Dinner innovations | MomsCharlotte.com

Jennie Wong, Ph.D., is a nationally syndicated columnist and the creator of the product quiz website www.ABorC.com.
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Dinner innovations

07/26/13 02:18
Charlotte Blogs

No matter what your occupation, we all gotta eat.  And sometimes the task of getting dinner on the table every night feels like a never-ending challenge.  Luckily, there’s a wave of innovative new businesses in the “food tech” space that represent the cutting edge of getting fed.


For the kitchen newbie


If you use your pantry to store tax receipts and have nothing in your freezer besides vodka, check out www.LetsFeast.com.  This startup provides online cooking lessons for all, but is especially friendly to rookies.  Each lesson is completely self-contained and assumes no previous background in cooking.  Feast is currently offering their “Paleo Noodles” lesson for free, including plenty of close-up photos and eight short videos covering everything from how to use a vegetable peeler to plating the final dish.


Also launching soon is www.Cookstream.tv, which matches foodies with professional chefs for real-time cooking lessons over video chat.  If you’ve ever wanted to go behind the scenes at your favorite restaurant or ask a trained professional for their secret to the perfect poached egg, consider signing up for early access on their website.


For the bargain hunter


If you’re looking to save money on groceries and be more organized at the same time, you may want to try out Food on the Table, available both online and as an app for iOS and Android.  Their integrated approach starts with selecting your local grocery store and specifying your high-level food preferences, e.g. do you like seafood, are you on a low sodium diet.  The application then cross references what’s on sale at your selected store with what you like to eat and offers a choice of recipes.  Once you’ve selected your recipes, you can add the ingredients you need to buy to your grocery list, which can be printed, emailed, or sent to your phone.


For the socially conscious


But even with all the know-how and meal planning help in the world, sometimes it’s still easier to eat out.  Charlotte-based startup PlateShare aims to make every time you dine out an opportunity to fight hunger in America.


Founder Katie Levans has created an iPhone and Android app that rounds up your restaurant tab, giving the “spare change” as a donation to smart food-buying programs and food banks.  She was inspired to found her company while fulfilling a requirement for her Master of Science in Nutrition.  “That's how I found myself on the sorting floor at Second Harvest Metrolina… I started to see that donating food isn't the best way to fight hunger…our need is not for more food. It's for a more effective distribution system, education, and policy reform.”



Jennie Wong, Ph.D. is an executive coach, author of “Ask the Mompreneur,” and founder of the social shopping startup CartCentric.com. Follow her on Twitter @DrJennieWong.

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