Cooking with Millennials
BREAKING: Millennials like digital technology, even in the kitchen! Snark aside, a recent research piece from Google outlines many of the ways that this young-getting-older generation uses technology in the kitchen. According to the report, “They’re turning to mobile at every phase of the cooking journey—deciding what to make, learning how to prepare it, and actually cooking or baking.”
Not surprising thing: digital natives use digital technology for everyday activities. Maybe surprising thing? They like to cook. In the kitchen. (I keep saying “they” because the report says “they,” but I’m on the upper end of this generation, technically.)
The piece is thoughtful, and details the full lifespan of the millennial-cooking experience. From searching for recipes (broad is better here. Think “good Italian pasta recipes,” or “the best chocolate chip cookies”), to actually making the food (YouTube tutorials rule here), to thoughts on brand loyalty. (The report is tailored to brands, not consumers.)
So, yeah, not groundbreaking info here. But definitely some validation, backed by fact, for trends and ideas we’ve been seeing in the digital+cooking space.
The Importance of Online Menus
Here’s an interesting statistic from an OpenTable blog post (announcing a partnership, but that’s neither here nor there): a survey conducted by the company found 86 percent of diners look at a menu online before dining.
The post doesn’t share information about whether these people had previously booked the restaurant and are perhaps looking for a suggestion of what to order, or if looking at a menu directly influences a person’s decision to book that particular restaurant. Regardless, the statistic is telling and the message is clear: current online menus are important. Menus on restaurant websites have historically been a fickle animal. A lot of restaurants post them… in Flash. Or, they’re PDFs that you have to download. Or worse, Word documents. And as restaurants update menus seasonally (or weekly, or daily, even), keeping the most detailed information on the site has become a bigger job.
I’ve sort of championed the idea of not looking at a menu before arriving at a particular restaurant. I like to be surprised, and sitting at the table reading through a menu is one of the things I enjoy most about the restaurant experience. That said, in an age of information at one’s fingertips, online menus are a resource for many, and definitely something every restaurant should make available.
ChefsFeed’s Got a Brand New Look
Perhaps the Chefs+Techiest app on the internet, ChefsFeed has a brand new look. I’ve sung its praises before, and I continue to just love, love this site. The content is solid (and hilarious. Please watch the latest WTF Are You Doing? video. It’s amazing.)
Both the site and mobile app continue to be a great resource for chef-approved dining in a ton of cities across the country (and beyond), and the new design is fun and funky without trying too hard (or getting in your face.) This is easily my favorite redesign of the year. Awesome job. Please keep the content coming!
Know Your Meme, Culinary Voyeurism Edition
This feels a little bit too America’s Funniest Home Videos for my taste, but the latest food-related video trend, as profiled in the New York Times this week is “culinary voyeurism.” That is, filming unsuspecting people eating things. Strange things, unusual things, unfamiliar things. “The viewing experience is incongruous, like watching a dorm prank pulled off by Anthony Bourdain,” according to the piece.
Makes sense we’ve landed here, honestly. We, the viewers, have become desensitized to people eating in close-up on our TV screen, might as well add a layer of hilarity. (The piece does a good job of detailing the short history of the meme, too. Worth a quick read.)