Sidechef App Aims to Improve Cooking Education


Sidechef, the Kickstarter-funded mobile app that offers users audio and visual cues to learn how to cook, has raised $1 million from investors in Asia.

China-based Empower Investment led the investment round, which has brought the total funding for the company to $1.2 million.

The iOS app, launched three months ago, saw over 70,000 downloads in its first month.  The Android version was just recently released.

Sidechef is available on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.  The app promises to teach users how to cook by demonstrating each step of a recipe through technique videos which display methods such as chopping and braising.  The app also features automatic timers, ingredient lists, and voice controls, allowing chefs to use the app even with dirty hands.  Users can share their recipes and connect with friends.  Users can even search for recipes based on the ingredients they already have, reports Paul Sawers for The Next Web.

“We believe SideChef could be the best [place] for people to gather around, not only as a tool for people to cook but a community to make people’s cooking more fun and interactive,” Peacock Capital’s John Au said.

Founder and Chief Executive Kevin Yu said he hoped to solve his own cooking problems by creating an app that combined the inspiration found on televised cooking shows with the interactive nature of mobile devices, after having a Valentine’s Day cooking session go terribly wrong.  “It was not edible by any means,” he said, laughing.

Yu had previously managed global community development for the “World of Warcraft” at Blizzard Entertainment in addition to starting his own gaming company.

One technical feature on the app is referred to as “a metalayer” that can actually detect the actions of the user, such as chopping, and instinctually play a technique video, writes Deborah Gage for The Wall Street Journal.

Partnering with food bloggers, Sidechef has worked tirelessly day and night to create a database of recipes, and is still looking into new ways to make money.  The app is currently considering an idea that would offer users the ability to order groceries and have them delivered to their homes through a partnership with grocery delivery services in an effort to promote cooking at home.

As the idea of smart homes continue to become more popular, the app could one day preheat ovens for users and let them know when they are running out of eggs, writes Melissah Yang for The Los Angeles Business Journal.

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