Luis Gonzalez is visiting us at Impact Hub Stockholm for 3 weeks as part of a European mentorship program for early-stage entrepreneurs. Landing on Sunday, Luis’ passion for cooking and hospitality shows. He’s been working hard in the kitchen making paella de pollo for lunch and dinner to feed the social entrepreneurs who work in our office and the visitors who are at Stockholm Food Movement tonight.
His startup, Coolinarea, is a lot like Gastronaut in some respects. He finds local cooks and make their cuisine available to the public. But while the team at Gastronaut markets their food as authentic international meals to Stockholmers, Coolinarea differentiates its service by focusing on local produce and supporting local producers – thereby providing a geographically unique dining experience for travellers who are searching for an ingrained cultural experience that belies the true local culture.
“Does anybody here use Airbnb or Tinder? It’s more or less the same idea, but we are trying to get travellers to get a real idea of their destination city. You have the feeling of going to visit some friends like an expat family or Erasmus students. Now you have the feeling that you know how these people are living – how the dolce vita life is in Italy… I’m with people from here and I know that if I was alone, I would not get the same opportunity. We are selecting chefs that try to use food products from the region – from their city or from their area.”
“There is a trend for trying to consume products that are not from 3,000km away, but from the local region.”
– Luis Gonzalez, Coolinarea
Despite the vast array of products available as a result of globalisation, consumers have been turning toward supporting local, and often more ethical businesses, at the expense of mass-production from multinational conglomerates. From illegal working conditions and inhumane treatment of livestock, to the overuse of synthetic chemical applications and poor environmental stewardship; people in more wealthy nations are leveraging their purchasing power to cast their vote for higher standards in all areas.
Coolinarea will be launching in Spain in three months. The current focus is to validate the platform and to optimise the system to ensure that cooks have enough time to prepare for events when they are booked.
Although there are currently 15 cooks registered in Malaga, with more interested parties based in Granada and Madrid, the team hopes to first expand throughout southern Spain. But to ensure their success, Luis says “we have to prove that they (the cooks) have culinary skills, and they can show something more than food so that people see a special environment and atmosphere.”