I wanted to categorize this article under “Tech” but realized it’s more about the cooking and dining experience that it is about the website. Well, maybe half-and-half. Anyway, it’s a “Lifestyle” article more than anything else. (Sorry, I don’t do “Foodie” here.)
So, here’s something very interesting.@plateculture started following me on Instagram and clicked on its profile to find out what it’s all about. The profile’s website led me to www.plateculture.com.
Glaring on my screen were the words “Social dining at local foodies’ houses.”
There are two things you can do through PlateCulture:
You can pay and dine at the house of a foodie-chef, savoring home-cooked meals in a variety of world and cultural cuisine; or
You can play host and chef by showcasing your culinary skills to a group of people.
This is taking the “social” out of social media and bringing it out in the world – live and face-to-face. How awesome is that? Yeah, it’s time you got your butt out of that sagging sofa and start meeting people in real life. LOL!
But I know what you’re thinking. “How safe is that?”
PlateCulture has an entire web page dedicated to safety. According to them, they have a dedicated team of customer service (employees) that checks (the profile of) guests while managing their booking for (an) event. Not in the best English grammar and composition, Plate Culture writes, “We typically screen our guests for their hobbies, interests, past experiences to better match them to our hosts. Our host profiles allow guests discover their homes, event offering and overall look and feel of their lifestyle. These detailed profiles have been verified by PlateCulture and given great attention to all details.”
Hosts are given the leeway to accept or decline attending guests. If a PlateCulture representative (how a rep is selected is still beyond me) has been to a host’s home and has experience the food and cooking, and likes it, a seal labeled “Vouched by PlateCulture” will be displayed beside a host’s name or upcoming event.
Besides your usual customer service support – in-platform messaging, e-mail and phone – payment to PlateCulture and from PlateCulture to the host is all done using PayPal.
To become a PlateCulture Chef, you have to register. A series of questions pertaining to cooking is asked of you, e.g. how did you learn to cook, do you want to meet tourists, locals or everyone, and how often do you cook, are just some of the things it requires you to answer. There’s actually a 3-step illustration on how to be a Chef that goes:
Become a Chef – this might mean register online;
Take free photo shoot and get vouched – I’m thinking a PlateCulture employee has to present during your entire dining experience before you either get the “Vouched by PlateCulture” seal or better yet, it’s part of the approval process of becoming a PlateCulture Chef;
Looking at their in-site blog that runs WordPress, I chanced upon two hosts, one or two diners, some recipes, and a lot of articles about food, from the two pages I’ve seen. I stopped browsing after the second page – maybe there are more feature stories of host.
“Contact Us” gives you an idea of the PlateCulture team – they are all from Lithuania with funding coming Practica Capital, also from Lithuania. I’m surprised I already have 12 Facebook friends who have clicked “Like” on their Page.
On their home page, CNN, WSJ, Forbes, Tech in Asia, AirAsia and Travel+Leisure are the logos under the title “Featured on.” I’ll research more on this later.
This is site is Filipino- and Asian-friendly. Currency options lists the Philippine Peso as well as Singapore Dollar, Thai Bhat, Hong Kong Dollar and Malaysian Ringgit, besides the U.S. Dollar and Euro.
Lastly, reading their “Terms and Conditions,” it is here that I found out how the payment system works. It is the Host that defines or determines how much will be charged per person for reserving a seat to a dining event. This is called a “Reservation.” I guess besides the reservation fee, also the date, time and actual price of the feast are specified on PlateCulture by the Host. An interested diner pays that reservation fee online. Only after the dining event will PlateCulture transfer the reservation fees to the Host after deducting 20 percent. Diners are expected to pay the Host (probably in cash) during the event. I’m not sure if diners can pay for the entire dining experience via credit card (through PayPal). Maybe not.
Anyway, if anyone has tried or is going to try this out – as a diner and as a Chef – please holler or give me a “Shout Out!” I’m planning to play role as a diner (you don’t want to taste my cooking – hahaha!) in a week or two after I get two backlogged work out of my hair. In the meantime, I’d be so very happy to hear your stories about your experience with PlateCulture.