor.
Underneath the hood, the payments system has been powered by MangoPay, the payments API released by Leetchi earlier this year. The company will be taking a 20% fee on top of what hosts will charge, which is a little higher than Airbnb or Blablacar’s 3-5% charge, but I’m sure this price will come down as the market grows. Cookening will be going up against competitors like Barcelona’s Social Eaters, which is a social network based around organizing food events in restaurants and public homes.
I’ve known Cedric for quite some time, and I am quite optimistic and curious to see how Cookening will evolve and grow. Equally, CTO Sebastien has been involved in several startups as well. Additionally, I find the idea quite novel, and may be testing it out myself in the future. So, what are you waiting for? Hop on and come share a meal!