Whether you fancy yourself America's next Master Chef or would just like to make some spare cash from your home cooking, social dining sites such as HomeDine could be just what you're looking for.
Part of the underground dining movement, HomeDine connects hungry diners with budding Jamie Oliver-types who host dinner parties in their very own homes.
Why social dining?
The home dining concept is pretty simple. Instead of going out to a restaurant to eat, you go to someone's house. The idea is to share not only a home-cooked meal but a unique social experience where you meet new people and experience a different way of living.
For travelers, it's a way to really get to know a city and experience a new culture by meeting local people, seeing how they live, and eating traditional food. For home cooks it's a way to be social, hone your cooking skills, and make some spare cash working from home.
So how does it work?
As a cook, you simply create an account with HomeDine; create a meal by setting the date, venue, price and menu; and invite people to join via your social networks. You can then choose to set your event to public or private. If you choose public, the site will publish your event, making it available to diners browsing meals in your area.
Show me the money!
But how will you earn and how will you be paid?
How much you choose to charge for your event is entirely up to you. This will depend on your menu, whether alcohol is included, and how unique your venue and experience are.
Events could be anything from an organic vegan feast to a kosher cooking class, a sushi-making sake party, or a family-style Puerto Rican fiesta. It's really only limited by your imagination.
Most meals generally range from between $20–80, although there is the odd free meal or more expensive event, such as a six-course dinner and cocktails by a professional chef or a cruise on a private yacht.
HomeDine confirms bookings and handles money securely through PayPal, taking a small service fee of 10 percent. Your personal details such as address and phone number are only shown to guests once they are booked and have paid for their meal.
What other sites offer home dining?
HomeDine is just one of many sites and apps offering social dining experiences and the chance for you to be paid as a freelance cook. Other popular sites include EatWith, Cookening and Eat With a Local, and catering site Kitchensurfing, which allows you to book yourself out to cater events.
This is a guest post by Katie from Villa de Las Rosas, Argentina