Cooking massive portions of food is practically a religion in Greece. But when you regularly make more than your family can actually eat, a lot gets thrown in the trash. To bypass that waste, Cookisto, an Athens-based website, is helping home cooks sell their extra portions to nearby locals.
Started by Michalis Gkontas, the site originated as a business plan for his master's thesis, according to the BBC. But Cookisto has since grown into an online community of over 12,000 home chefs, and it's expected to launch a U.K.-based version in the coming weeks.
At around $4-$6 per plate, hungry shoppers—like students, office workers and busy stay-at-home moms—can enjoy homemade meals, often for less than what they'd pay in restaurants. At the same time, home cooks can make extra money feeding their online clientele.
Each chef, or "Cookista" starts with a profile page that allows them to upload pictures of their latest meal, its ingredients and their general location. Purchases are made online, and can be picked up or delivered. Cookistas are also rated by their clients, allowing them to build a home-based business—no small matter in light of Greece's down economy, where unemployment rates run as high as 27.9 percent.
Food waste remains a worldwide problem: The U.N. estimates that globally we throw out about 1.3 billion metric tons of food each year, but much of that is tossed by European and North American consumers. Cookisto's upcoming expansion into London may serve as the next step to bring it stateside.
The site joins other web-based endeavors like LeftOverSwap, an app that allows users to pick up leftover and unwanted products from the refrigerators of their neighbors. But Cookisto remains unique in that its point is to sell freshly prepared homemade meals.
Whether or not Cookisto could thrive in the U.S. is another matter, but considering its economic and environmental implications, it may be worth exploring.