TH­ESE GUYS ARE SO ZEIT­GEIST I HALF EX­PECT THEM TO TELL ME THEY BOUGHT THE TA­BLE WE’RE SIT­TING AT ON GUMTREE OR GOT THE CHAIRS ON FREECY­CLE

London Evening Standard (West End Final B) - ES Magazine - - Eatro -

Wei, 24 — all sons of post-Soviet im­mi­grants to Bu­dapest — only had the idea just over a year ago. Sit­ting in the dreary Re­gent’s Park coun­cil flat they shared as stu­dents, they were moan­ing about the food they had eaten that day. Wei and Ka­plan­sky in par­tic­u­lar are com­mit­ted food­ies and ex­cel­lent chefs, and Ka­plan­sky re­calls leav­ing the Cass Busi­ness School ev­ery night and fac­ing the same dispir­it­ing op­tions.

‘I step out of uni and I can kind of pic­ture it: Itsu to my left, Pret in front of me, and Wasabi — which one should I choose to­day?’ Ka­plan­sky says mourn­fully. ‘I knew the menus by heart, I knew the tastes by heart.’ Dur­ing the dis­cus­sion in the flat that night about the chain-dom­i­nated pre­dictabil­ity of fast food and take­away food in Lon­don, Wei men­tioned that he had seen a doc­u­men­tary about French grand­moth­ers who posted on bul­letin boards when they were mak­ing ex­tra food. Ka­plan­sky said he had heard about a sim­i­lar thing in Is­rael. As stu­dents, all three were used to cook­ing for friends at the flat and tak­ing food over to din­ner par­ties, and they won­dered whether they could cre­ate a web­site that al­lowed or­di­nary Lon­don­ers who were ta­lented with food to share their fare online.

Ka­plan­sky made that the sub­ject of his dis­ser­ta­tion, re­search­ing peer-to-peer mealshar­ing in Europe, and found projects in Greece and Hol­land show­ing a strong de­mand for ser­vices that al­lowed hun­gry con­sumers to buy cheaply the ex­tra food made by good home cooks. He noted that sharey­ourmeal.net — a sim­ple site made by a cou­ple from Utrecht — had seen 70,000 meals shared in a year. ‘It showed peo­ple are com­fort­able with it,’ says Ka­plan­sky. The boys im­me­di­ately be­gan plan­ning a busi­ness that would im­prove on the two or three ex­ist­ing food-shar­ing web­sites and take its place in the blos­som­ing ‘shar­ing econ­omy’ — de­fined loosely as com­pa­nies and or­gan­i­sa­tions in­volved in dis­tribut­ing and shar­ing ex­cess ca­pac­ity in goods or ser­vices, usu­ally fa­cil­i­tated by the web.

Things moved fast from there: draw­ing up plans for a web­site, work­ing with a lawyer to thrash out the le­gal im­pli­ca­tions of run­ning a busi­ness that would see food be­ing sold from home kitchens, and drum­ming up sup­port in Lon­don foodie and tech­nol­ogy cir­cles.

Ea­tro went live last week, with a few dozen chefs of­fer­ing an en­tic­ing mix of dishes, in­clud­ing Chi­nese dumplings and tangy oven-baked chicken. Any­one can sign up to sell their food on Ea­tro, sub­ject to a chat with one of the founders in which they ex­plain the hy­giene stan­dards, the re­quire­ment for the food to be rel­a­tively healthy, and the price range (they would like most meals to be in the £5 to £7

Right: Ea­tro is based

off Brick Lane. Be­low: Ea­tro chef Cristina boxes up her

home­made paella

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