CHEF SURFINGJuly 2011 to June 2013

On-demand private chef

Chef Surfing brings local chefs to private households to do the cooking.


Chef Surfing logo

About Chef Surfing

The start-up was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina but it became a Delaware company established in 2011 by Eric knudtson, designer and developer and Clara Gonzalez Sueyro, anthropologist. Chef Surfing participated in Start Up Chile Spring 2012 cohort and Local Food Lab Fall 2012 cohort. Chef Surfing shut down in 2012.


Hiring a chef for a an event or a private dinner it is not easy. People ask recommendations from friends and families and/or search the web. This process is time consuming and frustrating with unclear results. Chef surfing is the easiest way to hire a chef. Co-founder Eric Knudtson designed and developed the website. His portfolio here .




The results from the research provided us with few insights to iterate and redefine the solution under this new vision:

1. Descentralization.

2. Democratization.

3. Peer-to-peer communication.


It was my first time building a start-up and I was not aware of the Lean Methodology. My lack of experience building products took me, unfortunately, to focus on the product development instead of the customer discovery and validation. Despite a lack of process, I did performed some research.

1. Observed chefs in their kitchens while performing casual interviews.

2. Prototype different solutions and iterate.

3. User testing to understand how users and chefs used the platform.

How it works


From the interviews we found out that customers were interested in being able to create their own request and receive proposals from chefs. Once the request was published, customers will review each chef's page and accept or reject the proposals.

How it looks

The interviews and observations helped us define the value proposition for the landing page. A new home for chefs on the web was chosen. Check the rest of the design

The chosen value proposition focused on both sides of the marketplace and added available experiences for customers to choose from


Iterations - Landing page


1) The original version addressed the chefs. This created a lack of interest on the customer side.


2) The second version focused on the meals and both sides of the marketplace, chefs and customers, felt disengaged with this proposal.


• Chefs rely on an external person (family member or friend ) to handle the marketing of their business.

• People ask friends or family for recommendations when hiring a chef. As a second step they search the web.

• There is often a frustrating process behind hiring a chef: time consuming and unclear results.

• Reviews and reputation are key drivers in the decision process

• We discovered that chefs don't seem to be tech savvy. The system needed to rely on emails and a simple dashboard as a way to engage and retain chefs in the platform.

Lessons learnt

• Make sure you know the specifics of the market you are entering in.

• A technology driven approach would lead you to the wrong solution.

• Make sure the team is on the same page regarding goals and vision.

• Create constant feedback loops and iterate according to those results.

• Build an MVP (low fidelity prototype) and test it with your potential users before starting the development phase.



Presenting Chef Surfing -



Entrepreneurs in Latin America - The Economist

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