Cooking marketplace Chef Surfing is making progress in Latin America, the company told The Next Web. According to its co-founder, Eric Knudtson, the platform is about to pass the milestone of 1,000 registered chefs.
The purpose of Chef Surfing is to help users easily hire a local chef. All they have to do post a request that includes their budget and the type of event they are planning to host – these can range from private dinners at home and cooking classes to weddings and corporate parties. They will then receive free custom proposals and be able to choose the best fit.
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While other companies offer a similar service in the US, Chef Surfing was first to market in Latin America, and is currently operating in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Mexico. Most of its expansion beyond Buenos Aires ocurred after it joined Start-Up Chile in December 2011.
Since graduating from the program last August, it went on to participate in California-based acceleration program The Local Food Lab, which focuses on food-related projects. As a result, it also features chefs in the US and other countries, but its current focus remains on Latin America, where it is using word of mouth to grow city by city.
From the chef’s perspective, Chef Surfing represents an opportunity to market their services online; in its communications, the startup often describes itself as “a LinkedIn for chefs.” In exchange for a small monthly fee, cooks can create their own profile, featuring pictures from their kitchen and from the meals they have cooked, as well as detailed bios and Q&A.
Chef Surfing makes it clear that it doesn’t screen chefs before they register, but the profile pages feature details about their reputation, as well as user reviews. In addition, cooks can also decide to include pictures of their professional certificates.
Chef Surfing’s team is currently focused on improving user experience on the site and foster in growth. In 2013, their ambition is to reach 5,000 registered chefs and get 1,000 bookings via its platform.
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