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Kouzina links up hungry people with amateur cooks selling homemade food.

Elisabeth Sherman
September 08, 2017

A 22-year-old college student from Canada has created yet another app, called Kouzina, which connects diners with homemade meals. It's the latest of many services launched in the past few years that let home cooks find ways to bolster their small businesses.

Nick Amaral, a Queen's University student and the creator of the Kouzina, says he got the idea for the app after growing tired of eating frozen pizza night after night, according to CBC News.

Kouzina has created a network of amateur chefs in the Toronto area who want to sell their meals but don't run restaurants. All the home cooks have to do is prepare the meals in their kitchen, take photos, and post them to the app along with pricing info. Diners can then request what they want to eat, but in most cases, they have to pick it up from the cook’s home. Customers can rate the chefs, and in turn, cooks can rate the customers. The app is like a cheaper version of Seamless-meets-Uber, but without the guarantee of quality and service that you might find at an established restaurant. For that reason, Toronto Public Health cautions people against eating meals made in places that haven’t had an official health inspection.

Amaral, however, is confident that the app will quickly weed out any cooks with low standards using its reviews system.

“I think it's been proven in the market in recent years, especially in other peer-to-peer services, that the community essentially governs itself through reviews and feedback," he told CBC News. "After one or two bad reviews or instances of public feedback, people will be less encouraged to order from that person."

This is certainly not the first app that tries to connect people with home cooked meals. As Food & Wine reported, Foodie Shares, a Los Angeles-based company that launched in 2015, calls itself “a private community marketplace for gourmet homemade food.” The app lets you pick up or have a meal delivered to your door created by a chef that the company promises has some “culinary training.” Another, called Gigamunch delivers a new type of international cuisine to your door every week, prepared by self-taught and amateur chefs. And Josephine, based in Oakland, is the same basic concept as Kouzina, but it launched in 2016: The app and online service connect people with local chefs, which empowers them to start their own small businesses and fosters connections within communities.

These home cooks haven't yet become serious competition for real restaurants, but clearly, more and more avenues are being created to support their efforts to expand their businesses, giving consumers options about who makes their food, and amateur chefs the tools to realize their dreams.