Spicewok.com, a new culinary start-up based in Pune is looking to redefine the dining experience for the Pune diner. The website focuses on most aspects of food such as reviews on new entries, food trails, recipes, global food news and trends, and guide to food festivals and other happenings in the city of Pune.
Started by Binal and Ashishwang Godha, two experienced media professionals, the website has two very unique features, not found in food websites in India – an expert panel and a menu planner. Using the expert panel, users can ask questions to the city’s leading chefs regarding their cuisine. The menu planner is a great interactive tool wherein users can select the ingredients they have in their kitchen and the website generates recipes for them accordingly.
After having worked with big names such The Times of India, Savvy Cookbook, Femina and Westin, a big chunk of Binal and Ashishwang’s experience has been in food writing. So they bring with them in-depth knowledge about food and insights in working of the media. Says, Binal Godha, Co-Director, “It is the only website in Indiathat has an authoritative editorial leaning, is comprehensive in its scope and inclusive in its reach. We go much beyond listings, menus and calendar of events, which are the key focal points of other food websites.”
Being well-networked with the culinary world has been of advantage since they’ve been able to generate a lot of curiosity about the website through word of mouth and they have also made use of social media well, bringing out new contests regularly to attract audiences. Their revenue model is based on a few strategic tie-ups and advertising.
But what makes their business model essentially unique is the fact that their sales and editorial teams are separate. “We don’t sell reviews or any other kind of editorial space for ads or any financial benefit — something that is unfortunately a widely used practice in the media. So the content that our users get is absolutely undiluted.” says Binal.
The duo studied a good number of international food websites, magazine and blogs to see what works in this sort of venture, and what can be improved upon. They used questionnaires to understand what potential users wanted from a food portal and spoke to culinary professionals based in Pune. Essentially their aim was to bridge the gap between the chef and the diner.
Even though the website might seem Pune-centric, apart from listings and reviews, the portal can be used by users across the world to know more about food and dining. Foodies can check out the website and get their questions answered from the top chefs. With Spicewok, dining is a more interactive experience than ever before.