Home cooked meals from people in your area.

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Was thinking about this idea a couple of weeks ago, very cool to see someone already working on it. If you don't mind answering - how are you getting around the commercial kitchen requirements/restrictions?
Hey @colbyh, I'm Tal's business partner and have been running the human experience side of Josephine. We get your question a lot, and really there are two slightly nuanced answers - one is about legality, and one is about safety. Legality: The short answer is, (1) we've been working closely with groups like the SELC (who got the current cottage food bill to happen in CA and are working on doing the same for other states) to think about the future of food regulation, (2) we have a relationships with local commercial kitchens/food business incubators that give our cooks access to those facilities, and (3) we have a terms of service that protects us as a platform. The long, but more frank answer is that there hasn't yet been a thoughtful conversation around regulation of this type of business. Food regulation law and infrastructure (especially on a county level) is a legacy of band-aid solutions that are often nonsensical in any applied context. Lemonade stands, bake-sales, tons of stands at farmer's markets, even certain types of private parties are all illegal according to current food law. Not to mention the fact that the burden of enforcing these laws falls onto an extremely underfunded and overworked local health department. I think a lot of people are quick to assume that we are benefitting from under-regulation in this world, but they're wrong. There's real benefit, socially, ethically, economically, to reconsidering the distribution of small-scale home cooked food in our society - but the cost and strain of self regulating is enormous and very stressful. Groups like the SELC have already toed the line with progressive food law as much as they can without asking legislators to seriously reconsider the way food regulation has been prioritized in recent history. We'd love to take part in a thoughtful conversation around how this type of commerce can be regulated - that's what we want to take on in the long haul. As for safety: Before cooking for Josephine, each cook needs to have a phone interview, an in-person taste test, a home kitchen inspection, get their CA Food Handler’s license, and sign off and read all of our Josephine Best Practices and Guidelines - which are all based off of the actual county health inspections. This means that no, we don’t litmus test the detergent water in people’s dish washers, and no we don’t require cooks to have functional 3-sink washing set ups, but we do make sure all of our cooks have the equipment and education they need to safely and properly make food in a home kitchen. This means ice paddles, temperature logs, practices to prevent cross contamination, new never-been-used packaging, etc. Not to mention the fact we’ve had our cook onboarding and safety practices revised and worked on by every cooks in our community. We don’t just ask new cooks to read and sign off on those materials, we ask them to contribute tips and pointers to them after they’ve had their first few cooking experiences with us. Some of these cooks have extensive (20+) years of experience working in the food industry and catering at massive scale, whereas others bring the thoughtfulness and feel good tips that only a mother who has raised her own children knows. However, concern about food safety is justified. If a cook were to accidentally use the same knife or cutting board without washing them first, nobody would be there to stop them. However, nobody would be there to stop someone from doing that in any restaurant or commissary business either. These people are in fact, more accountable to their food because they are physically the ones handing you and your kids your dinner. Our cooks will ask your toddler his or her name and how old they are. They will show you their backyard and talk about the new chickens they just got. They will ask you who the extra portions are for, and treat you to desserts or treats on the house. They will share with you their home and their own families, all so that they can get back to the true reason they started cooking in the first place - to nourish others both physically and spiritually. While we do have an emergency procedure in place for if an accident happens, I can guarantee that our meals are the product of the WAY more thoughtfulness and human accountability than what you’ll find at a restaurant.
@_charleyw Really well thought out response to a question that, if answered incorrectly, could have caused way more headaches than it cured. Can't wait to try Josephine out when you expand to this side of the Bay Bridge!
Hi everybody! I'm Tal, one of the cofounders of Josephine. We've been building a loving community in Oakland and Berkeley since April and have big plans for the new year. Feel free to read more here: Would love to hear your questions/thoughts on the concept, the digital product, and hey –– if you're ever in East Bay we'd love to have you try some food :)
@talsafran Hi Tal! Just wanted to say that it's awesome what you all are doing, really excited to see how this develops. I think that people desperately need easier access to healthier food, and this has a lot of potential. Are you considering making an app for this? I was recently thinking about how there should be a Lyft/Uber for food. Users can decide whether they want to be a cook or a consumer, and the people who want food can see on a map all of the different dishes being prepared that day and where they are.
@tim_finnigan1 Hey Tim, thanks for the kind words! We started with a web + mobile web app just to cover all the bases but would absolutely love native apps. Hopefully in the new year :)
Great team, love their focus on local community-building <3. Excited to try a meal soon!
@Tal hello! Great to see this - obvious next question for us folks on the east coast, but what are the plans to do this in other areas?
@EricFriedman hey long time no see! Hope you've been good. We'd love to be out east one day, New York would be a perfect city. In fact, one of the early seedlings for this idea was when I was living on Avenue C with @maxstoller in 2010. On the way up to our third story walkup we'd always smell amazing Latin American food coming out of the other apartments and wonder how we could get some. Will keep you posted :)
@EricFriedman @talsafran True. Instead we subsisted on empanadas from the stand across the street. Looking forward to Josephine's NYC launch!
Very cool! Reminds me of