Welcome Cookstr!

cookstr2 by you.

The Cookstr web site launched this week is the first recipe site to partner with cookbook publishers and includes celebrity chef recipes from cookbooks.

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the launch party for Cookstr, a new recipe web site that will feature selected content from actual published cookbooks, which includes the celebrity chefs you all know and love (Mario Batali, Jamie Oliver, Julia Child, etc) as well as non-celeb but hardcore cookbook authors such as Mark Bittman or Madhur Jaffrey, and famous four-star restaurant chefs such as Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Eric Ripert and Daniel Boulud. This differs significantly from other recipe-type sites such as Recipezaar, where the content isn’t vetted or even tested, or even recipe sites like Food Network’s where the recipes are limited to what their own specific celebrity chefs have cooked on TV. If you want Nigella’s actual cookbook recipes, you either have to buy her cookbooks — or go on Cookstr.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

cookstr1 by you.

This recipe for Achiote Oil is the actual recipe from the Daisy Cooks! cookbook by PBS chef Daisy Martinez. Cookstr is adding an average of 1 new chef and 20 new recipes per day.

Who’s behind this new website gem? Well it turns out that the man behind the helm is William Schwalbe, who is a 10 year veteran and former Editor-in-Chief of Hyperion Books, a major cookbook publisher. Schwalbe is also co-author of a recently published book about how not to screw up when sending emails, so he’s also a fellow computer nerd like myself.

Prior to joining Hyperion Schwalbe was a Sr. VP and Editor-in-Chief at William Morrow and Company, which is now owned by HarperCollins. To launch Cookstr, Schwalbe made use of his long collected list of publishing industry contacts and negotiated with a number of other major cookbook publishers to secure the rights to re-publish selected recipes on the Internet — and in turn, use Cookstr as a vehicle for the publishers to drive additional cookbook sales.

It’s an interesting business model and there aren’t any ads on the site yet, so I’m obviously very curious as to how it’s going to be capitalized as far as revenue streams go. Having been down the content website road myself, I know how difficult it can be for a site like that to make money. Still, with the recession that we’re now knee deep in, cooking at home as opposed to restaurant dining is more popular than ever, and I suspect that Cookstr has come out at just the right time.

The key features of the “Beta” version of the site are:

  • High-quality recipes from trusted cookbooks – partnerships with reputable cookbook publishers to provide thousands of vetted recipes by notable cookbook authors and chefs.
  • Superior proprietary search – all recipes have been reviewed and meticulously tagged by a team of culinary professionals; guaranteed to find the recipes you are looking for.
  • Chef page – features chefs with their recipes, interesting facts, a selection of their cookbooks, and even a list of their restaurants with links.

Right now, Cookstr is just doing recipes, but the site will be rolling out discussion forums and other community-based features such as the ability to comment on recipes in the near future. I’m really looking forward to seeing what these guys can do, and I’m very impressed with their initial beta product.

Oh and did I mention it doesn’t cost anything to use?

2 Responses to Welcome Cookstr!

  1. Jason – thanks for the 411 on this cool website!

  2. Jackie says:

    Thanks for telling us about this!! I’m on my way over to check it out right now..

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