Earlene Cruz; Razee Khan
High Concept Statement:
Kitchen Connection is an online foodie social network where chefs and lay food lovers can teach online and interactive cooking classes. The hosts of the classes (connections) can be paid, or choose to donate some or all of the funds from the class to our partner charity, Action Against Hunger and most recently, Whole Food’s Whole Planet Foundation.
Food & Drink
Need or Demand:
There is an increasing demand for international cuisine; however, false imitations and/or lack of access to appropriate ingredients makes it difficult to recreate the authentic gastronomic experiences that individuals have when they are abroad or at their favorite ethnic restaurants (Taylor & Francis 2016). Most importantly, the increasing demand for authentic ethnic cuisine often does nothing to alleviate global hunger in the places where the respective cuisines originate.
“64% of Millenials enjoy cooking at home, but most of them lack basic cooking skills” -(NPD).
“4.5/14 meals Americans eat each week are considered to be “non-American”, ethnic dishes” (Mintel).
We are using the Internet and online apps more than ever before to solve our most basic problems. The Internet also affords an opportunity to solve larger problems – relevant to Kitchen Connection – those of global hunger.
Product / Service / Solution:
Kitchen Connection’s mission of linking the world through food is facilitated thorough the usage of videoconferencing technology. Technology is the vehicle to execution.
Kitchen Connection was conceived in the middle of the ocean, while our founder, Earlene Cruz, was studying aboard the Semester at Sea program. A serendipitous moment after losing her wallet led Earlene to spend 5 days in a family’s home in Ghana, where she was treated as a member of the family — with that came the opportunity to help prepare and share meals with that family. By the end of the 5 days, wondering how she would ever be able to eat that meal again, the last meal that she was sharing with the Benneh’s was birthed the idea for Kitchen Connection:
She thought about recreating the experience via video chat, virtually sharing the meal. She would collect the ingredients for the recipe — the ripe plantains, the beans, the tomato paste, the rice, — and make the meal alongside them. She would then sit on her living room floor and eat with her hands, as if she was in Accra with them. This would be the closest thing to being in their kitchen. She proceeded to conduct interviews in each of the subsequent countries that formed part of her tour, gauging people’s interest in participating in a similar live, online cooking class. Off the ship and three years later, we begin our Kitchen Connection adventure.
Our customers come with an interest in learning to crafting new international recipes, while meeting and interacting with the people who make them. It is not only about connecting kitchens, but also about connecting lives and connecting stories. This is for the foodie, for the international traveler wanting to relive her gastronomic experience abroad, and for he, who wants a sampling of the food and the culture that exists within his reach, transcending international borders.
Kitchen Connection fills the gap that exists among the multitude of confusing recipes and non-interactive instructional videos, television programs, food magazines, online recipes and blogs. Kitchen Connection provides an improved service, allowing individuals the opportunity to actually be a part of the cooking experience with another person or persons, enjoying the meal in real time.
The hosts of the classes (connections) can be paid, or choose to donate some or all of the funds from the class to our partner charity, Action Against Hunger and most recently, Whole Food’s Whole Planet Foundation. Kitchen Connection takes 10% from the paid classes. We will focus on the culinary travel market as our target customer, given their disposable income and predisposition to trying international foods. After interviewing food scholars, a median price of $25 per class (excluding purchase of ingredients) is an optimal price point.