Hands-on: Tastemade turns everyone into a food TV star

To some, food is fuel, and eating is primarily a pragmatic affair; but for others, the culinary arts are a matter of discovery and pleasure worth seeking at every opportunity.

If you happen to belong to this second category, the folks behind a new free app called Tastemade (App Store link) have got your back.

Everyone is a critic

Tastemade is an app that essentially allows you to create your own TV show, featuring your favorite restaurants. You start by selecting an establishment through the built-in Foursquare-powered search, and then choose one of several video templates that the app provides.

From there, Tastemade guides you through steps required to record your masterpiece, suggesting both what to shoot and for how long. (The app might suggest you shoot several few-second-long clips of your entrée, or the restaurant’s décor, for example.) Once you have captured your raw footage, the app edits it into a professional-quality clip, which runs about a minute long and comes with its own, automatically provided soundtrack and titles.

Here’s a sample of what the finished product looks like. Remember, these videos are assembled entirely on an iPhone:

The app’s reliance on templates that have obviously been designed by professionals makes it easy for just about anyone to end up with excellent video material using a minimum of equipment and know-how. Even if you are not Anthony Bourdain, or don’t have the resources of the Food Network to back your efforts, chances are that your video will look much better than if you were to just pop open the Camera app and record yourself ranting and raving for ten minutes.

Tastemade uses professional templates to guide you through the creation of high-quality content.

Raves, not reviews

Tastemade is not geared towards your run-of-the-mill reviews—a market that is crowded with many competitors, from Yelp to Google.

Instead, the app’s focus is on showcasing the restaurants you love to patronize—and love to talk about. “We want to enable you to create a celebration of your favorite places,” says Joe Perez, one of the co-founders of the eponymous company behind Tastemade, whom Macworld reached by phone for a brief interview. “Our goal is to condense the 22-minute format of TV down to one minute, and allow people to create their own shows.”

Of course, nothing stops users from trying to game the system by recording materials that do not fit the app’s mold, but the company is ready to ensure that only those who play fair will reach a broad audience; “We look at every video that crosses through the system,” says Perez, “and only feature those that follow [our] format.” Not to worry, though—even if you don’t get featured, you can still share your episodes with your friends.

Social and global

The app pays great attention to detail and features a user interface that is easy to understand and very functional.

How does Tastemade plan on making money? In one word: advertising. Given the quality of the content that the app can generate, Perez expects that prospective advertisers will want to associate their brands with the project and bring their revenues along for the ride.

From the looks of it, Tastemade is off to a delicious start. The Tastemade app takes the pain out of generating good content, and it does it for free—which gives the company an opportunity to attract users who have the talents but not the means to be the next great food critic, without the need for the massive resources of a TV network behind them.

Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET to correct an error. Tastemade’s restaurant data is powered by Foursquare, not Yelp.

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