CBS’s Early Show “reports” on a new service that lets panicking home cooks dial a culinary hot line in order to obtain instant assistance from professional chefs. The report, unfortunately, doesn’t explain the cost of the service ($20 a month for the subscription service or $10 for 30 minutes, according to the ChefsLine site) nor the relationship between the chefs and the service. (Are they freelance? On call? Full time? Commission based? Who’s on the other end of that line?)
But the real problem with the CBS reporting—and, to some extent, with ChefsLine’s marketing copy—is that it doesn’t entirely explain why the service is better than a combination of Google, Julia Child, and the Best Recipe books.
Of course, there are those easily panicked non-computer-savvy types who may want instant attention. Says CBS:
ChefsLine chefs hear mostly from home cooks in distress, such as one man who said, ‘We have a turkey dilemma! … We put it back in the oven, but we don’t know exactly what we’re doing.’ One woman wanted to know how to cook a boneless prime rib. Or the man who was wondering, ‘My recipe says, “Fold in the butter.” What do they mean by “fold?”’
HotBot could probably solve dilemmas of that magnitude (Step 1: Open oven. Step 2: Insert turkey). But for $10 for an instant 30-minute consultation, the service may actually save a dinner party or two, and it’s hard to begrudge clueless home cooks yet another lifeline to save them from the horror of ruining Thanksgiving.
Although, wait. Doesn’t Butterball do that for free?