EatWith: Home-Cooked Meals Away From Home
Traveling, hungry, and seeking an authentic meal? EatWith is just what the foodie ordered. Far from the world of chain restaurants or tourist-trap eateries, EatWith uses its website to connect users from Peru to Portugal, Slovenia to Spain, and even right here in the U.S., with hosts for home-cooked meals in over 38 countries around the world—and counting. Each meal with an EatWith chef is an invitation into their home, where guests will get to know the family hosting, their culture, food, and local customs, and come away with a true understanding of the city they are visiting.
As a lifelong food enthusiast and renowned chef (he appeared on the reality cooking show, MasterChef Australia), EathWith’s Head of Global Community, Joel Serra, was tapped to handle all the community outreach when he joined the company about a year and a half ago. He now calls Barcelona home as he liaises with host chefs and EatWith representatives around the world to make sure that both hosts and guests enjoy themselves.
We spoke with Joel to get the dish on what this new meal-sharing concept is all about.
Zipcar: What’s the scoop on EatWith?
Joel: EatWith is the ultimate foodie experience. If you’re traveling abroad and want to sample some of the local flavor or you’re interested in trying out some unique type of food in your own home city, we have over 400 EatWith hosts to prepare a delicious meal cooked in their home from scratch using primarily local ingredients. All hosts have been visited by an EatWith representative who can guarantee a great experience.
How does EatWith compare to visiting a restaurant from a guidebook?
Anyone can leave a country with souvenirs and photos, but how often do you get to come away with lasting connections and stories of an amazing, truly authentic meal? And for EatWith, the food is only part of it. The best thing about EatWith is that we attract geographically and demographically diverse groups of people to get together around the very intimate setting of a dining table inside someone’s home. Usually the diners start off nervous and reserved, but after some good wine and food, lasting relationships and priceless memories have been formed. Some diners have even told us that they have stayed in touch long after the meal ended, even meeting up again at another locale around the world.
What kind of special experiences can diners expect with EatWith?
An EatWith experience is memorable and most people want seconds. For example, in one of EatWith’s newest countries, Japan, guests can visit Shino, a professional translator who will meet you early in the morning at the Tsukji Fish Market for a tour of the world’s largest fish market. Then she’ll take you back to her house where you’ll be taught how to make your own sushi using fresh fish purchased that day.
What’s EatWith serving up next?
The company is over a year old now and we’ve figured out the best way to go into a new market, find hosts, and start offering delicious regional meals to visitors. We are ready to grow even more.