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NY-based SuperCook has just launched their new recipe matching Web application. The idea with SuperCook is to help you take the items in your fridge and pantry and put them to use before they get moldy.
When I heard about SuperCook, the first thing that came to mind was that it’s a RecipeMatcher clone. Both services are solving the same problem but go about it differently. RecipeMatcher houses the recipes on their site and also allows users to submit recipes. SuperCook links out to other recipe sites after the desired recipe is selected.
SuperCook is very slick in function. There is a slick ingredient finder which auto-finishes as you type for easy selecting. As you enter more ingredients, the right panels update automatically to match the available recipes. The system also checks to see if you have complementary items to help find additional recipe choices. Once you find a recipe you like, it takes you to the site that houses the recipe with a frame back to SuperCook. All of the searches I tried took me to RecipeZaar.
The only real concern I have is whether this is a service that could generate revenue as they send their visitors away so quickly. There is an advertisement on the site but I am not sure it’s enough. I do see a quick acquisition by RecipeZaar though – the functionality would be a huge improvement for the Web 1.0 recipe site.
Sadly, there were no recipe matches for day-old pizza and leftover Ramen noodles.
I recently completed a video review of a recipe site called RecipeMatcher. RecipeMatcher is different than your traditional recipe site in that it helps you create delicious recipes based on what is in your pantry. To find out more, I chatted with founder Michael Sasaki.
Allen: Can you provide a brief bio about yourself?
Michael: I was born in Los Angeles and moved down to San Diego for college (attended UC San Diego). In college, I didn't really understand the potential of the internet. Eight years later and I've founded a website that is attempting to help all users of the internet that enjoy cooking (or that need to eat and hate cooking and grocery shopping).
Allen: Please provide an overview of RecipeMatcher.
Michael: RecipeMatcher is a website that allows you to search recipes in a unique way, by the % of ingredients you already have at home. You tell us what you have at home and we'll tell you what you can make.
Allen: What do you think distinguishes RecipeMatcher from the other recipe and food sites on the web?
Michael: RecipeMatcher is different from other recipe/food sites because it solves a problem in an "out of the box" way. After work, who wants to go to the grocery store and pick up 10-15 items in order to make dinner? Wouldn't it be easier to go to the grocery store for 1 or 2 items? I think that there is a number of ingredients that each person has in his/her head that is too much to get after work. For example, if I have to pick up more than 4 items at the grocery store (after work), I'm eating out. I'd much rather eat at home, but it's too much of a hassle to roam around the grocery store for 30 minutes looking for ingredients.
Allen: Do you monetize RecipeMatcher? If so, how?
Michael: Yes, we use AdSense.
Allen: Are you funded/unfunded/looking for funding?
Michael: I funded this website 100% on my own. Although, I'm always open to funding.
Allen: Have you considered any parternships with supermarkets, grocery stores, etc.?
Michael: I have, but I think it's a little premature right now. I really want to focus on providing a service for my users. Once this is accomplished, I'll look into partnering opportunities.
Allen: Who is using the service currently?
Michael: Mostly working mothers use RecipeMatcher. With such a busy lifestyle, working mothers can really cut down on the time it takes to make dinner by using RecipeMatcher.
Allen: Do you have any plans to create widgets – perhaps people can put their last eaten recipes on their MySpace pages?
Michael: Similar to partnering, first, I would like to build up RecipeMatcher into a site that provides the best recipe searching service for my users. After this is done, I will look into other opportunities. Soon, we will be adding a function that allows users to search for recipes by typing in a list of ingredients into a text field and with 1 click of a button, they'll have a long list of recipes they can easily make with stuff at home.
Allen: Any plans to add community features / social networking elements?
Michael: Yes, eventually, I would like RecipeMatcher to have that "Community" feel to it.
Allen: Are you looking at working with any major chefs?
Michael: Since RecipeMatcher is a service for "home cooks", I don't think celebrity chefs would be a good fit. This may change in the future, but for now, we are focusing on providing a solid service for those home cooks that are like you and me. I'm not much into the glitz and glamour of having a partnership with a celebrity chef.
Allen: Any plans to expand internationally in terms of language and food variety?
Michael: We plan on expanding into different types of food. I love Indian food, so Indian RecipeMatcher is in the works.
Allen: What's been your biggest lesson learned since you started work on RecipeMatcher?
Michael: Anything can be accomplished if you want it bad enough. I have a passion for this website and I really wanted to have this as an option to those busy hungry families. Also, I have no programming experience, so it was a bit of an uphill battle to get this site up and running. My sql, php and SEO were all foreign words to me prior to starting this endeavor.
Allen: Where do you see food going online in the next year?
Michael: I see food/recipe sites establishing an instantaneous connection with kitchens worldwide. What I mean by this is I see people bringing home their groceries and scanning them in with a handheld scanner. As they throw things away, they scan them again. Each scan is recorded on RecipeMatcher and the time consuming process that is involved with cooking dinner is cut in half. They can just go to their computer and select a cuisine, like Seafood, and 100 seafood recipes are available for perusing (most recipes they have 90% of the ingredients in their home already).
Allen: Lastly, where is RecipeMatcher going this year?
Michael: We are focusing on slow growth. Slow growth is the key and we have received a lot of feedback from our users. We have a ton of ideas that have been provided to us by our users and we are in the process of implementing these ideas.
I have always enjoyed using recipe sites. Over the years they have helped me win over several dates. And over time these sites have changed from the simple, to the personalized. RecipeMatcher is a new site which helps you use the items you already have to create great delicious recipes.
The site is very simple to use. You can upload recipes, you can create your ePantry and then search for recipes and see which match up with the items in your ePantry. They offer shopping lists based on your selected recipes which certainly helps to not forget the garlic or sliced almonds. Have a look at my video review below and then check out RecipeMatcher for yourself. Cook your sweetie a delicious recipe tonight!