Chefs battling coronavirus unemployment launch virtual cooking apps to hire restaurant workers
Home cooks can now stream live cooking classes with their favorite celebrity chefs.
That’s the idea behind 100 Pleats, a subscription-based app that connects amateur cooks with executive chefs to provide cooking lessons, recipe tips and feedback on culinary techniques like sous vide or sharpening up on knife skills.
The culinary tool is the brainchild of New York City-based chef Franklin Becker, who runs locations of fast-casual eatery Little Beat. Becker set out to help keep chefs employed as the restaurant industry faces devastating financial hurdles from the coronavirus pandemic.
"COVID-19 has presented many challenges for our industry as a whole. We are reeling with little relief in sight as spikes continue across the country,” Becker told FOX Business Wednesday.
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“Tech has allowed our businesses to grow beyond the four walls of our stores. Many restaurants have pivoted to take out and have even turned themselves into grocery stores through the use of tech. Cloud kitchens are becoming all the rage allowing operators to create businesses that live solely online,” he added.
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Online cooking continues to surge as schools and kitchens stay closed due to health concerns during the pandemic. What’s more, culinary retail outlets like Sur La Table, which also offers cooking classes, declared bankruptcy recently, with plans to shut down a number of its store locations.
And with indoor dining still suspended in cities like New York, tech has become an outlet for chefs and restaurant workers to stay employed.
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CookUnity, an app designed as a WeWork-type kitchen space for chefs to use as a test kitchen for catering, has pivoted its business model to a weekly subscription service that lets foodies order meals from some of their favorite local chefs and Michelin-star masters like Jean-Georges Vongerichten available across the Northeast.
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The app has almost doubled its weekly subscribers from January 2020, before COVID-19, to June. And customers are ordering meals like Vongerichten's spicy roasted eggplant with yellow rice and tomatoes.
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