Here at The Food Rush we love food, and we love tech, so naturally anything that combines the two is even better! The biggest challenge in combining food and tech is finding solutions that are easy to use which don’t take away the enjoyment and human interaction of both the food and tech aspects.
Food should be an experience, a journey of discovery, a pleasure that we share with our nearest and dearest. Everyone has special memories where food played an integral part, whether it was a great dinner party, summer bbq or a romantic dinner for two. Yet society is in danger of losing these great experiences at the hands of impersonal and sophisticated technology.
Technology can be insanely clever but often this also means it is intrinsically complicated. At its best, technology should be employed to act as a tool, a means to improve an experience or make something more efficient.
Consider the experience of home cooking. How can technology be used in the kitchen to make the process better? What would a tech solution need to provide to make cooking more enjoyable, more fun, and perhaps more shareable?
Love Of All Food
It is this very desire to use technology to complement the enjoyment of the cooking process that prompted the development of a new recipe app called Loaf. Co-founder and CEO, Han-Son Lee, commented that the team wanted to “create a whole ecosystem around easy cooking” and introduce the idea of “cooking happy”.
The team at Loaf have come up with an app that enhances the whole cooking experience. Loaf, which stands for Love Of All Food, is an ipad app that turns recipes into journeys and helps people become better cooks. Loaf is a tech solution for what is traditionally a very non-tech activity.
Loaf isn’t a just recipe app, but a cooking app for a foodie community who can contribute, review and share their passion for cooking. The best part of the app is the way that it incorporates interactive cooking; walking you through a recipe step by step, incorporating little animations and videos to make the cooking experience fun, simple and as effortless as possible. After this journey you can make notes, and share your thoughts and photos with the rest of the Loaf community.
The app features everything you need to discover and make delicious dishes with ease: you can search a vast library of recipes, add your own recipes, track recipes that you’ve followed and rate recipes along with the cooking experience.
Foodtech and human connection
I’m a foodtech fan and I was eager to hear about all the technical details when I met up for a chat with Han-Son. But it is actually the non-technical details of Loaf that he’s most excited about. “Tech is great, I’m a big fan, but there is a point where I think great tech is about human connection. That’s what we really believe in and that’s what we want to do with this, get people cooking more often, in a great and easy way that meets their goals”.
This is no doubt why one of the key features of the app is all about enabling this human connection. The Loaf app can effortlessly connect you with a real person via live chat functionality. If you have questions about a recipe or just want to chat with the Loaf team, just swipe down and start typing. Most recipes have very clear, concise instructions but sometimes there may be just a tiny detail missing or something isn’t quite clear. Imagine that you’ve come to a part of a recipe that you don’t understand, or you want to substitute one of the ingredients for something else. With Loaf, there’ll be someone there to help you out.
The future of this feature is even more exciting and the Loaf team have plans of providing dietary and nutrition advice through this chat portal. This will be great for those with dietary requirements or food allergies, always having someone on hand to advise you on what alternatives are available or most suitable. This is the power of such an innovative tech solution.
Come cook with me
Han-Son really does takes the idea of tech and human connection seriously. Not long after I’d discovered the app he reached out to see if I’d be interested in doing an in-home cook along where he could watch how I used the app and ask what was working well and what could work better.
Invite a complete stranger into my house to watch me cook, sure, why not?
The experience worked really well. Over the course of a couple of hours I cooked two dishes using the app, we chatted about the story behind Loaf and their visions for the future, and then got to enjoy the fruits of my labour. I cooked spelt crackers, which I highly recommend, and mee siam (spicy rice vermicelli).
And surprisingly, I wasn’t the only one mad enough to invite Han-Son into my house. He’d been busily inviting himself round to customer’s houses a couple of times a week to really understand how people use the product. Loaf users are clearly a trusting bunch! Han-Son commented that there was “nothing more powerful than stepping into a customer’s shoes; there’s a difference between what people think they want and then in the moment what you know they want. We see it as a learning journey”.
It seems this idea of human connection and community is hugely appealing to to foodies far and wide. Loaf was only officially launched in December 2015 and has already seen more downloads in one week than all the beta testers involved in the trail phase which lasted