So, what?s for dinner? The menu today includes chicken wings cooked by Prodromos in Vyronas, red lentil stew with saffron by Rena in Ano Liosia, a savory cake by Maria in Halandri and spinach pie by Eleni in central Athens. For dessert, Foteini has made halva in Halandri and Venetia in Maroussi has baked a batch of cupcakes.
This is Cookisto.com, a concept so basic that it is a wonder why no one thought of it earlier. But Michalis Gontas and his team did click onto the idea to create an online cooking community that brings together regular home cooks willing to cook up a few extra portions to share with people who appreciate home-style food but haven?t the time or the skills to make it happen. The scheme allows home cooks to make a bit of money (portions range in price from 1.50 to 4 euros and the food is normally picked up by the person ordering), while those doing the ordering also benefit as the food is generally cheaper than other forms of takeaway.
?The idea took shape when we realized how easy it could be for someone cooking for themselves or their family to simply make a few extra portions,? Gontas told Kathimerini.
?At the same time ? as we know only too well from spending many hours a day at work ? you can?t eat sandwiches and takeaway food every day. If you want healthy home-cooked food, the choices are limited and quite pricey as well,? he said, adding: ?I often order from Cookisto myself. So-called ?home food? from a restaurant or takeaway is very different from the real thing. Food prepared in a home kitchen is one thing and that prepared by a professional churning out 150 portions is quite another.?
Cookisto was launched in July and has already drawn over 300 cooks and 2,290 customers in downtown Athens alone, while it also plans to expand its service to other parts of the Greek capital.
?It appears that people really like the idea; the response has been very encouraging even though we?ve had a lot of inquiries from people who haven?t actually gone on to use the service yet. I know that when they make their first order, they will be delighted,? said Gontas.
Other than regular home cooks, Cookisto has also attracted young professional chefs who are looking for a launch pad or for people willing to try out their recipes.
?I believe that it is just a matter of time before the website reveals the next big name in cooking,? said Gontas.
Cookisto users can evaluate the dishes of the participating cooks on the site. Some 20 of the 300 cooks have already received a guarantee of quality from the users and the number is constantly rising.