Rouxbe claims to be “The Recipe to Better Cooking” but is it?
The concept is simple: technique is better communicated by video than text. Recipes only workif you know what you are doing.
It is beautiful, no doubt, with a dean & delucca-like clean and airy design. In many ways it is a shining example of desing best practices – recipes are broekn out step by step, so you can watch each part once or twice before tyring to coopy. And the food videos are gorgeous, shot in that soft-porn style that has made food-peddlers from saveur to rachel ray sucesses.
But of course they have their weaknesses, disguised by elegant user expereince and a lightweight airy desing that owes as much to Getty Images as it does to Dean and Delucca.
First off, I don’t want to cook from my laptop any more than I have to. I have a small enough machine and a big enough kitchen (barely!) my laptop can come onto the counter. But this is bad news:
A simple solution might be just to unpack the videos into printable recipes with screenshots. But this raises the real problem of Rouxbe. They are too pretty.
Those video recipes are gorgeous. They will take too long and cost too much to light, shoot and cut (not to mention the need for a ‘food stylist’.) The addition of making illustrated text versions will further drive up cost. This is an unhealthy proposition for a start up.
It also hurts their ability to gather user-generated content. They set the bar too high– how am I going to feel posting my “how ot prepare fava beans” shot on my digital camera with its video feature? Boom, they’ve just locked themselves out of both a source of free content and a way to deeply engage their audience.
Design is not enough. But for now… look at that sexy halibut, scantily glad in frisee. Oooh, baby!