Nick Taranto thinks you should cook your own dinner tonight. He even thinks you might pay him for the privilege. At 28, Mr. Taranto already has a double-Ivy education (Dartmouth, Harvard) and served in the Marines; he was a microfinancier in Indonesia and a private wealth adviser on Wall Street.
Now his professional focus is on perfecting recipes for maple-glazed salmon and Mexican lasagna — and on how his new e-commerce business, Plated, will buy, measure, cut, chill, box and ship every ingredient to your door. All the home cook has to do, in theory, is click on “order,” open a box and follow a recipe.
This ready-to-cook meal is called the dinner kit. And Plated — along with a host of similar new services, including Blue Apron, Chefday! and HelloFresh — is the latest in a stream of technological innovations and corporate interventions, from the cake mix to the cookbook app, that have long promised to relieve Americans of kitchen drudgery while retaining the flavor and cachet of home cooking.