Grad Profiles highlight the personal and professional stories of Founder Institute Graduates from across the globe.
This profile on Feastie, a Graduate of the Washington DC Founder Institute, was written by Emma Tzeng. Founded in 2011 by Valerie Coffman, Feastie helps home cooks find the best, healthiest, most affordable recipes online and better organize their grocery lists.
As if cooking weren’t difficult enough already, often times finding that perfect recipe can prove to be just as time-consuming and mystifying as the actual process of gathering and preparing the ingredients. The Internet offers a wide-ranging medley of recipes from across the globe; yet sometimes the options are downright overwhelming.
Washington D.C.-based startup Feastie wants to alleviate the indecisiveness that recipe-searching can induce by offering a smarter, more efficient recipe search engine.
By searching and aggregating content from food blogs and high-quality food websites, Feastie offers only “the most delicious and well-tested recipes” for health- and budget-conscious users. In other words, Feastie handles the recipe quality control so its users don’t have to.
To further simplify the process, Feastie also allows users to import ingredient lists from recipes onto a personalized grocery list that sorts food items by aisle. In addition, account holders can save favorite recipes and cooking histories for future reference.
Feastie is completely free to use and currently boasts over 180,000 recipes from over 1,000 food blogs. In fact, the Feastie recipe database, which is indexed by ingredient, is the largest one of its kind. The startup has already helped tens of thousands of home cooks discover new food blogs through its search engine and its user base is growing by 70 percent each month on average.
Founder, CEO, and die-hard foodie Valerie Coffman first conceived the idea for Feastie in 2009 as she was preparing Christmas dinner. She noticed that food blogs often featured the best recipes and photographs that major recipe databases such as AllRecipes.com lacked. However, no overarching website existed that collected food blog content and enabled users to search them for individual recipes.
By July 2011, after months of study, Coffman developed a recipe-parsing algorithm and grocery list compiler that Feastie incorporates on its website. The next month, she quit her day job as a software developer at the National Institute of Science and Technology to devote her time and energy to launch Feastie’s search engine feature and spread the startup’s mission. Today, Feastie is a part of the first class of startups at the new DC-based accelerator The Fort.
Feastie’s search engine finds its recipes using a web crawling bot, which the startup has endearingly named the FeastieBot. The “FeastieBot” crawls food blogs and websites to find new recipe pages to add to Feastie’s search index. This code can detect recipes, ingredients, and other recipe-specific keywords even without any special formats or codes.
“The biggest killers in America are diet-related diseases,” Coffman tells The Washington Business Journal. “I wanted to contribute to solving this problem by making it easier to make healthy, tasty, home-cooked meals.”
Feastie is indeed making home-cooking easier and more accessible by curating the best, user-tested recipes from across the Internet and offering a platform for users to organize their grocery lists. And as the startup continues to grow in scope and collect information on the foodie blogosphere, Feastie’s potential to serve as a valuable source of data for public relations and advertising representatives also grows along with it.
To learn more about Feastie: