Rouxbe, a start up from Vancouver, Canada that produces some of the nicest instructional cooking videos I've seen. Founded by Dawn Thomas and Joe Girard, who previously owned a film catering business in Vancouver, Rouxbe's film pedigree shines through.Watch out Food Network, here comes
Initially launched last November, Rouxbe has amassed a library of over 80 professionally produced instructional cooking videos (an out put of about 4 videos per week, if I counted correctly). The videos are presented as multi-part, indexed flash movies in an attractive video player (see this free video for pan-seared cod as an example). Videos are shot mostly from an overhead angle and narrated, step-by-step. Using the player, users can jump to any specific step in the video, pause, rewind, skip, or replay.
Unlike what we are used to when we think of traditional cooking instruction shows, Rouxbe does not have any personalities. The site does not feature a Rachel Ray or an Emeril Lagasse. Instead, the food is the star; the videos focus on the food and the step-by-step actions that take you from ingredients to prepared dish. Videos are accompanied by narration and mellow background music (both of which can be turned off). The site did recently recruit a couple of professional chefs to help produce "celebrity" recipes, but the chefs do not appear in the videos. The celebrity chef videos at Rouxbe are shot in the Rouxbe style -- the recipe is the only thing that comes from outside the company.
Recipes on Rouxbe also come in text form (which can be printed) and users are allowed to rate and comment on recipes. Rouxbe is currently free (registration required for most recipes) but plans to charge a subscription fee. Rouxbe has pledged to to donate 15% of all premium membership dues to "Rouxbe for Life," which is a program that the company founded in order "to make contributions to hunger relief agencies that focus on sustainability, such as school feeding programs in developing countries." The first organization they will be contributing to is the United Nations' World Food Program.
I was really blown away by the quality of the videos at Rouxbe, not just the production values -- which are superb -- but also the quality of the instruction. The videos are easy to follow, the food is appetizing, and the instructions are clear. Rouxbe is a welcome addition to my kitchen arsenal.