These Boston friends just made Tinder for food

Tinder, but for food.
Tinder, but for food.
Photo courtesy of Tender Food and Recipes/iPhone Screenshot

Maple cardamom glazed salmon?

Swipe right.

Beet smoothie with orange and fennel?

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Swipe left.

Mediterranean beef ragout?

Ehhh, Swipe left.

Barbecue biscuit with soft-fried egg?

...

Swipe right.

The concept of Tender is simple: it’s Tinder, but for food.

It was designed by three Boston friends—Jordan Homan, Necco Ceresani, and David Blumenfield—who met as freshman roommates at the College of Charleston in South Carolina and bonded over going out and cooking food.

“As a twenty-something, we are all constantly combating the impulse to just eat-out or pick something up,” Homan told Boston.com. “But Tender gets you psyched about the prospect of making food, and it makes it easy to do so.”

The app provides users not just with an endless scroll of the Internet’s food porn, but also their corresponding recipes.

If users are interested in the pictured dish, drink, or dessert, they swipe right and save the recipe to their “Cookbook” where they can access the recipe and its original link. If they aren’t interested, they can swipe left to discard the recipe and scroll on to the next one.

The idea of Tender was born in the South End last fall, where the three postgrads were reunited. Cersani, who had worked in restaurants during college, originally proposed the idea, and Homan and Blumenfield immediately agreed to join him.

Photo courtesy of Tender Food and Recipes

They then spent their free time cooped up during Boston’s snowy winter, repeatedly pitching and refining pieces until they had something ready to show the world, just in time for spring.

So far the main feedback has been, “It’s so addicting,” Homan said.

According to Homan, they’ve added more than 200 accounts in the last week, mostly in the Boston area so far.

Homan said the app has also personally expanded his horizons. From browsing a few particular food sites to finding recipes and cuisines he never would have discovered, the app has revealed many surprising meals.

“How often do you really think, ‘God, I could go for Indonesian tonight?’” Homan said. “But when you get smacked in the face with a picture that looks so appetizing it is hard to say no to at least giving it a try. “

Tender—again not to be confused with its dating counterpart Tinder—has filter options for drinks, dessert, chicken, pork, beef, seafood, vegan, and vegetarian.

Homan said swiping picks up the most just around commute time.

“Its no surprise that people love food porn,” he said, “but it really does seem like people have a passion for tantalizing themselves on their way home probably with the thought: ‘What will I make for dinner tonight?’”

Homan doesn’t foresee any legal or copyright problems with Tinder, though they did select the name cautiously, which in its entirety is Tender Food and Recipes.

Still, there are other kinks to work out. At times, the app doesn’t immediately provide a recipe or pulls an ambiguous photo from the original site.

Homan also says they hope to add an undo button for those who mistakenly swiped left on a recipe they actually liked.

Eventually they will include filters for breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes, as well as allergies and meal type—such as crockpot, grill, or casserole. Other possible improvements include adding nutritional information for recipes and a way to add recipe ingredients to a digital grocery list.

Homan says they designed Tender for young adults, who have some cooking knowledge and an intention of eating out less. But they have been surprised by how well the app has taken hold among an older demographic.

“Think millennial parent-grandparent age group,” he says. “There are a lot of tech-savvy older folks out there who are just as into food so it really shouldn’t have been a surprise. In any event though, we figure everyone’s gotta eat, so that has to be worth something.”

Related Gallery: Check out the SoWa food trucks