ConsumerWatch: Startups Let Home Cooks Play Restaurateur

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Think you can cook? Several new startups are giving home cooks the chance to prove their chops in the kitchen and make a few dollars by hosting meals in their homes or other locations that aren’t open to the public.

Eric Pascual is one of the home chefs that occasionally cooks for Feastly. The East Bay realtor specializes in Filipino-themed meals that cost $30 for four courses that he serves in his bright and airy living room. Pascual says it’s not only a chance to demonstrate his skills in the kitchen, it’s also a chance to share his heritage.

“A lot of my culture and upbringing has come out through my cooking,” Pascual told KPIX.

Guests at a recent dinner said they had no reservations about going to dinner at the home of a stranger.

“We like to sit at communal tables and meet other people, so this is just an extension of that,” said Mike O’Brien, a first-time Feastly diner. “How bad could it be? It’s one meal.”

Feastly says cooks go through a screening process before they’re allowed to host dinners in their homes. Hosts, in turn, set their own rules for the dinner and screen the people who sign up for their meals. Feastly collects a percentage of the meal cost, that can range between one and fifteen percent.

But not everyone’s a fan. Public health officials contend at-home meals served to strangers for a fee are illegal in California.

Ron Browder of the Alameda County Department Health told ConsumerWatch all food facilities that serve food to the public must be licensed because of health concerns. But some contend those rules don’t apply to businesses that break new ground. Founders of similar sharing start-ups like Uber and Air Bnb have long argued that current regulations aren’t keeping pace with new business models.

RELATED LINKS:

Feastly: eatfeastly.com

EatWith: www.eatwith.com

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