A growing movement within D.C. cuisine is frequenting a restaurant long enough and indulging in enough of its dishes to create a personal connection to the culinary work of the dining establishment’s chef. When you talk about food in this city, people often find themselves talking more so about the restaurant’s chef and their repertoire of dishes rather than the actual establishment itself. The problem is that to create this connection with a particular chef, you often have to dig through mountains online reviews and probably pay for hundreds of dollars worth of meals before you hone in on a particular chef you enjoy. Fortunately, this is a problem that Jill Richmond, founder and CEO of Cheftabl, plans on solving.
The concept behind Cheftabl is simple: provide the intimacy and connection between customers and the chefs that serve them without having to experience the ‘research pains’ of finding that right dynamic between the chef’s cooking style and your own personal pallet. This means unique ingredients, experimental dishes, and entire meals tailored to your specific tastes and dietary preferences, all the while avoiding the process of having to go through the restaurant (numerous times over) to establish that connection with the chef. Cheftabl is a one-stop dining platform that introduces users to skilled chefs (both at the height of their careers and at the beginning of them) at various dining establishments, and facilitates the process of ‘culinary connectivity’ by booking tables and meals with specific pairings that the chef and customer chooses. The idea is that restaurants fill seats, the chef gets to truly exercise their culinary creativity with bold, experimental dishes, and the customer ultimately builds new relationships with different, highly skilled chefs around the city.
The timing for Cheftabl is also perfect considering the massive influx of young professionals that are pouring into D.C. that have the income to afford a nicer meal, but aren’t necessarily versed or experienced in searching for that right chef. With an untapped market of the dining ‘uninitiated’ in the District, Jill hopes to grow Cheftabl into an online mainstay of the city’s dining crowd.
Cheftabl has already launched an Indiegogo campaign online to build out their mobile platform, and is planning to open up a seed round of $750k. The current expected launch date for Cheftabl is sometime Q1 of 2013. Jill has already built a formidable founding team with a plethora of both the retail and the service industry including Zynga, Tory Burch, and the No. 68 Project. They have also accrued a stacked board of advisors that include big names such as Adam Wegner from Exclusive Resorts and Executive Chef Nicholas Stefanelli of Bibiana.
With a great team, an expansive market, and a strong advisory board, Cheftabl is poised to make a very big culinary splash for 2013 in D.C.