Earlier this month, Paolo Cantele and Cantele’s English-language blogger attended the launch of a new and truly innovative app called Sottocuoco in Lecce (Salento, Puglia).

The concept is as simple as it is brilliant: The app allows users (known as forchette or forks) to connect with professional chefs and home cooks who, for a fee, will either deliver a meal to your home or visit your home to prepare a meal in your own kitchen.

The start-up was inspired by a new trend that is spreading rapidly across Italy and Europe: Mostly through word-of-mouth, career chefs and food professionals have been making extra money by working as private chefs and caterers; and talented home cooks, who abound in Italy where creative and traditional home cooking is considered much more than just a pastime, have been following in the footsteps of their career and professional counterparts.

Not only is the concept so promising and appealing that it has attracted major investment from Italian venture capitalists, but it has also received an endorsement from one of Italy’s leading high tech pioneers, Matteo Achilli, who has been dubbed the “Italian Mark Zuckerberg” by the Italian media.

Matteo was one of the featured speakers at the launch earlier this month in Lecce. He pointed out that the overwhelming majority of Italian start-ups are based in northern Italy. The fact that Sottocuoco is being launched from Salento, he said, makes the project all the more alluring.

The name sottocuoco is a play-on-words. In a technical context, it means sous chef, the second-in-command to the chef de cuisine. But in the context of the app, it can also be read to mean chef cured or by extension chef curated (akin to sotto aceto meaning vinegar cured [vegetables]).

Here at the Cantele blog, we’ll be following this exciting new Lecce-based app and start-up and we’ll post news and updates as they come in.

In the meantime, check out the site and register here. Heading to Italy for an Air B&B vacation? Sottocuoco is the ideal way to connect with local chefs!

Image via the Sottocuoco Facebook.