Yes, as a matter of fact, there is such a thing. Thanks to the efforts of Lee Allison, members of Google+ now have a cooking show they can follow without leaving the comfort of a Google+ hangout session.
Who needs The Food Network, anyway? Unless it’s for humor purposes, anyway.
As for the Google+ cooking show, courtesy of Lee Allison, its existence was pointed out by Gmail developer, Bella Kazwell (via the NYT tech blog), and it makes use of the Google+ hangout technology that allows multiple G+ members to connect via their webcams, and share whatever they choose.
In Allison’s case, he’s sharing his knowledge of cooking, and judging by his Google+ profile, it looks substantial. As indicated, Allison uses Google+‘s hangout technology to facilitate his classes, which run on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Allison has even started a blog for the show, which is called, quite naturally, the Google+ Cooking School, complete with its own site/blog.
Unfortunately, the videos Allison embedded on his site, which are apparently of past shows, aren’t functioning at the moment. Nevertheless, the reception looks to be strong, so much so, in fact, Allison is looking to expand his hobby into a full-fledged business:
Over the coming weeks, they plan to introduce a start-up called The Social Skillet, which will have classes held through WebEx, the videoconferencing software.
Mr. Allison said they planned to continue holding classes through the Google+ Cooking School, but hope that the Social Skillet classes will help sidestep some of the limitations of Google Hangouts.
This, of course, concerns the webcam limitations and the amount of people who can view these shows at a given time. Google Hangouts limits the audience to 10 people at a time. With the upgraded Social Skillet service, Allison plans to start charging $20 a pop for his hour’s worth of wisdom, and considering the success of his Google+ program–3170 G+ members have Allison in their circles–Allison’s idea has a legitimate chance of making an impact, provided people are willing to pay for something they can watch on cable television for no additional cost.
That isn’t to diminish Allison’s idea, either. Simply put, his Google+ Hangout cooking show is free, and it offers a more exclusive feel with only nine other members sharing in the fun. With Social Skillet, potential viewers will have to pay to be apart of a larger crowd. If that appeals to his Google+ followers, and their desire to learn how to be a “foodie” is strong enough, Allison’s social media cooking show experiment should do well.
It should be noted, however, that not all of Social Skillet’s offerings have a cost associated with them. In an earlier post, Allison invites his followers to migrate over to the Social Skillet program, and that the program being shown was free:
Hey folks! We are just a few hours away (east coast time), from Citrus Salmon and Oriental Green Beans tonight at www.thesocialskillet.com. So there is still time to swing over to the site for your ingredients list, and join us for dinner tonight. And don’t forget, as always, it’s FREEEEE!
Apparently, the pay-to-watch content is limited to the instructional stuff–the Times’ blog entry mentions cooking classes and knife mastery classes–but isn’t showing people how to make citrus salmon and Oriental green beans instructional content as well?
Whatever the case, the idea of combining social media and cooking shows looks like a match made in web content heaven.