The one thing that keeps me from getting too excited about the legalization of home cooks selling their meals is sanitation. How clean is that home kitchen and how many kids’ grubby hands are grabbing things in there? As you can imagine, the COVID-19 pandemic has only intensified those feelings, as I want to know as much as I can about my food and who has touched it.
So I was intrigued/happy to see that Indian home cook startup FoodCloud launched a new Kitchen Cam feature. The company’s Co-Founder and COO, Sanjhi Rajgarhia posted a video to Linkedin, writing, “When you place an order, foodcloud.in will send you a video of your order being prepared. Our home chefs are making food with love, just like it is at home.”
To its credit, FoodCloud already had a pretty rigorous on-boarding process in order for home cooks to get on its platform. As we wrote a year ago:
First, each home chef must be registered with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), which is the country’s equivalent of the USDA, for kitchen inspection and hygiene regulation. After that, a home cook’s food is taste-tested by not just FoodCloud employees, but also local food bloggers and critics.
Adding a video check-in like the Kitchen Cam is a smart addition to those requirements. It’s awesome to be able to see the kitchen where the food is being prepped as well as precautions the cooks themselves are taking (hairnets and gloves!).
However, it’s hard to tell exactly how strict the Kitchen Cam will be. The video embedded is obviously edited and doesn’t seem like it was livestreamed, so there are gaps in there when who knows what could happen. The crew in the video seems pretty professional with nice equipment and embroidered shirts and also evidently have an extra pair of hands to video what’s going on. What do smaller home cook operations need to provide for Kitchen Cam? Also when is the video made available to the customer? Is there a livestream option? We reached out to FoodCloud to find out more. UPDATE: FoodCloud sent us the following via email: “Currently, [Kitchen Cam] is not mandatory but a feature that the home chef opts for. It is not livestreamed however, the customer can see the dishes that they’ve ordered being prepared. The videos are sent to them privately.”
Personally, I would love to see something like this from home cooking marketplaces here in the US. It’s still a nascent industry, so if we can make it a standard practice now, it could go a long way towards more people buying meals from home cooks.