Digital Methods, Interpersonal Goals: cook ethos

It is a truth universally acknowledged that no one knows where the next digital disruption is coming from. At CoDE, we often find that sectors that seem ripe for disruption continue to resist it, and that a start up’s success can hinge not on logic, but on whether the world is emotionally ready to take that next step.

Innovation in a digital economy is therefore very much an art, not a science.

cook ethos is a new start up platform business that aims to connect people with food, and people with people, using a commission-based business model. They’d like to make a big difference in the world, but they plan to do it locally.

CEO Léa Asmar, COO Charlotte Morrison, and CFO Sinead Knight are a young and multinational trio of foodies who see an innovative way of using food ‘experiences’ as more than just eating and drinking, but rather a richly layered method of passing on and sharing culture, community, skills and techniques.

Charlotte explains, ‘Food and family have always been so important to us – our cultural backgrounds span France, Ireland, Lebanon and England. But with the fragmenting of so many communities, how are people passing down recipes and traditions and skills now? It’s getting harder and harder. So, we see cook ethos as a fun and fresh approach to both learning how to cook, and experiencing culture and community in a new way as you cook and eat together. It was also created with the intention of making cookery lessons more affordable and local.’

The company offers an online platform that puts customers in touch with local hosts of unique (because they’re personal to the host) food and drink experiences. The platform is user friendly and flexible, and delivers the service in a straightforward way. The plan is for the company to be very hands-on, engaging with hosts and customers to create a successful ‘cook ethos community’ (not just a one-off cooking lesson) and provide adequate support for those who utilise the platform.

For hosts who have neither the funds nor experience to market their skills, the platform provides exposure for them and connects them to a steady stream of customers.

cook ethos charges a 15% booking service fee on top of the price that the host sets for their experience, on each individual booking through our site (competitors charge 15-25%). Hosts register their experience on their website for free, and can remove it at any point.

Léa continues, ‘We try to think of the future, not just the now: specifically, so that these experiences go on to have a life of their own. We’d love to see our hosts and customers make long lasting friendships, and get a new appreciation of other cultures.’

Will the universal language of food take people away from their screens and back into the kitchen, at least for a little while? We like the way it adds value and a modern spin to the traditional notion of cooking lessons. What do you think? Please let us (and cook ethos) know!





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About the Author : Kris Henley

Communications and Outreach for Surrey Business School's Centre for the Digital Economy, a newly-founded research centre to explore the implications of the Digital Economy for business, government and society.