A Bite That Can Change The World

The App: Bites.
The Site: www.bites.mobi
The Solution: Creating A New Marketplace
By: Erik Merkow

The Connection
From  www.bites.mobi “During the summer of my 13th birthday, my uncle hired me to work on his farms and tend to his greenhouses. My first real job! I learned how to properly thump watermelon, press the sweet spot on honeydew, and climb a tall ladder to pick tree ripened peaches. I made my way through endless rows of towering sweet corn, peeling them open and tasting them in the open field. On weekends, I’d help run his open-air farmer’s market, assisting customers with their selections and with running the cash register. Some weeks, I’d take care of plants in the greenhouses. I recall the moisture in the air and the fresh scent of soil and foliage as I watered plants and diligently inspected leaves for bugs, as if my life depended on it. Not only would he send me home with cash in my pocket, but he’d also hand carry a couple of crates of fresh, flavorful, ripe fruits and vegetables to our front door for my mom.”   This was the formulation of the connection.

The Dinner Party Discovery
It was a beautiful fall evening and one of her mom’s professors invited a group of student to his home for a dinner party. His wife was cooking and setting out a bunch of dishes in a lush green yard under the stars.  At age 13, Roza was starving and with very little etiquette, she just wanted to eat.  The professor’s wife (that sounds like a good book) was setting out the dishes and Roza asked what one particular dish was, “It’s quiche” she replied.  Roza asked “What is quiche?”.  The professor’s wife stopped midstream and cut into the still warm dish.  She stuck a fork in it and brought it up to Roza’s mouth and said “close your eyes and keep them closed.  I want you to experience the warmth, texture, flavors, subtleties and complexities of this wonderful dish. I want you to experience quiche and not just chew and swallow it.”  At the age of 13, she didn’t realize this was an exercise in mindfulness and being present, appreciating the moment, gratitude and connecting with the food.  It was about tasting and sensing things.  That exercise helped form who she would become today, a person who was into adventure, variety, and diversity. Having been an attorney for 18 plus years, Roza worked in the technology space with techies, innovators, pushing boundaries, and trying new things.  She learned how understanding healthy disruption can create better systems and ways of seeing new paradigms.  That all melted together with the foodie and the person who cares about how we source things. That along with the technology aspect of her career taught her how everything is possible.

The Idea Lived In Her Head
She was working in the technology space where this idea sprouted and lived in her head for a solid year and a half. The idea of providing an adventure like the professor’s wife (again, another good book name) with fresh food (farm to table), and a chef who could cook it was the foundation for this idea.  What a concept in this shared economy with Uber, AirBNB, handyman, and dog walker’s apps.  Yet, there wasn’t anything for the food to table movement or chefs!  What??!!  How’s that possible? Brining the taste of different places to you in the form of a personal chef with authentic dishes and cultures and making it accessible to everyone.  That’s where the idea flourished, so foodies could seek culinary adventures.  Say you’re doing a girl’s night together and you’d like to bring in a homemaker cook.  Then maybe a bunch of couples would like a multi-course dinner.  You can bring in the type of talent you’re looking for in a meal and experience.

The DNA
Jan 1st she jumped from being an employee of someone else and dependent upon a paycheck…to fully dedicating herself to Bites.  She was self-taught on how to design and develop apps and created her company, Softwarehouse.  Today she’s working with tech founders and startups which provides Roza the challenge to help them grow and tap into her creative side.  “Technology shouldn’t just be a commodity creating a ton of useless apps, it should be about doing good. It should be about something that comes from your heart…part of your DNA.  It should be about creating things that does good in the world.”  When you think about the possibilities you can create and fix problems…the opportunities are endless. This app will create economic empowerment in local communities, giving work to homemakers, students, chefs, and farmers. “Then, giving visibility and support to the local farms so we can move away from the garbage that gets flown and shipped with no value and an ongoing deterioration in nutrition.”

The Farm to Table Purpose
Chefs can search on the site through the chef profile which will allow them to see farms within a certain radius they can use for sourcing their meals.  This also populates to their profile and that populates to the app to show the foodie who’s sourcing from where.  The passive beneficiaries are the farms. By connecting and opening up this chef world to these local farms, in turn opens the farms up to foodies.  Have you ever had something that was just picked or pulled out of the ground at the peak of ripeness?  It’s like experiencing Willy Wonka’s’ Chocolate Factory with flavors that will blow you away.  The Snozzberries taste like Snozzberries! Now imagine a chef having the ability to cook with that?  I was always under the impression farm to table was about being organic…and I could never have been so wrong.  It’s about not losing the true composition and dimensions of the plant or fruit.  Not letting the produce deteriorate by picking it early and planning for it to ripen off the vine or out of the ground.  Think about that…is that what was intended?  I think NOT!! That flavor profile of the entire dish will most likely take your taste buds to another dimension.  As that chef is cooking for the foodie in their kitchen, they’re discussing how and where they are sourcing their ingredients.  What crops are being grown and in turn that chef has become an advocate for the local farm not far from where they live.

Do What You Think You Can’t Do
I wanted to know who Roza looked up to in her life.  Her first was Eleonore Roosevelt…and shared one of her favorite quotes, “Do what you think you can’t do.”  She was about making change happen within yourself and that change has a ripple effect.  Live a purposeful meaningful life.  “What you end up with is a byproduct called happiness.” Elon Musk was another and he did something that really stuck with Roza.  He performed an experiment on himself before he made a leap in his life. He said “If I’m going to jump off this cliff and the security of paycheck, I’m going to test myself.”  He decided to live on a dollar a day for an entire year.  He had money but he wanted to know he wasn’t dependent on that paycheck and restricted himself on purpose.  Roza tested herself with willpower and different challenges that made her stronger and believing in the potential of herself.  “It’s all baby steps and a matter of training your brain, you build up your willpower which makes you more comfortable and less fearful about the things that could derail you.  You have to get comfortable being uncomfortable because that’s what builds your resilience. “

The Launch
The bites. app is planned to launch July 1st here in the Arizona market and nationally October 1st.  She is truly creating a marketplace and a shared economy for farmers, chefs and foodies unlike anything that exists today.  If you’re someone who loves working your garden in your backyard, you will be able to participate and sell the fruits and vegetables of your labor. If you’re an urban farm, you can now open your market to a broader audience. Get signed up as a farming resource. If you’re a home maker chef who loves to cook, you can earn extra income doing something you love.  If you’re a soon-to-be chef in school, you’ll have the opportunity to bring in some money to get by.  If you’re a chef with some down time and want to bring in a little income, you’ll now have that opportunity in this marketplace.  Get signed up and create your chef profile!  If you love to host parties, small get together or simply want to experience a private chef, there’s now a place to find that.  Sign up as a foodie and get the link for the app as soon as it comes out.  I was describing this app as the Uber for Chefs, but it really is much much more than that.  Please go to www.bites.mobi and get yourself registered for this truly awesome app that’s about to hit the marketplace!  It will open a world of adventure, opportunity, and discovery that will be sure to please all your senses….ok, almost all of your senses!

eat | drink | share | and bites

 

 

 

 

 

Erik Merkow on sabtwitterErik Merkow on sablinkedinErik Merkow on sabinstagramErik Merkow on sabfacebook
Erik Merkow
Founder and CEO at Az Food & Wine
Erik: a father, writer, entrepreneur, son, photographer, corporate guy, friend, brother, and foodie wine guy



There are no comments

Add yours

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: