Chaos Cooking: A social mobile app for foodies
Chaos Cooking: A social mobile app for foodies
A mobile app for foodies with a community focused on a flurry of food, great conversations, and awesome people!
A mobile app for foodies with a community focused on a flurry of food, great conversations, and awesome people! Read more
About this project
Welcome to Chaos Cooking!
The concept is simple: Good People + Good Food = Good Times
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First of all, what the hell is Chaos Cooking?
Chaos Cooking is a vibrant, real-life community centered around cooking together and making new friends.
Chaos Cooking events typically take place in someone's kitchen. Each attendee brings the ingredients for one dish and a drink of their choice, then everyone cooks together. As various dishes are ready, they are passed around the room for people to nibble on. You could think of it as a 20+ course tasting menu, where your dish is one of the courses.
At a designated time towards the end of the event, everyone goes into cleanup mode - working together to restore the host's space to its original condition. Many hands make light work, so the cleanup phase usually takes only a half-hour or so. During all of this, everyone is socializing, making new friends, borrowing ingredients from each other, and perhaps even getting a little boozy!
What specific things will the app do for me?
You are on the Internet right now instead of eating, drinking, and socializing with new people. That should be reason enough, but since you asked...
- Make new friends and cook together!
- Be the center of attention by hosting your own event in a few clicks.
- Learn new recipes from people around the world and put your own spin on others' recipes.
- Stay easily connected with the new people you meet.
- Discover other fun happenings within your community.
- Our "Trust System" will automatically filter out individuals you probably won’t appreciate. Read more about this below.
Sounds fun! But why do I need a mobile app for that?
The purpose of the app is to encourage more frequent Chaos Cooking events, in more cities around the world.
So far, all of the Chaos Cookings have been hosted by a core group of us. This is because the process of hosting an event is still a little clunky and requires the help of someone who's done it before.
The app is meant to make the process of hosting an event really easy. We think this will give Chaos Cookers more of what they want, as well as introduce the concept to a much wider audience.
Besides, in a few years you'll have bragging rights from being on the forefront of this!
But there are already Chaos Cooking events happening ... without needing an app!
now the only connection between these separate communities is the fact
they are using an idea that spread from a group of us in Brooklyn.
There is currently no centralized place to share ideas, meet new people, etc.
We also need to ensure that the community stays full of good people. We've designed a "Trust System" which will allow you to easily vet new people and quickly decide whether they are folks with whom you would enjoy cooking.
Can you explain more about the Trust System?
While almost everyone we've met has been an amazing person, there have been one or two individuals who made some people feel uncomfortable. You know the type I’m talking about. We’ve created a way to have those few bad apples fall quietly by the wayside, enabling everyone else to become more connected and maintain a welcoming community.
After you meet someone at an event, there is an optional follow up. You can choose to anonymously rate things like “delicious dish”, “great conversationalist”, “wonderful host”, “creative genius”, and yes, even “awkward”. These ratings are all taken into account to help determine where individuals fit within the community.
Can't I just use Facebook or something?
Facebook and Twitter are great at keeping up with people you have already met, but they are terrible for meeting new people. Dating sites can be a mostly-decent way of meeting new people to date but can carry awkward expectations - or just be plain awkward! Chaos Cooking comes with no expectations; it's just a bunch of people who enjoy cooking together.
Chaos Cooking events let you meet people from outside of your normal circles. It's kind of amazing how easily people bond while cooking together. People's lives are busy and complicated. None of that matters at Chaos Cooking; everyone is simply there to cook and have fun doing it!
Why do you need $25,560? That sounds expensive. (A.K.A. The "My neighbor's kid is some kind of computer whiz and I bet he could do it for less" question)
A well-written article on PadGadget.com explored The Cost of Building an App and suggested the development costs range from $12,000 to over $150,000. We are going to try and do as much of the development as we can by ourselves, but in order to do it properly we recognize that we will need to retain the services of experts.
We will also use the money to pay a reputable PR company to help spread the word to other cities. It isn’t fun to be the only one at the party. We’ve been very successful growing the community in NYC, but there isn't much of a community in (for instance) Des Moines, Idaho. We simply want to find the right people for you to connect with. The increased awareness provided by PR, combined with the app will provide the missing link and allow the community to grow in a sustainable way.
What if I don’t have a smartphone?
We will mirror all the functionality of the app on our website. None of the Kickstarter funding will be used for this.
Do I have to give up any privacy?
We hate spam and think you should too. We will never spam or transfer your info to anyone.
We hope you will want to contribute because you like the concept and are as excited about the possibilities as we are. Our mobile app will allow for more Chaos Cooking events in more cities, while strengthening the community in cities where we already have a presence. We want to use as much of our fundraising money as possible to move towards that goal.
That said, as a small token of our gratitude for your support, we've created some fun little gifts. They're not much, but it's our little way of saying "Thanks" while using as much of your contribution as possible to accomplish the goals outlined above.
Our monetary goal will enable us to do develop the mobile app and do PR for six cities. For each $2,500 raised in excess of our goal, we will add another city to the list and add more features to the app.
Risks and challenges
Victims of our own success:
If Chaos Cooking suddenly gets a huge burst of interest, we expect our workload to increase significantly. For instance, we anticipate it being difficult to manage a giant influx of inquiries. That said, we have a number of volunteers from the Chaos Cooking community who have offered their help on an as-needed basis.
Keeping the quality:
As we grow the community, there is a chance that the feel of the community might change in a negative way. Currently, our community feels like an extended family and we would like to keep it that way. As we grow, it will be a priority to keep the community feeling small and vibrant, and based on trust and mutual respect.
The almighty buck:
Finally, we worry that we won’t have enough backers to support this project. So far, this has been a labor of love for us and any expenses have been paid out of our own pockets. Obviously, this is unsustainable - especially since we have no intention of ever making a dime off Chaos Cooking. If we are to grow, we really need the support of folks like you who see potential in this concept and who would like to see Chaos Cooking expand around the world.
Besides the rewards, there are a lot of ways you can get behind this project.
The best way to help is to jump right in and http://chaoscooking.com with your friends in your home town. It’s really fun and easy and we’ll help you get started.
Help us spread the word! http://chaoscooking.com/press and send it to your local papers, foodie groups, TV, and radio. If you have any other ideas, let us know. We’d love to hear them!
Do you speak another language besides English? We could use your help translating the website into other languages.
f you are a top notch Ruby developer, an incredible graphics designer, or an experienced UI guru, we’d love you to jump in and help out.
Hi, Joe here...
Chaos Cooking was born out of my longing for the feeling you get when your entire family is over for the holidays and they are just bouncing off each other while making a feast that leaves you full-bellied and blissful.
My girlfriend Margaret and I hosted the first Chaos Cooking on December 8th, 2009, on my birthday. There were 18 of our closest friends in our small Brooklyn kitchen and it felt and smelled like I was home for the holidays. We kept experimenting with adding more people, themes, friends of friends, and new faces. It was always different and always an amazing experience.
The biggest Chaos Cooking had 80 people in our apartment. There were people prepping food everywhere: in the garden, on the fish tank, in the corner there was a woman making fresh mozzarella, someone brought his own camping stove, blenders reeled and the oven was always full. Everywhere we turned, someone was offering to put something delicious in our mouths.
Conversations and wine flowed for five hours straight and everyone was laughing and smiling. Near the end, we took a group photo and everyone helped clean up. Nothing was broken, our fridge was filled with leftovers, and our minds with fond memories. I couldn't imagine anything better.
Around June of 2010, NPR and The New York Times ran a piece on Chaos Cooking. Pictures and stories started rolling in of people using the Chaos Cooking concept to build their own communities. We wish we could have been at each of them. It was clear that we needed to create a simple way for anyone to be able to experience this gift and thus http://chaoscooking.com was born.
We are looking forward to seeing this concept blossom but most importantly, to cooking with you!
Our fundraising campaign has ended and we have reached our goal... now what?
First of all we estimate spending two months catching up on emails, sending out rewards, contacting our supporters, and planning the year long campaign.
We then start working with each city to plan their Chaos Cooking events. Nothing is worse than throwing a party where nobody shows up, so we will hire PR support to increase awareness of the events in each city so there's a great group of people right from the beginning. Meanwhile, we will work with supporters to help pick event dates, identify the best outlets in each local community, and start gathering people for these incredible experiences.
While this is going on, we will have a crack team of coders creating a mobile app to help people find Chaos Cooking events in their area. If you've ever been on our website, you get the idea; the app helps spread the word about local events and makes it easier to connect with other like-minded people in your area. Our website does this already, but now you will be able to do the same thing from your phone. This will be led by Dimitri, who has experience building mobile apps and responsive websites for some of the most well established sites on the Internet, including http://mashable.com and http://gucci.com.
So there it is. Not in one of the selected towns? Hit us up anyway! Even though we can only visit a few selected cities, we'll still help you learn how to be at the center of a special, growing community.
That is a common question, and the answer is ”You don't”. At one event there was a girl who had never cooked anything, but she decided to tackle a pumpkin cake. It started out to be a disaster, but people jumped in with pointers and help and in the end she had delicious pumpkin cupcakes. It was great to see her feeling so accomplished and proud, as she had never succeeded with cooking before. And it was also nice to see how the interaction happened naturally between her and the people who helped out. Some of the guests are really good chefs and some can barely make toast. But they are there to challenge themselves or just for the joy of cooking together .
Yes! In fact, we encourage everyone to host their own event. Just sign up at http://chaoscooking.com, pick a date, and start inviting people. If a community hasn’t already been established in your hometown, then just invite a few of your friends and see where it goes from there. We have a http://www.chaoscooking.com/guide that makes it very easy.
Send the press kit to your local papers, put it on Facebook, your CSA group, local mailing lists, cooking groups, and other social groups you are part of.
Every hosting situation is different but here are some suggestions from experienced hosts:
Provide enough plates, garbage bags, dish soap, cups and silverware. You can ask everyone to bring their own or you can provide them. Put on some music as guests are arriving. We have a downloadable sign in sheet. Print this and place it in a prominent location. Many hosts like to start cooking as people are arriving to make them feel comfortable. Let your guests know where things are and only share what you feel feel comfortable sharing. Trust that other Chaos Cookers know how to make their dish happen and how to improvise in any situation. Right before clean up time, gather everyone and take a group picture. Immediately after, make a short announcement thanking them and letting them know that it’s time for everyone to pitch in and return the space to its original condition. You can also ask them to make a small donation, bring food home, and let them know they can host too. It’s great when hosts are good at communicating what they need done. Remember, you are the center of the party.
Everyone brings the ingredients to make of dish of their choice. Everyone cooks together and then helps restore the space to its original condition.
What is Chaos Cooking? Chaos Cooking is a social community centered around cooking and conversations. We've created an easy way to meet new friends in your town while cooking together. Chaos Cooking takes people away from their computers and encourages real face to face interactions. It’s social networking that’s actually social.
We've made everything really simple. From hosting your own event, to finding a community in your area, to our trust system that makes it safe and comfortable to to meet new people - it’s all just a few clicks away!
How does it work? You can either create your own event or join in on one of your neighbors’ events. Each attendee brings the ingredients necessary to make a delicious dish for everyone to sample, a bottle of wine, and a big smile.
Everyone cooks together, while socializing and enjoying delicious food throughout the event. Events can be hosted pretty much anywhere. People have had Chaos Cooking events in tiny NYC apartments, suburban family houses, California mansions, rooftops, Dutch houseboats, and beautiful southern backyards. Hosting an event simply requires you to pick a date - the website handles the invites and scheduling for you.
We will kick off with a very special Chaos Cooking in a professional kitchen donated to us just for the Kickstarter supporters in New York City. It's our small way of saying "thanks" for being with us from the very beginning.
After the NYC kickoff, we will support and travel to six of the highest contributing cities, in order of each city's level of contribution. Instead of picking the biggest cities, we want to support and encourage those with the most interest and motivation.
In other words, if you are able to help with our fundraising, there is a good chance we will come to your city; and if you (or others in your city) make a more sizable contribution, we will come to your town ahead of the others.
Why two events in each city? We want a self-sustaining community of amazing people to develop and blossom into a group of friends. One event is enough to plant the seed and introduce people to the concept. That said, we’ve found that having having more than one event helps establish the idea that Chaos Cooking events are an ongoing thing, thereby creating a stronger community.
Our largest and most cohesive community is currently in NYC. There are others in Amsterdam, Winston-Salem North Carolina, Boston, Last Vegas, San Fran. Boston and many more. We are launching in Philadelphia and Los Angeles next month. We’ve learned a lot together and it’s time for us to take what we learned and help grow similar communities in other cities. It’s going to be a flurry of great food, interesting conversations, and new friends!
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