Chef’d is the latest startup promising to deliver the tools (and by tools I mean recipes and ingredients) you need to cook delicious meals at home.
We’ve written about existing services like Plated and Blue Apron (which announced recently that it’s selling more than 1 million meals each month), plus even newer competitors like Gobble (well, newer if you don’t count the service’s earlier iterations).
What all those companies have in common is their focus on a subscription service. After taking into account things like how many meals you want and your dietary restrictions, they basically give you the same meal kits as everyone else. On the positive side, that means you don’t have to worry about meal planning. On the downside, there’s less choice and flexibility.
That’s probably the biggest thing that sets Chef’d apart. It allows customers to buy meals individually, saying it can deliver them to you one or two days after you place the order.
“The idea of signing up for a subscription and all that logistical stuff, nobody likes that,” said founder and CEO Kyle Ransford. “Our idea is to go with existing consumer behavior and the things that already work best online.”
Ransford added that this approach allows Chef’d to offer a range of meal types, from more high-end, gourmet dinners to more affordable family meals. Of course, he admitted that promising to have “100+ notable recipes” available for order will present “a big logistical challenge” — that’s a big part of why the company has just launched a campaign on Indiegogo.
Chef’d has set a target of raising $50,000, but Ransford said the campaign should also connect the company with 1,000 to 2,000 people who will be early testers of the service. (The rewards start at $60, which can get you two dinners for two or a holiday gift card for same.)
“They’re going to work with us for two to six weeks and help us refine things,” he said.
Looking ahead, Ransford isn’t just looking to build Chef’d as a standalone consumer service. Yes, it’s selling the food itself, but it’s also working with celebrity chefs and food brands to develop recipes — the company sent me a recipe for “Szechuan Tofu with Sticky Rice” from Rachel Carr and another for “Maple Glazed Salmon” that was “inspired by” Cooking Light & Southern Living magazines.
Eventually, Chef’d could build integrations with partners that allowed you to order meal kits directly from their sites (Ransford said Chef’d has already made a number of partnership agreements, but he declined to announce of them yet.)
After all, Ransford said he was inspired to create the service after reading a recipe in Bon Appétit magazine. Normally, if you wanted to follow that recipe, you’d have to go to the store and buy all the ingredients. Wouldn’t it be great if you could push a button and have everything you need delivered? That’s basically what Chef’d is trying to enable.