Known as the AirBnB of dining, PlateCulture is an online platform that lets you book a meal in a stranger’s home. Now in over 20 countries, it offers a new kind of social dining experience that’s proving increasingly popular in Hong Kong. From Tuscan delights to a Carribean barbecue feast, you can find cuisine from all over the world. Curious? We chat to co-founder Reda Stare and one of PlateCulture’s budding home cooks.
Reda Stare, Co-founder and CEO, PlateCulture
Tell me about yourself.
I am an avid traveller and foodie from Lithuania. Food is my passion, not my official profession.
What is PlateCulture?
PlateCulture connects people who love cooking and hosting dinners with people who love eating authentic home cooked meals.
How does it work?
Home chefs and guests meet via the website. As a guest, you can look through the profiles of different chefs and choose where you would like to eat. The profiles include photos from previous events, menu, location and guest reviews. Once you have chosen, you can send the chef a message and book your seat around the table online.
If you want to be a chef, you can complete an online form and we will get in touch you. Once you are approved by our team and ambassadors, you can decide on a price and start cooking. All the rest is just a great journey filled with delicious food and new friends.
What gave you the idea for PlateCulture?
I spent a year traveling through South East Asia and India. Whilst in Kerala I was invited for a traditional dinner at someone’s house. Our host prepared amazing homemade South Indian dishes which I hadn’t tried during my whole two months in India. It was one of those amazing evenings when you get to taste the best food and see all the culture from inside. I started PlateCulture to offer this unique experience to more people – tourists and locals.
What have the difficulties been so far?
The challenge was taking the concept online, giving it a shape, and communicating it to people. It works well in Asia as people here are really friendly and value their food culture, but I’m happy to see the concept spreading, even to New York.
Why do you think PlateCulture has been a success?
I believe people are looking for new experiences when it comes to eating and PlateCulture helps the food to shine in a different perspective: it comes with great company – you can meet different people around the table – and each meal is designed and prepared personally by the host for you, with love.
How many members do you have?
We have over 10,000 members with over 300 chefs worldwide.
It’s quite a big step to invite a stranger into your home, isn’t it?
Security is very important to us. We have a vouching process where one of our ambassadors visits the chef. We also collect reviews from guests after every single experience. Guests pay online for the experience and have to provide certain details to us. Until the booking is approved by the chef no personal details are shared.
How do you make money?
PlateCulture takes a small cut from every booking. This is already included in the price shown on the website.
Where was your best meal?
In Kuala Lumpur we gathered all the chefs to showcase their dishes. I don’t think I have ever eaten so much and so well in one evening in all my life.
Do you think anyone can be a chef?
There is one very important ingredient in order to start as a chef at PlateCulture – a passion for food and cooking. It doesn’t matter where it comes from – be it your school, your grandma or cooking shows on TV.