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Posted by on Jan 5, 2009 in At TMV | 0 comments

Recipes Online: Crowdsourced or From Top Chefs

Continuing in my food vein, I wish I’d done this before the holidays. Even though they’ve passed, we’ll still be cooking…

Foodista aims to be the Wikipedia for food:

Each recipe can be collaboratively edited and improved. Scrumptious photos for each dish are pulled in from Flickr, and descriptions are pulled in from Wikipedia itself. You can add or remove ingredients, see the edit history, or add a comment to each page.

The site is well-designed and was put together by [Barnaby] Dorfman and two other co-founders on their own dime. It will have to overcome some pretty stuff competition from both established sites like AllRecipes and the Food Network, as well as new cooking sites like Cookstr (read our review [excerpt below]) and Open Source Food.

But Dorfman thinks he can do better than all of those sites by collecting better data and organizing it in a smarter way. Foodista borrows not only from Wikipedia, but also from the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), part of which Dorfman used to run when he was at Amazon a few years ago. Every recipe, ingredient, cooking technique, and kitchen utensil links to every other mention of the same thing throughout the site.

They promise more of cool features are coming. As it is the way they built the site is way cool: completely using Amazon Web Services (EC2, S3, and SimpleDB). The question is with endless variations can a wiki recipe site really work? For the doubters among you…

Cookstr, they plan to sell cookbooks by giving away recipes online:

Although the Internet is already flooded with recipes, Will Schwalbe, who stepped down as editor in chief of Hyperion Books in January, is starting Cookstr to showcase the recipes of star chefs like Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Mario Batali, as well as those of less-well-known but highly regarded cookbook writers. The idea, ultimately, is to sell copies of these authors’ books.

On the site,, which [went live in October], each recipe will appear on a page with a prominently placed picture of the source cookbook’s cover, as well as a link to one of four online retailers selling the book.

Most people who want to cook at home eventually look up a recipe online. According to comScore, an Internet marketing research company, food sites attracted 45.6 million unique visitors in September, up 10 percent from a year ago, more than double the rate of total Internet growth in the United States.

The promised TechCrunch review excerpt:

[The site] features a nice interface and a powerful engine for searching recipes and information about the chefs, with menus and ‘tips & techniques’ coming soon. There are a lot of ways to search for great recipes: by main ingredients, cuisine, occasion, method, etc., and once you start looking there’s an intuitive filter in the left sidebar that helps you narrow down your search to find the right recipe. […]

Other than that, the site is intentionally clean; there’s currently only a print button for recipes and a way for people to send recipes to friends by e-mail. Soon you will be able to create your own MyCookstr, where you’ll be able to save recipes, notes, and shopping lists. More community features are also on the works.

Have any of you tried these sites? Do you have a favorite recipe site? Let’s hear it!

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