Cookstr is a new website from some big names in cookbook publishing—Will Schwalbe, a former editor-in-chief at Hyperion, and Katie Workman of Workman publishing. It's a recipe site, geared towards home cooks who are trolling the internet in search of ideas.
The founders have partnered with famous (and some not-so-famous) chefs and authors to offer recipes from their cookbooks, hoping that visitors will try these well-tested recipes and then buy the book. The site is boosting its profile with people like Jamie Oliver, Mario Batali, Alice Waters, and Dan Barber. And according to an article in The New York Times, the chefs share a portion of the ad revenue.
We think this site could potentially fill a big hole on the internet. While there are plenty of places to find recipes on the web (hey, we're here), the biggest sites, like Epicurious or Food Network, are limited by what's run in magazines or cooked by popular television hosts.
We like books. We review them often, and there are so many delicious dishes that are only found on paper, not a computer screen. And yet, it can also be frustrating to shop for a cookbook and decide on a good one without knowing if any of the recipes will suit you. Cookstr's aim is to give you the opportunity to try before you buy.
Of course, the site is free. So you can try and not buy. That's the impulse that drives so many food blogs out there. Cookstr's point is that you're getting tried-and-true recipes from chefs. You can search by type of dish, ingredient, chef, plus other options, and the navigating is easy.
We do have a few complaints, though. The site is new, which means some of the chef's names we clicked on gave us zero results. And many of the recipes have a stock photo of white plates or a single ingredient (a few lemons instead of a Lemon Roast Chicken, for example). We assume the pictures will improve as the site moves forward, but people like to see photos of their finished food. It's a little comical to click on a recipe for Roasted Cream of Butternut Squash Soup and see a clean, empty bowl.
Check out the site:
And read the Times article:
• A Plan to Sell Cookbooks: Give Away Recipes Online
Take a look and let us know what you think. Are you looking for a new recipe site? Is this an appealing option?