I don’t cook often, but once in a while, I’ll come across a recipe on YouTube or TikTok that I’m curious to try making from scratch as a weekend project. Some of these cooking stints have materialised into successful gyudon or japchae dinners, or failed eggs benedict.
One of the more taxing parts of cooking for me is in finding the ingredients. I’m sometimes required to visit multiple stores, and the high cost of stocking up on something I may only use once before it expires can be wasteful.
All of the time and resources exerted throughout the journey can end up demotivating me to even make the dish in the end.
This is just one issue CookX Asia (CookX) aims to solve through its social cooking app.
An end-to-end cooking service
When asked about CookX’s market validation to launch, co-founder Wong Yew Mun said, “The consumers’ preference to learn a new cooking recipe has been proven in USA as evident by the Tasty app which has more than 100 million followers on their Facebook and more than 30 million views a month on their YouTube channel.”
“Locally, we have been seeing our parents watching cooking and baking shows on TV when we were kids (easily 20-30 years ago).”
On its website, CookX claims to be an all-in-one social cooking app for food lovers and foodpreneurs.
Yew Mun explained to Vulcan Post, “The all-in-one feature in CookX is referring to the end-to-end user experience from learning how to cook or bake via the cooking videos [on the app] instead of the conventional wordy instruction manuals.”
The experience extends to also provide consumers with the convenience of getting the exact ingredients in the exact amounts delivered to their doorstep at their preferred time. CookX calls these meal kits “EcoPacks”.
Users can register as a creator to share their recipes, create Tasty-style cooking videos to demonstrate the step-by-step process of making them, and sell their ready-made dishes or the EcoPacks mentioned above.
For creators selling EcoPacks, CookX also helps with sourcing, packaging, and logistics (via Lalamove) of delivering the meal kits to customers. Deliveries from CookX’s dark store work on a scheduling basis where users can order their ready-made meals or EcoPacks within one hour to 14 days in advance.
The main idea of CookX is so home cooks can learn from the community and support one another while making purchases for food on the platform.
In a way, this also helps its creators earn a side income as CookX pays its creators a 10% loyalty commission for every order made from their recipe on the app.
A look at the app
Honestly speaking, CookX came off to me as an app trying to do too much. That’s by no means a bad thing, but I was curious to find out how it was fitting so many features into a single app.
When you first enter, there will be some game-like instructions pointing out the different blocks on the home screen, showing you where each feature can be found. The “Discover” tab showcases recipes you can find and ready-made food to pre-order in a carousel form so you can preview photos of the listings you may find.
What appeared out of place on the app that I thought was meant for home cooks, was that there were larger F&B establishments like Dewan 1958, Cafe Chef Wan, and Kanteen also featured on the app. I had to find out from Yew Mun, how exactly do these larger-scale businesses fit into the community?
He briefly shared that CookX is meant to complement these restaurants’ wide range of products offered at their businesses. Some of them even have meal kits that are lesser-known to consumers, which CookX’s EcoPacks could help market.
The CookX app has only been officially launched for a month now, so the number of recipes and creators currently listed is limited. CookX, through the account “XChefs” has also released its own recipes to populate the app.
Then there’s a “Bulletin” tab for creators to share and advertise the food they’re selling. Clicking on a listing directs you to their contact details so that consumers can order the food directly from the advertisement.
Technically, anyone can register as a creator as long as they have the required details like their business’s name and address on hand. After the registration is done, creators can begin uploading their recipes and videos, which will then be vetted through by CookX’s admin to ensure the recipes are legitimate.
“We do not intend to be like YouTube where it is ‘free for all’ kind of posting of videos,” Yew Mun stated. “We want an experience for users where every recipe posted in our app is ‘bake-able’ and ‘cook-able’ recipes.”
While this slows down the content contributions to the app, the team is adamant about providing good quality content which they believe will go a long way in building a good base of followers.
“Our year-end goal is to have at least 500 recipe contents and more than 100 creators. With these numbers, we let the users decide if they like what we do,” Yew Mun stated.
Do Malaysians still want meal kits?
During the lockdowns, many F&B operators began releasing meal kits for Malaysians to cook their restaurant’s dishes from home. With Malaysians now able to dine out more and having less time to cook at home, what potential does Yew Mun foresee in EcoPacks on CookX Asia?
“I agree that there are more dine-out preferences now after the lockdown, but we still strongly believe in the long-term demand for homecooked and baked food with the added convenience factor,” he said.
Yew Mun elaborated that meal kits are just one of the possible products that F&B operators and recipe owners can release.
“Imagine the possibility of the chef in a Chinese restaurant doing a live show of how to cook a Peking duck with 500 aunties, uncles, cook-wannabes dialling in from their respective 500 homes. And of course, the restaurant here is the one that supplied 500 packs of Peking duck together with their sauces,” he imagined.
Calling it a “chef-on-demand” feature, Yew Mun shared that this is already in CookX’s planning once the team has built the base with their content creators.
“Our underlying goal is to create this social cooking ecosystem that is not only benefiting the creators and users but also helping the environment via food wastage reduction,” Yew Mun concluded.
Featured Image Credit: Wong Yew Mun, co-founder CookX Asia