SALT LAKE CITY — When Dave Edwards’ grandmother passed away, one of the many things his family missed about her absence were her amazing pecan rolls. She made them every Christmas Eve, but nobody ever learned the recipe while she was living.
Ten years later, while visiting his in-laws, Edwards tasted a pecan roll nearly identical to his grandmother’s. He found out that a woman in the neighborhood made and sold them during Christmas and Easter. It was Edwards’ first exposure to the idea of home chefs — people who cook and bake at home, then sell their goods to neighbors.
Inspired by his experience using Uber, Edwards has created an app that connects home chefs to people who like to eat: Slapup.
“I kind of had this discovery that there are a lot of people that are passionate about making food,” Edwards said. “(I thought), this could be a way for people to make some side money doing something they love.”
While the idea is to connect people in a community, home chefs do have to comply with food safety laws. People interested in selling their baked goods on the app must get a food handlers permit, meet cleaning and safety guidelines and set up a time for a state inspector to visit. While downloading the app and signing up to receive deliveries is free, chefs do have to pay for their food handlers permit but can typically set their own prices on food.
In addition to complying with state laws, Edwards and his business partner, Sam Christensen, also visit potential chefs in their home. All food is subject to a taste test, most often taking place at a public “tasting,” where multiple chefs bring their baked goods that are rated by fellow bakers and food-lovers.
“One of the reasons we do these tastings is … we want to know everybody who lists something on our app,” Edwards said. “I feel like, by knowing somebody, you have a really good idea as to what kind of person you’re dealing with, and we want to make sure that we only have high-quality chefs. … You learn a lot about someone from their food.”
Kay Clayton was one of the first chefs to sell on the app. Her specialty? Homemade rolls. Clayton said her friends and family would often request she make rolls, so when she learned about Edwards’ new app, she thought she would try to make a little money. So far, she said her experience has been great.
“I was thinking about … going back out into the workforce and getting a job again and I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do and when this opportunity opened up it was just perfect,” Clayton said. “I get to make my own schedule, sell as much or as little as I’d like, and (I’m) pretty much my own boss.”
Chefs using the app can specify which days they will be baking and delivering; most chefs deliver only one or two days a week. For people who need an order outside the specific days, though, Clayton said she typically accepts special orders through direct message on Instagram.
Chefs can also choose where they deliver. Beverly Holloway was the first chef to deliver to Bluffdale, where she lives, but she also delivers to Herriman, Riverton and South Jordan. Her daughter Katie Malbica — who lives in Eagle Mountain and delivers to Lehi and Saratoga Springs — often bakes with her mom and was the one who told her about the app.
Holloway said she loves the connection food creates between people, whether between fellow bakers or with consumers ordering food for the first time.
“I think it’s great to see what everybody’s making and to hear their enthusiasm or their story about (why they bake),” Holloway said. “And then when I do a delivery … you meet the people … and they’ll say, ‘Oh this is my first time and this is really cool,’ or … (they) order regularly.”
For now, unfortunately, Holloway as a user doesn’t get to benefit much from other people's baked goods as she is one of only two chefs in Bluffdale. But the creators of Slapup hope to soon change that.
“As we build up our chef network, I think it’s going to be easier for more people to learn about us and get pretty excited about the possibilities of what they can order and what kind of food can show up at their homes on the app,” Edwards said.
App users can see a list of all zip codes Slapup chefs currently deliver to. And when users enter their address, the app will also pull up information about the baked goods chefs available in their area.
Christensen worked on a startup once before that didn’t pan out and she feels Slapup is different.
“I have confidence in the project because (of) … the people. Because (we’re) involving more and more people and … helping them share things that bring them joy,” Christensen said. “We’re really just giving Slapup as a vehicle for those home chefs to be able to share what brings them joy. And who doesn’t love that?”