The Cookstarter campaign will be fronted by celebrities Gizzi Erskine, Joe Wicks and Katherine Ryan, who will encourage the public to nominate their favourite independent restaurants with indies also encouraged to self-nominate.
The shortlisting and selection process will be handled internally by Gousto, which will evaluate and score restaurants based on responses to questions each entrant is sent shortly after submission.
This long list of restaurants will then be narrowed down by public vote, hosted on Gousto’s social media channels, to find the five Cookstarter restaurants.
Each of the five restaurants selected will work with Gousto’s team to create a recipe that will be available to all Gousto customers in the UK.
The five restaurants will also receive a year-long programme of business coaching support spanning marketing, finance, HR, SEO and social media.
The programme will be delivered by a dedicated 'Board of Mentors' at Gousto, put together by founder and CEO Timo Boldt.
Boldt says Cookstarter has been launched to support the independent restaurants that are “the lifeblood of the UK’s diverse and vibrant food culture”.
“I love what restaurants have been doing. It’s good for variety and choice and it’s also good for the planet because - like our own boxes - there is no wastage. The more the merrier,” he continues.
“Ultimately I believe this is a better way to eat dinner whether it’s from us or directly from a restaurant.“
The market for home cooking kits that Gousto played a major role in establishing in the early 2010s is now booming thanks to the pandemic, with many restaurants now delivering nationwide and a number of third parties launching to help restaurants market and deliver kits.
Gousto has already worked with Wagamama to create versions of some of its dishes, and it seems likely that businesses of its ilk will continue to look to collaborate with restaurants.
For the moment though, Boldt says the Cookstarter campaign is more about helping restaurants through the crisis rather than being a strategic play, although he would not rule out long term collaboration with the five independents if it were beneficial for both parties.
For more information or to nominate a restaurant head here.