Have you ever watched Alton Brown or Ina Garten on Food Network and thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if these chefs were in my kitchen, walking me through the cooking process themselves, preferably over a glass of Chardonnay?”
You’re in luck, minus the Chardonnay. At today’s Amazon event in Seattle, Discovery, Inc., which owns Food Network, announced the impending launch of the Food Network Kitchen. The multi-faceted platform will offer 25 weekly live interactive cooking videos featuring celebrity Food Network chefs, as well as over 800 cooking classes and 3,000 instructional videos. It’s a separate, additional service from Food Network itself, which requires a cable subscription to watch.
Food Network Kitchen will launch in late October 2019 in select (unnamed) U.S. cities. The service will cost $7 per month. Subscribers will be able to access the content through voice control with Amazon Alexa and Echo devices, Amazon Fire TV, and iOS and Android mobile devices, with more device integrations to come in 2020. The platform also offers grocery delivery through Amazon Fresh.
In a press release sent to the Spoon, David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discover, Inc. called the Food Network Kitchen “not just another entertainment service” but something closer to “the ‘Peloton of Food.'” Like the fitness company’s streaming service, Food Network Kitchen will give users access not only to pre-recorded videos but also live instructional classes.
A lot of folks, myself included, watch Food Network not for actual cooking instruction but purely for entertainment. So I’m not sure how many people will want to cook along to Guy Fieri making chicken wings at 6 p.m. in their kitchen. However, the live aspect certainly has potential, especially if the Food Network includes a way for users to ask questions and have them answered via the chef in real time.
I’m also skeptical about whether kitchen purists who love watching chefs cook meals from scratch would also embrace next-gen technologies in the kitchen, like using Alexa to access recipes or ordering groceries online. Then again, kitchens are getting more and more connected as things like voice integration and grocery delivery grow more commonplace. As these connected tools become more frictionless, it’s likely that more traditionalist home chefs will embrace them, too.
Really though, this new platform demonstrates that Food Network is trying to evolve from just a television network and recipe hub to a more interactive, connected platform that meets consumers not on their couch but in their kitchen. Food Network Kitchen is the food and cooking brand’s first big push to go beyond the static screen and interact with consumers in this dynamic way — and I doubt it’ll be their last.