Breaking into the food business is hard, especially as a chef, and definitely in a town like Detroit that’s better known for hot coneys than haute cuisine.
YumVillage is trying to make it a lot easier, and they’re finding success doing it.
What is YumVillage? YumVillage is a cloud-based service that enables a “Table D’ Hote” (a meal of preselected courses served at a fixed time and price to the guests at a hotel or restaurant) that brings together food enthusiasts around communal tables to share cuisine crafted by aspiring chefs.
Guests rate the chefs live, getting valuable feedback, and that data is shared with the chefs after each dinner.
“Each guest will get a feedback card, [and] rates the courses from 1 through 6 as well as a couple of other qualitative data questions such as the average you would pay for the individual course you have eaten, the experience, the chef and what you thought of him,” said Godwin Ihentuge of YumVillage. “All of that data is packaged into a cool dashboard format and given to them after the dinner.”
YumVillage is social in nature. Their main dinners happen monthly on the last Thursday of every month. Additionally, as part of their social mission a percentage of proceeds are donated to local non-profits.
Since their start six months ago, YumVillage has opened doors to chefs across the Metro Detroit area, allowing them to customize a entire dinner menu for one night and connect with patrons in a whole new and personal way.
The events are currently hosted at restaurants already in operation, and have a mix of new and prominent chefs from some of your favorite establishments.
Since the events are only be available for pre-sale ticketing, the chef will have an exact idea of how many guests to be cooking for, and it allows the chef to customize and design the menu and buy properly for the night.
There’s mentoring, too. Prior to the onset of an event the team behind YumVillage will go over all the food costs, total tickets price, total cost of the event, and will have negotiated a percent of the profits that will go back to the chef as well as to local non-profits.
“We want to really take the barriers of entry away from a chef so that they have a platform where they can earn a sustainable living and also develop a brand and grow with an audience in the process,” said Ihentuge.
What’s also great is they hold no prejudice to the success (or lack of) that a chef may already have, the YumVillage team is willing to work with aspiring talent showing promise and aggressive interest in their own growth.
The startup is currently booked with chefs all the way to September, hosting two events each month. But they do need are patrons, and that’s where you come in.
So what’s next? Chef John Breeland, former executive Chef of Morels, is going to be hosting April 30, from 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. at the Detroit Seafood Market in downtown Detroit. Other upcoming chefs include Courtney Joseph & Brendon Edwards, and more will be on their website as they become available where you can also book yourself a table, or reach out and become the next chef citizen of the tasty YumVillage.