By Natasha Baker
TORONTO (Reuters) - Anyone looking to expand their culinary horizons beyond steak and potatoes or spaghetti may find inspiration in a new app that provides recipes based on what is already stocked in the refrigerator.
Gojee, for iPad, iPhone and Android devices, aims to inspire food lovers by providing recipes that incorporate particular ingredients, rather than for an exact dish.
Lobster lovers can swipe through full-screen photos and recipes for dishes such as lobster carpaccio, butter-poached lobster with fresh tomatoes, or lobster macaroni and cheese with truffles.
"Its biggest value is in a new way to cook something, whether it's chicken or pork or turkey or fish. Often the way it's prepared is what is unique," said Michael Lavalle, co-founder and CEO of New York City-based startup Gojee.
The app aims to replicate the experience of being in a restaurant, where a diner might see a tantalizing dish zoom by and decide that it is worth ordering.
"You didn't need to see 15 data points to have a hunch it was going to be good," Lavalle said.
The app is focused more on discovery than leading a cook to an exact dish. But the company is hoping that users will also tote the newly released mobile app along with them as a tool at the grocery store.
A shopper, for example, might walk into a store and see fresh salmon on sale, and perhaps also have some fresh cilantro at home they need to use. They could then plug these two ingredients into the app and find recipes that incorporate them, such as a salmon curry or roasted salmon with pink peppercorn sauce, and purchase the extra ingredients they would need.
Gojee has fewer filters than other recipe services, but there is the option to filter out recipes that include particular ingredients, which Lavalle said is helpful for picky eaters or people with allergies.
"You can put in gluten-free or vegetarian and it restricts the recipes to those parameters," he explained.
The service includes over 10,000 recipes from approximately 300 food bloggers around the world. For cocktail lovers, there is also a separate drinks section.
But the app will not help people looking for variations on a particular dish because it was not developed with that focus.
"It's much more inspiration driven than utility driven," Lavalle said.
The company plans to expand beyond recipes into other areas such as home decor, women's fashion and art.
"Our overarching goal is to define and carve out the mobile Web that's emotional, pleasurable and visual," Lavalle added.
(Editing by Patricia Reaney and Eric Beech)