You know that one dish at your favorite restaurant you just can’t live without? What if you could make it from the comfort of your own home? Before you roll your eyes and think “there’s no way I can replicate Butchers and Babers’ porcini-crusted rib eye,” take a moment to check out the newest on-demand cooking service, SaltedEats. Founded by the Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Jeff Appelbaum, SaltedEats is the offspring of the subscription-based cooking school Salted, which gives everyday people the opportunity to learn to cook famous dishes directly from the chefs which created them.
While SaltedEats sounds like yet another clone of the popular on-demand cooking service Blue Apron, Appelbaum’s business won’t require consistent subscriptions from its users, while also making use of 100 percent locally sourced ingredients. Furthermore, the service won’t automatically make users decide between just cooking for two or four and instead allows for someone to cook just for themselves if they so desire. This push to allow people to cook for themselves also is at the heart of why Appelbaum started the service at all.
“We launched Salted, our top chef online cooking school, about 18 months ago with the mission to help home chefs learn how to cook from the best chefs in the country,” Appelbaum told Digital Trends. “The most popular feature request was ingredient delivery, which was the genesis of SaltedEats. We weren’t interested in building a ‘me too’ meal kit delivery product. Instead, we’ve created something that feels like a private cooking class in your own kitchen, in which celebrated chefs in your city [via video tutorials] are teaching you how to re-create their signature recipes.”
Appelbaum acknowledges the legwork services like Blue Apron or Plated have done to stoke the interest in ingredient deliveries, though he also credits a “passionate market of people” uninterested in adhering to binding subscriptions. For this group of people, SaltedEats’ ability to ship local food to them — as opposed to sending goods across the country — is incredibly appealing and has allowed the company to find success during its short stint on the market.
“The response has been incredible,” he continued. “The reality for many of us is that our schedules are highly unpredictable and that planning our meals — let alone three-plus meals — a week in advance is just not feasible. Given our local, market-by-market approach, our customers can procrastinate their dinner decision until midnight on the evening before our [Thursday] delivery day. Ingredients stay fresh for up to five days, so they can even cook during the weekend.”
As of now, SaltedEats operates solely within Los Angeles, delivering (as mentioned above) only on Thursdays. With the service continuing to gain popularity and momentum, Appelbaum intends to expand into all major food cities where its Salted video series has already visited such as Portland, Oregon; Chicago; New York; Boston; and New Orleans, among others.
“Our goal is to help home chefs around the country learn to cook from the best chefs in their city,” Appelbaum added. “And for the actual cooking process to be as easy, entertaining, and rewarding as possible.”
Though services like Blue Apron or Plated offer budding home chefs the ability to expand their cooking skills, it’s hard not to like Appelbaum’s approach to allowing users to cook some of their favorite meals from their most-loved restaurants.