‘Food for My Friends’ makes entertaining easy

From left to right, FoodForMyFriends.com founders Kate McMahon, Cheryl Williams and Amy Kallesten

From left to right, FoodForMyFriends.com founders Kate McMahon, Cheryl Williams and Amy Kallesten

Entertaining guests can be quite the task when it comes to setting the right date, maintaining a guest list and planning a full meal for all those involved. Now a new website strives to streamline the process by providing an all-inclusive platform for entertainers.

FoodForMyFriends.com is designed to allow users to create, plan and manage their social gatherings all in one place with an emphasis on easy communication with friends.

Greenwich resident and CEO Amy Kallesten launched the site along with friends Kate McMahon and Cheryl Williams. A frequent entertainer, Ms. Kallesten said she was inspired to create the site as she worked to satisfy the dietary requirement of her guests, something that many Greenwich residents have to deal with as they try to prepare for everything from the smallest dinner party to the biggest function.

But for Ms. Kallesten this was a particular challenge since she entertained so often. She said she regularly invited members of her community supported agriculture (CSA) farm share to a dinner featuring items from the most recent delivery. While preparing dinner for as many as two dozen guests, she said she found it challenging to keep track of all of their specific needs.

“My husband and I really enjoy entertaining. We entertain as much as we can, so it was just a natural idea that came to be. That’s how the idea got started and it just grew each year until we were seating 24 people at our home for dinner going ‘What do you eat again?’” Ms. Kallesten said. “Phone calls, emails, trying to make sure everyone felt comfortable sitting at our table knowing that when they arrived at our house, there’d be food.”

Guests attending an event managed through FoodForMyFriends can inform the host of their dietary restrictions such as allergies or gluten intolerance via the website, and even share receipes. This way, the host can easily compile a list of off-limits items or favorite dishes and provide an ideal spread for their friends days in advance.

“No guest wants to seem ungrateful or perceived as being difficult for the type of diet they choose or need to eat. We created FoodForMyFriends.com to save both hostess and guest from having to have that awkward conversation,” Ms. McMahon, the site’s acting CFO and co-founder, said in a statement.

Food for My Friends also provides public receipes for those searching for tasty alternatives to certain food items. Users may direct the search specifically for low cholesterol, egg-free, peanut-free or diabetic criteria as well as many more options. A built-in rating system allows users to rank their favorite receipes, and leave comments for others to see before they try a new dish.

After seeking out receipes, hosts can use them to create a unique menu for an event, sort them into a specific box for later use or add the ingredients directly to a shopping list for easy use. Additionally, the website is designed to be smartphone and tablet ready, eliminating the need for additional apps or software.

The website enjoyed its official launch on Aug. 8, and has seen interest not only from users in Fairfield and Westchester counties but nationwide as well. Currently operating in beta, the growth of FoodForMyFriends.com will depend on user feedback to define its future direction.

“We saw a 60% growth rate in week one, so we believe that there are other people out there seeking the same solution,” Ms. Kallesten said. “This is really is a community that exists and is waiting to come together. So we really believe that whatever our community tells us their needs are, it’s our job to follow through on that. Any type growth or development or next step is really going to come in based on what people are asking for, the ways they’re using our site; we’ll just listen to them and respond.”

Food for My Friends launched an Indiegogo crowd-sourcing campaign to connect directly with potential users and spread the word about the site’s capabilities. The campaign will be accepting donations until 11:59 p.m. Aug. 22, and offers rewards for contributions. To donate visit: Indiegogo.com/projects/food-for-my-friends-helps-you-share-accommodate-dietary-requirements.

The women behind Food for My Friends will be at the Black Rock Farmers’ Market Sept. 20 from 9 to 1, and invite all who are interested to come and learn more about the site from its founders.

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