Aspiring Chefs, Home Cooks Test Skills on Buy-A-Meal Apps

CookApp, Feastly and EatWith are the latest apps in the growing trend of shared-economy businesses.
7:05 | 12/24/14

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Transcript for Aspiring Chefs, Home Cooks Test Skills on Buy-A-Meal Apps
You're about to meet some brave entrepreneurs who are hosting strangers in their homes. And, they're equally bold customers, willing to try edible experiments. All of which put kitchen skills on the chopping block. These chefs don't have restaurants yet, but if they can handle the heat, it could pay off in cold hard cash. Crab looks really good. Reporter: It's the start of crab season. Fresh as it gets. Reporter: And don Mayfield is hunting for the best shell fish in San Francisco's famous fisherman's wharf. Unless you are eating it on the boat, you can't get much better than that. Reporter: Because today, only the best will do. We have tons of these. Reporter: In just 12 hours, eight strangers are showing up at his doorstep and they'll be hungry. Load them up. Get out of here. Reporter: Across the country, in New York City -- 12:45, we are 15 minutes left before guests start arriving. Reporter: Tamela brewer is scrambling to get ready. We had a little bit of the snafu. The oven turned off. Reporter: These people are eagerly awaiting Sunday brunch. I'm feeling that adrenaline rush. Reporter: But this is not a restaurant, and they are notless ran tours. They are among hundreds of home chefs around the country selling seats at their own dinner table. It's all part of a dining trend that's being called the airbnb of food. Like the house sharing website, apps take a 15% to 20% cut to connect passionate chefs with eaters, and pay less than restaurant prices. I have never taken a cooking class. Reporter: This is all about what you like. This is not what you learned in a book or at a class. Yeah, so, I have no professional, like, cooking experience. The past few years I've had a big interest in food and I wanted to do something with cooking. Reporter: Including possibly owning his own restaurant. But the food business is risky business. Time consuming and expensive. Hopefully get experience. Reporter: For aspiring chefs, siting offer a low risk way to test things out. I want to do the local stuff. Reporter: On this night, don is offering a San francisco-themed dinner. It's half a crab steamed. We have the squid inning pasta, which is seafoody. I made a home made stuffing. Reporter: He's charging $55 a head, plus complimentary wine. A steal for this kind of male. If he pulls it off, that is. So, are you nervous? I don't like to disappoint people. I'm kind of like a perfectionist. Reporter: Still learning, don relies heavily on trial and error. For this meal, he set up shop in his backyard with his brand new steamer. For seafood meals with crabs as the main attraction, timing is everything. It's not really quite ready. Almost. Reporter: And right off the bat, the steamer is giving him trouble. Of course, I forgot my Mitt. Reporter: But this won't set him back. He's still on schedule. Bring them up, make sure -- take one. Reporter: Nope, still not ready. Two more minutes. Reporter: After a rough start, things are fairing better for Pamela's cheese-themed brunch. This is Oma, which is a raw cow's milk cheese. Reporter: Her quiche survived the oven. Will it survive the taste test? The tastakes are high. Pamela quit her job. As much as I was there every day working behind a computer, what I was dreaming about was like what I would be cooking for dinner that night or what I'd be cooking for my friends over the weekend. Reporter: Now, she focused on becoming a TV chef. This is cheese board number one. There's another one coming. Reporter: And her experiences are invaluable. It's been really important in helping me find my voice and then get to meet new people and expose new people to what I do. Reporter: The guests seem to be benefiting, too. I really like the experience. The cheese is delicious. And it is fun to learn about the food. Reporter: There are currently 990,000 licensed restaurants in the U.S., bringing in $680 billion in sales each year. And these new homele lerestaurants are looking to grab a piece of the tie. How popular are your dinners online? Super. I really believe in this since the beginning. Reporter: Marco and dali have been hosting Italian dinners in their New York home since June. Hi, nice to meet you. We're doing two to three dinners and week and we get a full house every time. Reporter: That's amazing. So, now you turned a corner and you're making a profit. Definitely. Reporter: But it sounds like this is more of a brand build for you. You're building the brand for something down the road? Yeah. I love the guys from the west side, I really believe in the website and everything, but for the future, I look at myself and we're trying to build our own personal brand. Don't eat too much. More appetizers. Thank you. Reporter: And tonight, another full house. Roughly a dozen people. I get the same responses back, which is like, wow, this is really magical and I'm really excited to do it again. Reporter: Noah is the founder and CEO of feastly. We're saying, you know, the dinner table is the original social network and we are all having the shared experience. Why not do it together? Reporter: But other shared economy services before them, the growing business of home cooking is unchartered territory. Regulations vary from one city to another. For example, in many cities, home-based restaurants are not eligible for food service permits and run the risk of being shut down. And Noah says in this age of peer to peer commerce, how you define a restaurant or public space is changing. But no matter what, the safety of users is paramount. We vet every cook. And that's everything from going all the way up to actually going and tasting their food and seeing where they're going to do these meals. Reporter: Cooks like don agree. I wouldn't mind having someone come check this place out. Reporter: His first two courses went down well. All right. We're for real this time. We're live. Reporter: It's finally time for the main event. It's all over now. Crab's on the plate. Stuffing, pasta. Done. Wow. Reporter: And the reviews are in. Drum roll, please. Five stars? Five stars. We're coming back. I'm going to tell all of my friends about it. Reporter: So, on a scale of one to five, five stars being the best, what would you give it? Seven. Reporter: And that seven tastes even better served with an unexpected side of good company. I get to meet great people. Folks I never met before, had great conversation. Thank you for coming.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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