Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a list of frequently asked questions that we get as the Chef Seattle. Most of the questions here are those that are not directly answered on our other informational pages. If you have any questions about our organization, please contact us through email or on our forum.

Why the name "Chef Seattle"?

The coffee part of our name comes from the fact that Seattle is known for it’s coffee. Starbucks, Tully’s and Seattle’s Best Coffee (SBC) are all based on Seattle. The city also has so many coffee shops and cafes that you can often find multiple shops on the same block or across from each other to buy coffee. Seattle is also home to numerous boutique coffee roasters and organic coffee distributors that it’s nearly impossible to sample all the various types of coffee available throughout the city.

The word cabal is often used to describe a secretive society or league of individuals conspiring together. For these reasons, we thought that the Chef Seattle would be a nice tongue-in-cheek reference to our city and it’s coffee society.

Why are you focused on restaurant reviews and not something else, like selling goods or services instead?

Every business has a niche of some kind and we are no different. We decided to start off with restaurant reviews because we know food pretty well and our research overhead (travel, dining, writing and photography) is fairly low. Plus, though we consider eating out a luxury of sorts, it is still a fulfillment of daily human necessity. In other words- everyone has to eat.

Why are you only available to the Seattle area?

Our site is about Seattle primarily because we live in the greater Seattle area and know our city (or so we think). Even though cities like New York or San Francisco are larger markets, we couldn’t ever know the cities intimately even with hours of research and the internet at our fingertips. We feel the reverse is true as well however, which is that other sites don’t know Seattle like we know it.

The other reason is that by focusing on Seattle, we are truly embracing the concept of a local economy. If we did focus on New York for instance, we would likely be taking ad revenue from NY advertisers and bringing them into the Seattle economy. Of course, this would be a plus for Seattle to have more influx of money, but our goal is to have a balanced trade. By keeping things local, we benefit local businesses, consumers and charities all at once.

How do we know that your profits are actually going to charities?

The Chef Seattle will make a full-on effort to make our finances records available at the end of the fiscal year. Our donations will be updated monthly however, showing the recipient and also the amount of the donation. To provide even more accountability, we will require an acknowledgement from our donor and have it scanned or faxed to us and will have it posted on the site; or we will require that the recipient acknowledge our donation on their website.

In a few scenarios, we will even attempt to have donations bypass our organization completely, so that the donors may receive the benefits of a tax write-off. During these events, the effort will be made to have the charity or non-profit provide us with an acknowledgement letter as well, showing the totals of donations made on behalf of our efforts.

Where does funding for the Chef Seattle come from?

The Chef Seattle is privately funded. We do not accept donations, grants or venture capital. There are, nor will there ever be plans to sell the site or take it public.

How much of your profits and revenues go to charity?

A full 100% of our profits go to charitable or non-profit type organizations as well as 20% of our revenues. We feel this is an adequate balance for a social venture organization, as we are not in the business to create additional profits, but we are do need to keep enough of our revenues in order to sustain our business, especially during the first few years.

If you want to make the most money possible, shouldn’t you have ambitions to be the next MySpace or FaceBook?

While we do have large ambitions, we are not focusing on mass communities nor are we interested in the for-profit ambitions of such sites. These popular sites have their place on the internet, which is to build large networks of people together on a macro level. As a result, there can only be so many MySpace or Facebook sites that exist on the web. Not only that, there are literally dozens of copycat clones that pop up each day wanting to take place as the next ‘big thing’ that creates a rat race of start-ups all clamoring for their day in the sun.

The Chef Seattle isn’t interested in that type of atmosphere nor do we believe that our mission relates closely to that of the major social networking sites. Our target audience are specifically Seattlelites that have either food interests or are progressive thinkers and idealists.

Are you a social networking site?

Yes and no. Chef Seattle is not meant primarily to be a social networking site. Members are able to communicate with one another through our site, but that isn’t the main focus of our site. We feel the other sites are better positioned and developed to perform the functions of social networking that we are. Our plan is to have a forum, member profiles and more importantly real life meet-ups (we’re all in Seattle, after all) that can facilitate communication.

When do you expect to be profitable?

Since we can’t exactly be profitable by donating all of our profits, we are hoping to ‘break even’ in two to three years. Our expenses are considerably lower than the cost of most start-ups, though our target scope is also much narrower as well. Much of our success rides on our ability to market ourselves and get word out about our project, so we can only hope that it’s an idea people will be interested in.

Why does your home page have "the Meaning of Life" in the title?

We have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. :)

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