Q&A with Content Director Samantha Tackeff of Tasted Menu

Anyone that knows me personally or even just as a writer knows how much I love getting to know people through Q&A interviews. TV celebrity chefs like Grayson from Top Chef, restaurant owners from Foumami, personal trainers, and even authors, are recent interviews I have worked on. Up next? An interview with one of the masterminds behind easy to navigate food website Tasted Menu.

It’s a perfect place to log on and see what the best dishes are at a certain restaurant. Or you can even search for your favorite dish in their search bar “Where can I find the best…”, to help you decide what your next dining experience for your favorite foods will be. It’s a fairly new site, started up by Harvard alum Alex Rosenfeld, with a focus on the Boston and Austin dining scenes at this time.

Content Director Samantha Tackeff of Tasted Menu has shared some info about the company and website, her favorite dishes and places to eat, and other details, with the following Q&A. You can find out more about Tasted Menu at their website and also follow me, check out my profile, and see my reviews as well. Get to know Sam and Tasted Menu below:

For those that don’t know, what is Tasted Menu?

Tasted Menu is a dish review site where you can review your favorite restaurant dishes, find new foods in your city, and easily locate what you are craving. Looking for the very best macaroni and cheese? With Tasted Menu you can not only find a list of all the macaroni and cheese in your city, but see the photos, ratings and reviews of each individual dish. 
 
What makes it stand out from food sites like Food Spotting, Urban Spoon, etc?

We spend a lot of time focused on the content on the site – food is our priority! When we enter a market, we add each restaurant individually into our system, adding all of the menu content ourselves. So, in addition to restaurant information, we have the whole menu up on our site.

One thing that we are really proud of is our Culinary Taxonomy – each dish that is entered in the system is tagged by type of cuisine, dish type, and for main ingredients. We have a team of really talented menu taggers, from CIA grads, to cookbook authors, and cooks working in incredible professional kitchens. The real benefit in this is that you can then search for even the obscurest craving you may have – say you are looking for the best chocolate milkshake – you’ll be able to find every milkshake in the city, and see which ones have been rated the highest by other users.

And, perhaps I’m biased, but I think that we have a really nice, clean site that is easy and fun to use. It’s great for me, because I get to spend all day long playing on it. You do get awfully hungry doing this work though!
 
You have sites for Boston and Austin. How did you choose the cities for the launch? What cities are next?

Boston was a no-brainer because we are based here and spend a lot our time eating out. With Austin, it’s just this great food city, with a lot of young tech savvy folks. 

We generally keep our expansion plans under wraps, but we’re eager to expand into many of the country’s largest cities next. There are also a whole bunch of great smaller food cities as well, particularly ones that are under-served by some of the other major review sites. I’m gunning to add Minneapolis soon, because it’s one of my favorite places to visit. We are also looking to fill out some of the other food destinations in New England.

Absolute favorite restaurants in both cities? And favorite dishes?

That’s so tough. It’s like picking your favorite child! I work with menus all day long, and we do a lot of eating, so I’m always finding new favorites. We went to Austin for South by Southwest, and I had this phenomenal sandwich at Franklin Barbecue called the Tipsy Texan, one of the highest rated dishes on Tasted Menu at 9.7! It was chopped beef, jalapeno sausage, with coleslaw and pickles. We waited two hours for it, and it was absolutely worth it. In Boston, I love stopping by Sofra. It’s this little Middle Eastern cafe, and it has two of my favorite dishes – the Shakshuka, which has two perfectly poached eggs in this spicy, creamy, dreamy tomato sauce.

Also the Lamb Shawarma wrap, with just this perfect tender lamb that falls apart and has such a punch of flavor. I’m getting so hungry just thinking about it!


What does the future hold for Tasted Menu?

World domination! Just kidding! We’re pushing to be the go-to food app for people who love to eat out. Beyond that, we’ve been really thrilled to see the great communities forming in our launching cities – one of the best parts of our work is seeing folks using the product and interacting with each other, having great conversations about food.

About Sam:
Sam Tackeff is the Content Director at Tasted Menu. When she isn’t immersed in menu data in the office (most of the time), or in a restaurant (a lot of the time), she’s usually in her kitchen surrounded by hundreds of cookbooks and she blogs at The Second Lunch.

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