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All We Can Eat
Posted at 03:00 PM ET, 12/16/2011

Jamie Stachowski: New media maverick?


Food Meets Drink: Jamie Stachowski's attempt to get Google's attention. (Food Meets Drink)
His forthcoming butcher and sandwich shop in Georgetown is not the only project Jamie Stachowski has on his mind these days. It seems the master charcuterie maker has been working with engineers in India on something less savory: a recipe search engine.

You read right. Jamie Stachowski has been building a recipe search engine to compete with Foodily, Foodieview, Yummly, TasteBook, Google and God knows how many other online helpers out there. His site is called, somewhat enigmatically, Food Meets Drink.

Stachowski says he and an investor have sunk $70,000 into the project, for which he has high hopes. “Ultimately,” Stachowski says, “I want it to be big enough that Google gives [me] a big check and says, ‘Go away.’”

Food Meets Drink is still in beta testing, but you can test drive it and provide Stachowski with feedback — but only with 140 characters since his preferred comment system is the site’s Twitter feed. Food Meets Drink is virtually wordless, which is perfect, I suppose, for any kitchen knuckledragger who hasn’t mastered language skills yet.

The site is organized in vertical rows of ingredients, each of which is represented by an image that you can click on to find variations of that ingredient. For example, under pork, you can find options for pork loin, pork belly, ground pork, etc. The idea is to select the ingredients you want to cook from each row, and the site will pop up a list of potential recipes in the right-hand window.

That way, Stachowski notes, “you don’t have to comb though 10 pages of junk” on Google or other search engines.

My first few searches went something like this:

1. I selected pork, carrots and limes and found a simple, perhaps too simple, recipe for carnitas.

2. I selected beef short ribs, garlic and thyme and up popped a tasty-sounding recipe for barbecue beef short ribs from Kingsford.

3. I selected chicken legs, garlic and cilantro and got, among other results, a document titled “BABY FOOD FORMULA base cream.” (I tried replicating the search later and couldn’t get the same result, which seems to indicate the engineers are continuing to tinker with the algorithms or something.)

I also found that I had to refresh the Food Meets Drink page every time I wanted to start a new search. Bottom line: At this point, you have to really want to use this tool to make it work for you.

“It’s a little glitchy,” Stachowski says. “That’s what $70,000 will get you…If you want to fine-tune it, it’ll cost another bunch of money.”

Give it a try yourself and let us (and Stachowski) know what you think.

By  |  03:00 PM ET, 12/16/2011

Categories:  Chefs, Recipes | Tags:  Tim Carman

 
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