BakeSpace Launches Mentor Program for Home Chefs; Creates New Recipe for Food Social Networking : Novice Chefs Now Have a Place to Get Free Help from Fellow Foodies

Share Article – launched in August 2006 as the Web’s first food-centric social network and recipe swap – today introduced a new design and a range of features including a first-of-its-kind food mentor program that makes it easy for cooking and baking enthusiasts to help one another improve their skills in the kitchen.

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Our new mentor program makes it easy for them to connect and learn from their more experienced peers, while discovering new friends along the way.

"A lot of home chefs want to learn new skills, but don't know where to turn for help," said BakeSpace Founder Babette Pepaj. "Our new mentor program makes it easy for them to connect and learn from their more experienced peers, while discovering new friends along the way."

Those who have knowledge to share can create a mentor profile tagged to specific types of foods and cooking techniques. When people browse BakeSpace's database of member-submitted recipes and find a tasty recipe, they also find a list of related tips and mentors eager to share advice and encouragement. Members looking for help can also browse the mentor section directly to find mentors based on a variety of search criteria.

"With today's hectic, high-tech lifestyle, it seems like there's less time to hang out in the kitchen and learn how to cook the old-fashioned way," Pepaj added. "The mentor program, like the rest of BakeSpace, preserves the age-old tradition of gathering in the kitchen to prepare food, share skills and socialize. On BakeSpace, great recipes are just the beginning of the journey."

The mentor program is part of's first head-to-toe makeover since the site, which earned back-to-back Webby Award honors in 2007 and 2008, launched nearly two years ago. In addition to a new homepage design and logo, other features introduced today improve customization, navigation and sponsor integration.

Customization – BakeSpace's Unique "Recipe Feed™" Feature

From day one, BakeSpace has been based on a unique recipe-swap platform that feeds each member's latest recipes automatically to the online "kitchens" of members in his or her network of BakeSpace friends. Called the "Recipe Feed," this newsfeed-style system for swapping recipes helps members stay up-to-speed on what their friends are preparing in the kitchen.

With today's redesign, the Recipe Feed has been expanded so members can automatically receive not just their friends' recipes, but also the latest recipes from the entire BakeSpace community in specific recipe categories. When a member selects a Recipe Feed category, the latest corresponding recipes automatically start to appear in the "My Recipe Feed" box in his or her online kitchen. Selected recipe categories can be changed to accommodate dietary and lifestyle preferences, seasonal traditions, etc. Like the mentor program, BakeSpace's Recipe Feed enhances utility, social interaction and community building.

"The Recipe Feed does more than just satisfy your craving for great recipes… it personalizes the BakeSpace experience and helps you connect with like-minded peers," added Pepaj. "It's the online equivalent of having friends stop by your kitchen each day to chat and swap recipes."

In addition to customizing their private online "kitchen" with friend and category-based Recipe Feeds, members can also tailor their public BakeSpace profile seen by other members and visitors to the site. It's now easier than ever to add backgrounds, slide shows, videos, music and a range of other personalized elements. BakeSpace is unique among food-themed online communities in enabling members to add elements beyond simple photos.

"Our members are as unique and diverse as the recipes they post on the site, and most want their profiles to reflect their personality," added Pepaj. "They don't want anything 'cookie-cutter' about their kitchen, whether it's at home or online."

Site Navigation

With the addition of the new Mentor program, BakeSpace is now configured into five sections:

Recipes Mentors Conversations Members My Kitchen Integration within and between sections has been improved with additional navigation bars, while recipe browsing and sorting has been enhanced with navigation channels that sort recipes by various categories and themes. The new homepage design introduced today also makes it easier to see at a glance what's new in the various sections.

Sponsor Integration:

Over the past year, BakeSpace has hosted a series of unique promotions for brands such as KitchenAid, Universal, Sara Lee, FOX Searchlight and McCormick's. Most recent was a promotion with ABC's "Desperate Housewives" in which BakeSpace members could swap recipes inspired by the show with Bree, Edie, Susan and the other lead characters. The redesign introduced today makes it easier for sponsors to create organic promotions that engage with members and add value to the BakeSpace community. Pepaj continued, "You could say that we have developed a new 'recipe' for brand integration."

Members on BakeSpace range from teenagers just starting to explore the culinary lifestyle to great-grandparents who want to share and catalogue their treasured family recipes. The common thread is a passion for food and a desire to connect and learn from one another.

Pepaj added, "The features introduced and expanded today preserve BakeSpace's grassroots feel while helping our members connect in new and exciting ways. The goal is to create an environment where people come for the food, but stay for the conversation."

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Erik Deutsch
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