Feastly: A Food Startup with DC Ties

Sometimes I feel like all I do is eat. And don’t get me wrong, that’s not a complaint, or a self-loathing comment…I love to eat and I’m happy to do it. But, every now and then I wonder if there is anything to do to entertain two adults with different interests (i.e. forget museums or movies) besides eating? I mean, if my husband and I have already eaten lunch but want to get out of the house we tend to look at each other blankly, start pacing, and wait to get hungry so we can…(drumroll, please)…go out to eat.

I mean, have you ever had to list your hobbies? I’ve never done online dating, but I’ve done Meetup, which is more or less online dating for “just friends.” When they ask what I like to do, I always want to list food items. I like to eat pizza. Side note: It’s probably good that I met my husband offline.

Moral of the story: We all like to eat; there is really no getting around it. But dinner gets so boring sometimes. What if having a special meal could be experienced differently? What if restaurants weren’t the only place where good food could be found and enjoyed? Enter Feastly, the startup that was born right here in DC.

Feastly, as described by Feastly, is “a central marketplace where passionate chefs connect with adventurous eaters seeking more authentic dining options by offering unique meals served in a chef’s home.” Say what? Okay, let’s break this down a little further. First of all, the company was started on a whim of an idea – more specifically, it came to be during DC’s Start Up Weekend in November 2011.

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The company has created a foodie community that brings up-and-coming chefs to the table and gives locals opportunities for unique dining experiences, ranging in food choice, price, location, and more. Below are some examples of meals up for grabs in the DC area:

Indian Vegetarian/ Spices of the Season in Columbia Heights ($40): Inspired by Rinku Battacharya’s modern classics, a fresh and local take on some north Indian favorites. Suitable for an apartment and about 10-15 Feasters.

German Beers & Their American Cousins in the Navy Yard ($55): Compare and contrast German beers with their American versions in this led beer tasting with food pairing. Take notes, ask questions, learn about beer brewing and history of different styles. This is suitable for an apartment and about 4-10 Feasters.

Fall Feast Favorites – Cooking Class in Capitol Hill ($50): Learn holiday dishes made with farm fresh ingredients to get away from packaged processed foods. We will learn some classics and new twists using unique ingredients. From cranberry to apple-sausage stuffing we will create a table of bounty to make your mouth water. If there is something you have always wanted to learn without a box, you can send it in a note and we will see about incorporating it into the day. Best in a house and for about 2-4 Feasters.

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Some Feastly events have fixed dates (and a fixed number of spots), while some are pre-thought-up events that are available by request only. Ranging from budding chefs looking to create a name for themselves before they try a brick and mortar location to home chefs fulfilling a passion, it’s a unique way to meet people, be a part of a community, and of course…eat.

Although Feastly was dreamt up in DC, it has since made its way into multiple cities, including San Francisco, New York City, New York, and Chicago. Chefs that are hosting or offering meals have profiles and there is a rating system so you can rest assured that someone isn’t promising you a five-course meal with Bagel Bite cooking skills. Relax, though…all chefs who host an event have to be Feastly approved. Some dinners are BYOB, some (like the beer pairing mentioned above) include adult beverages.

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In 2014, Feastly’s co-founder, Noah Karesh, commented that some of the chefs that host Feastly meals make up to $60,000 a year on Feastly dinners alone. Speaking to Karesh’s inspiration behind the concept, the Feastly website comments:

“Inspired by his travels and unique food experiences abroad, Noah Karesh wanted to unlock the diverse food and cultural potential of cities everywhere. Flooded with too many impersonal and sterile restaurants, he sought to reintroduce the original social dining option: the home cooked meal.”

So there you have it, folks – an alternative to yet another dinner out at your go-to restaurant. If adding some “home cooking” and random foodies to your date night doesn’t spice things up enough, you might be in trouble. Bon appétit!

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