Chefs Feed 2.0
Catching up with Danville natives Steve and Jared Rivera on their popular food app, Chefs Feed.
The last time we checked in with Steve and Jared Rivera, they had just launched Chefs Feed, their smart phone application that compiles favorite dish recommendations from top chefs across the country. That was more than a year ago, and let's just say the Danville-raised brothers have not been sitting on the couch playing Angry Birds since then: The Riveras recently launched Chefs Feed version 2.0, offering a significant leap forward in terms of usability, scope, and interactivity.
And there’s plenty more in the pipeline, including hosting food events around the country, a possible television show, and rolling out Chefs Feed in 30 more markets nationally and internationally by the end of the year.
“We’re drinking water out of a fire hose,” was how Steven described their non-stop activity since selling their San Francisco public relations firm and concentrating full-time on Chefs Feed (not to mention his wife giving birth to twins last year). “But it’s a lot of fun, and we’re thrilled to be getting great feedback.”
That includes rave reviews from such outlets as Food & Wine, the New York Times, and Daily Candy, a best app of 2012 award from Apple’s App Store, and even a shout-out from comedian Aziz Ansari in Vanity Fair. The steadily building buzz stems from a basic tenet the Riveras came to during their time working with restaurants at their old PR company: Chefs were tired of being at the mercy of anonymous review sites like Yelp, while diners were just as sick of wading through the hundreds of reviews from people they didn't know for their restaurant recommendations.
“These sites actually created a really good opportunity for us from a consumer perspective—I think people were looking for more credible sources for restaurant tips, and why not trust professionally trained palates,” says Steve. “And for chefs, I think it gives them the power back, because it lets them be a resource for what’s good.”
A key new feature for the 2.0 version of Chefs Feed has been the expansion of the app’s social networking capability, according to the Riveras. Users have the ability to communicate with each other and compare notes on recommended dishes, while active chefs gain followers to whom they can not only communicate their favorite dishes at other eateries, but also let alert to specials and events at their own restaurants. “It's about building a sense of community,” says Steve.
The layout has also been dramatically improved from basic click-and-wait, to a smooth, scroll-able interface worthy of the newest iPhone iteration. All on one screen you can now see that Flour & Water chef Thomas McNaughton’s favorite dish is the chopped duck liver on toast at Bar Agricole, while Attic restaurant chef Tim Luym loves the clam chowder at Swan Oyster Depot. A quick flick of the finger reveals that McNaughton also digs Nopa’s country pork chop, while Jardiniére’s famed Traci Des Jardins recommends El Haruache Loco’s Alambre taco. All with beautiful color photos that will leave you scrambling for the first SF-bound BART train.
And it’s not just San Francisco: Chefs Feed currently covers 15 major U.S. markets, plus London, and the Riveras say they plan to expand that by 30. That includes San Diego, Denver/Boulder, Las Vegas, and Hawaii within the next week, Canadian cities Montreal and Toronto by the end of the year, and there are plans in the works to tackle Europe and Asia before too long. They’ve also filmed a pilot for a television show, which they’re shopping to several networks (there are ongoing talks with a well-known celebrity to host it).
So what’s in store for the future? Well, certainly no Angry Birds, as Steve says he'll hold down the fort in San Francisco, while Jared is about to hit the road to market the app’s latest bells and whistles to the country’s top chefs. At the time of Diablo’s last story, Jared had just returned from testing out dishes for the first version of Chefs Feed. A lot has changed since then.
“On the last road trip, we were working on the idea in its rawest, 1.0 form,” says Steve. "So now we're excited to get out there with this really nice 2.0 version that has all these new features and possibilities. It's really exciting."
For more information, go to chefsfeed.com