You know how it’s easier to follow a recipe in a cookbook if there is picture? It gives you something to shoot for when you can see what the finished product is supposed to look like. Well, the same thing goes for online recipes. Except, why stop with pictures when you can include complete video tutorials?
That’s what two French entrepreneurs, Jacque Petit and Gilles Piedoye Peteui, thought when they came up with Cookshow.com. The site, which just launched on Wednesday, is still a bit raw and lacks recipes for many basic ingredients (like “salmon”). But the idea is solid: Let amateur and professional cooks alike upload recipes with short videos showing exactly how to prepare them. Then the audience can vote on which video recipes are the best. It’s a Youtube for all the wannabe celebrity chefs who can’t get their own show on the Food Network. And some of the videos are not bad. Here is one, for instance, for fennel-rubbed flank steak. Yum. You rarely see people’s faces in these videos. It’s all hands and close-ups of eggs and meat in bowls.
As more people upload videos, the recipes should soon become pretty comprehensive. This could be a very successful model for online video. It’s a very targeted site trying to do one thing well: attract the best cooking videos. And tutorial videos work great on the Web because it fits in with the whole information-gathering mindset you are in when you are surfing. The site lets you search by cuisine, course, or ingredients. And there is even a contest for the best cooking video with prizes including a dinner for two and $500 gift certificates. That should help seed the site with more videos, which it desperately needs. After all, how long will it take the Food Network to do the same thing on its video site?