Zynga's ChefVille Launching This Week. Get Ready to Eat Your Virtual Heart Out

Image credit: Zynga

Sure, you can build a virtual farm in FarmVille or a city in CityVille, but do those really hit the spot?

Zynga, the company behind those other Villes, is now launching ChefVille, the restaurant equivalent of those other titles. You're more than just the chef when you play - you're the restaurant owner, designer, and manager as well. The goal is to create your dream restaurant.

"The lure of owning a restaurant has become a popular culture mainstay. From books to reality cooking shows, people's interest in owning a restaurant is at an all-time high," ChefVille General Manager Jonathan Knight told ABC News. "ChefVille brings that dream of owning a restaurant to life - complete with ingredient cultivation and specialization, dish mastery and customer service - without the actual growing pains of owning a real restaurant."

You choose the cuisine (American, Italian, French, etc.), the decor, and the items on the menu. As in Farmville or Cityville, you are given the tools you need to build your own restaurant, and as the game progresses, your Facebook friends help by coming to dine at your restaurant and contributing ingredients.You will also be able to buy food and ingredients in the game with real money.

But there is more of a real-world tie in with ChefVille than the other Villes. The "Game to Table" feature emails real recipes to you once you reach a certain level. There are more than 50 real recipes you can earn.

To start, ChefVille will be dominated by your friends' own virtual restaurants, but Zynga might get a bit more creative in what other restaurants you can dine at or what chefs serve you.

"While we can't discuss any specific plans, we see a great opportunity to bring in well-known chefs, restaurants and brands from the culinary world into the game. We're already calling on our players to submit their own recipes to potentially be included in ChefVille," Knight said. So don't be surprised if Emeril or McDonalds pop up.

Zynga, which recently went public, has faced criticism about its ability to earn money. The company is planning to launch a number of board games in partnership with Hasbro during the holidays.

ChefVille launches this week. And the best part? You don't have to be careful about how much you eat, your avatar forever stays slim!

Note: An earlier version of this article suggested that an avatar might gain weight. That's not the case.