BonAppetour: Dine in the Homes of Locals: A Place to Find a Home Cooked Meal Abroad
By Danielle Aihini
Cofounders Rinita Vanjre and Inez Wihardjo came up with the idea for BonAppetour, ‘an online social platform where a global community of hosts and guests bond over authentic home-cooked food’, while traveling in Europe.
“On our travels, we also realized that many times, we didn’t know what was the best food to try, or where to find the best local delicacies.
We felt that we learned so much from our local hosts on Airbnb and Blablacar that we started thinking about how it would be to dine with local family at their homes, and learn from them directly about the food culture – that inspired us to start BonAppetour,” said Vanjre.
BonAppetour finds new hosts by having their ambassadors attend “demo dinners” to verify the dining experience, the quality of the host, and the overall experience offered. Currently, the company offers hosts from 40 different countries in Europe, Oceania, Asia, Africa, North America, and South America. They are continuously adding cities based on requests from the traveler community.
Hosts apply to be a part of the BonAppetour platform and can create a dining experience they would like to offer to guests. Local country managers recruit hosts in their cities to the company.
How It Works
The process of booking a dining experience with BonAppetour starts by
exploring home restaurants on the website. After choosing a country, you will find a list of upcoming dinner parties.
Each dinner party will list what will be on the menu, an experience overview, location and neighborhood, a small biography on the host, and host reviews.
You must be registered to the site to book a dining experience. Once you have done that, you connect with the hosts, confirm dates and make payment through BonAppetour’s secured services. The next and final step is to visit and indulge in authentic home-cooked food.
The prices in Europe range from 20 USD onwards. On average, according to Vanjre, a dining experience is 35 USD. Guest Julie Stante says she has found the restaurant experience in Rome to be hit and miss, and largely more of a miss than a hit. She has traveled extensively through the US, the UK, and Europe.
“When friends were flying into Rome to join my husband and I here, I began looking for a dining experience that would wow our friends,” said Stante. “I came upon the BonAppetour site and was delighted to see the various menu’s and possible venue’s, e.g. picnic’s alongside the sea, a meal on the Tiber river and of course the in-home dining experience.”
Stante and her husband arranged a meal with Simona and her husband Alfredo in Rome and were extremely pleased with their experience.
Dinner in Rome
“Right from the very first minute we arrived both Simona and Alfredo were welcoming. Simona’s level of culinary expertise would rival and exceed many of the restaurants in Rome should she choose to open up one of her own,” said Stante. “The booking process was seamless and very user friendly so event he most inexperienced computer user would feel comfortable in booking.”
Vanjre suggests that travelers book their dining experience at least a couple of days in advance so that the host has time to prepare. Her favorite part of the business has been meeting with the hosts.
“They are in love with the ideas as it gives them the chance to showcase their cooking skills and culture to people from around the world, and also to meet new people, exchange stories, and form new friendships,” said Vanjre.
Dinner with Amrita
Guest Daniel Rouquette heard about BonAppetour from a friend. He searched the website for home meals in Singapore and found more than he had hoped for. He decided to dine with Amrita and was more than happy with his choice.
“I have tried many Indian restaurants before but Amrita beats them all with home made cuisine. She will serve you more dishes than you can eat, all succulent. You might end up eating more than you should, but you’ll make your brain and belly happy” he said. Rouquette said he left her place feeling like he was saying goodbye to a friend.
“Great view, excellent food and good company: what could you ask for more? That’s was my first dining experience thanks to BonAppetour. It won’t be my last,” said Rouquette.
BonAppetour is offering a 20% discount on dining experiences around the world to GoNOMAD readers with the exclusive coupon code: GONOMAD.
Check out the website for more information at www.bonappetour.com and to book your next BonAppetour dining experience!
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Danielle Aihini is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is a content specialist at Robin, a software company in Charlestown, Mass.