Entrepreneurship and the 'Sharing Economy' in Greece

Good cheap meals from informal micro-cookeries


As the state and other large institutions continue to crumble in Greece, ordinary citizens have established all kinds of informal enterprises to scrape by. This mix of mutual aid and small-scale entrepreneurship has caught the eye of the BBC, which this week published an interesting account of one facet of that grassroots creativity: micro-cookeries.

Chef Pac-Man entered the room proudly.

Office workers, students and busy parents are connecting online with local cooks—anybody who loves cooking and can do it well—who provide them with a meal for less than they would be likely to pay anywhere else. In Athens, the price is usually between three and four euros (£2.50 to £3.40).

"I just could never calculate the correct portion amounts for my family," [Marilena] Zachou says. "We don't have a dog or a cat. I was throwing away so much. I guess making too much food is embedded in my Greek genes."

That was what led her to Cookisto, an online community of amateur cooks and hungry city dwellers.

She is now a Cookista, with a profile on the Cookisto website, and her meals are rated every day. Apparently her moussaka has "no excess oil, is always made with the highest quality products, and tastes just perfect". She is, according to those who eat her food, not just a housewife, but a five-star chef.

The site has attracted 12,000 cooks in Athens in the last few months….It's all part of what Sydney-based innovation consultant Rachel Botsman calls the "revolution" of collaborative consumption, or the sharing economy. Since the global financial meltdown, "people have reverted to old market behaviours that involve trust—swapping, sharing, renting, bartering", she says.