The food tech duo – Lee of supper club Studiofeast, Turnage of digital agency R/GA – are taking the panic out of planning a dinner party with their app Food. You. Me. And you know this is going to be one smooth app: Turnage is the brains behind Michael Ruhlman’s genius apps, Ratio and Bread Baking Basics.
The app simplifies the entire dinner party planning process, from shopping for ingredients, to cleaning up, with an easy-to-follow time plan. You choose between five courses with recipes and the app updates your meal plan for you based on any number of variables, such as a vegetarian guest, gluten-free diet, or that unexpected last-minute guest.
The app, which debuted at SXSW last week, is still a prototype, but Lee gives us a taste of what to expect.
Why did you create this app?
We built this prototype because we feel that dinner parties are magical social experiences that everyone in the world should have the ability to throw. Looking at the array of recipe sites and kitchen gadgets out there, we felt that they all focused on only small parts of the experience of throwing a dinner party. A much more holistic experience needed to exist and this prototype is one approach on how to streamline and improve the dinner party hosting experience.
How do you see the app changing the way people host dinner parties?
Our approach aims to digitize the thought patterns of a chef in order to empower home cooks to plan, organize, and prep like a professional chef does. Well trained chefs can intuitively adapt menus for the situation, shuffle ingredients to fit dietary restrictions, and pull multiple recipes/dishes together into one single prep & execution workflow. They understand efficient workflow, they understand how to get all the food to the table on time, they understand how to adjust recipes to fit any situation – this is what we want to digitize.
Who do you envision using the app?
For most people, this process is extremely opaque and we think technology can help guide dinner party hosts toward understanding how to effectively do this. We believe that structure breeds freedom, and if the technology can take on most of the kitchen organization and workflow logic, the host can devote more mental energy toward the things that really matter at a dinner party: the food, drink, and friends.
Image: Steph Goralnick.