Startup takes diners into home kitchens

A new startup wants you to ditch the sommeliers and Michelin stars for a home-cooked meal in a stranger’s kitchen.

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WelcomeOver – a new service hoping to make itself the Airbnb of dining – lets users either host a meal in their home or dine at someone else’s, then rate and review their experience.

“Everybody thinks they are a mini-Masterchef and they want to show off their skills with friends and neighbours,” WelcomeOver co-founder Nelson Hidalgo told AAP.

“There is a social part of it as well… now it is a perfect vehicle to start talking again over the dinner table.”

Launched on Wednesday by three friends from Sydney’s eastern suburbs, the web-based service currently has 11 houses on offer, mainly in Sydney.

Hosts and diners can use the website for free, with hosts setting the price for the meal while WelcomeOver adds on a 20 per cent service fee which the diner will pay.

The founders of the business personally dine with hosts before approving them but Mr Hidalgo said the company was globally focused and would employ others when demand grew.

A little help from his relatives even allows the service to boast a meal at home across the Pacific in Guatemala.

“We work really closely with the host to know the process of the meal and what they are going to put on the menu,” he said.

The hosts all undergo police checks and quality control was key to the site, Mr Hidalgo said.

“We also see benefits for people who may have just moved to a new area and want to meet neighbours or others in the local community,” he said.

“We think it’s time to challenge the tradition of eating out.”