In last week's Washington Post Food Section, there was article all about a new phenomenon: an in-store cooking coach.
In the article, Shop Till You Learn Something New at the Market, author Bonnie Benwick describes one Whole Foods and their mission to educate shoppers about how they can best use ingredients together, define ingredients that they may be unfamiliar with, or to simply inspire. Benwick likens it to the Apple Store's Genius Bar -- except concerning food and without the need to make an appointment.
Resident cooking coach, Michael Kiss, tells customers, “I’m your cooking coach! I’m ready to talk about food.” Kiss was a trained chef and knows his way around the kitchen and the grocery store for that matter. He speaks to college kids and the elderly alike, although some wonder if this approach might be overwhelming to customers or if others are just biding their time waiting for free samples. And what's the focus? Is is on health, ingredient education, stocking a pantry, basic weeknight meals, perhaps just simple kitchen inspiration? Or does it even matter? Perhaps just having a knowledgeable presence in the store is reassuring in case you should need one.
We're curious: what do you think about this idea? Would you find a store employee who was knowledegable enough to talk to you about how you'll actually cook each ingredient helpful or overwhelming? Do you have the extra time to spend in the grocery store and would you?
Related: Blogging Gourmet: Grocery Shopping in a Recession
Images: Stephanie Vacher via Flickr and Steve Ioya via Flickr