News and ideas at the intersection of chefs and restaurants + digital and social technology
Ferran Adria: HackingBullipedia
Talented, smart, dare-I-say-legendary chef Ferran Adria — formerly of Spain’s elBulli — has launched an international contest to build out “Bullipedia,” a huge, all-encompassing culinary wiki. According to the powers behind it, “Bullipedia aims to become an online gastronomic database of every piece of culinary knowledge ever gathered, both by Ferran’s team and by the wider culinary community.” He’s inviting “creative and talented people” to submit design proposals, tools, technologies and applications that will improve Bullipedia.
The calls to action are specific, addressing certain problems, issues and challenges (full detailed list available at hackingbullipedia.org.) Proposals are due October 30, and a winner will be chosen November 27. The winning team gets to spend three months in Barcelona “turning their concept into reality.”
So. Several things: 1. How awesome is this? Bullipedia is, in itself, pretty spectacular as both a historic tool and technological experiment. 2. Now that the former elBulli restaurant is poised to open as a center for culinary creativity next year, I expect more of these exciting tech-centric ideas to gain speed. And, 3. The joy and excitement of perhaps the best chef in the world embracing a new wave of technology and innovation and applying it to food and restaurants makes for the most exciting news I’ve read all day. This is so rad. (Who wants to go in on a project?)
Foursquare Searches Include All Menu Items
In Foursquare’s latest small-but-important update, users can now search the full text of half a million restaurant menus (that’s 43 million menu items) — perfect for very specific food cravings or those times when you remember eating a fabulous plate of pasta with rabbit ragu that you just can’t seem to remember. (The best rabbit pasta is at Frenchie Wine Bar in Paris, if you’re curious.) Type in the name of the dish and Foursquare will show you a list of restaurants nearby with the item on its menu. Simple, smart, handy, satisfying.
Foodstart: Made Especially for Food
On the heels of Kickstarter’s massive success comes Foodstart, a food and beverage-specific crowdfunding platform. It works a lot like Kickstarter, encouraging small-level investments in any sort of food-related venture (a food truck, a microbrewery, even changes to existing restaurants.) In return, “investors” receive a gift-card reward good for food or other “VIP” experiences.
On the surface, this feels good because it focuses food-lovers’ energy and actual cash toward operations that need it. It also helps define success in the food/beverage/restaurant startup space — these ventures are often wildly different beasts than more “traditional” technology startups or even the launch of physical products. On top of these things, it’s smart. Thanks to growing awareness about food plus growing popularity around restaurants, baby “investors” can back their favorite food-related ventures without the thousands of dollars’ commitment required in more traditional investment settings. Will be interested to watch this one.
Rad illustration by April V. Walters
Bon Appetit’s Kitchen Mode Rocks
Smart food magazine Bon Appetit recently redesigned its website to include Tweets and Instagram posts from editors and other foodies of note on the homepage — a great move on its own. But perhaps even more exciting: Kitchen Mode, a way of displaying and navigating through recipes in easiest-to-read format. (Example here.)
Recipes are displayed in large, readable font on your laptop, tablet, or phone. Ingredients conveniently pop up from a menu along the bottom of the page for easy reference. You can read it, it’s simple, and it takes you through step-by-step: this is easily the best digital recipe display I’ve seen. Well done.
Is This the Future of Food Programming?
Goodbye curated food television shows, hello… short, social food programming? According to the recently-launched Tastemade, short bursts of video programming are the culinary shows of the future. Tastemade has revamped its dedicated mobile application to allow users to generate one-minute videos, walking them through the best way to shoot the beginning, middle, and end of any given food story — focusing on “raves not reviews.” (Be nice! No criticism!)
As a platform for established chefs or even notable home cooks, these one-minute videos could represent another interesting way for talent to get noticed online. But I’m afraid that for the rest of us, this just means more “meh” digital content to sift through. The next Food Network? Not quite.
- Timely: @linecook’s iPhone ramen sign — @linecook on Instagram
- Paula Deen quotes as Pinnable imagery — The Savory
- The science behind food pairings; an infographic — Food+Tech Connect
- The next installment of “Grilled Cheese, Please,” a Medium series exploring food families at home —Medium
- A Texas restaurant closed, and someone appears to have trolled Reddit with this belligerant closing note — Austinist