A startup CEO explained what it was like to eat lunch with Apple CEO Tim Cook
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Cook's team arranged the relatively intimate lunch - attended by seven people - using an app known as VizEat, which allows travellers to meet locals over a meal that is typically cooked in someone's house.
Apple employees first got in touch with VizEat 10 days ago saying that they wanted to arrange a lunch for Cook and some senior Apple execs.
The lunch - held in the 16th Arrondissement, a neighborhood near the Eiffel Tower - was hosted by a local resident named Odile Gallon and her husband Pierre Gallon. Other guests included the international head of Apple's App Store Oliver Schusser, and VizEat CEO and cofounder Jean-Michel Petit.
The menu that Cook ate from consisted of:
- Velvet of potimarron, seeds of caramelized squash
- Fillet of salmon leeks, creamy lemon shallot sauce
- Small cheese platter with green salad
- Chocolate mousse or cake choco raspberry
- (and red and white wine)
"We had lunch with Tim yesterday and it was a very typical French menu that the host had already prepared," Petit told Business Insider. "It was difficult for me to start work after that because it was good food and good wine."
Petit said Cook was "very easy going" during the lunch and that he asked a lot of questions, such as where in France the food on the menu was coming from and how many times the hosts had used VizEat. "You didn't feel like you were having lunch with the CEO of Apple," Petit added, before going on to say Cook has "very good table manners" as well as a "good appetite."
During the meal, Cook apparently said that he doesn't usually eat cheese but he tried some French cheeses (Epoisses and some Crottin de Chavignol) regardless. Cook also said he wasn't planning to have any of the chocolate mousse but he ended up changing his mind as the meal went on.
Topics discussed over the lunch, which started at noon and went on until around 1:30pm, included life, food, and traveling.
Cook was keen to understand how people from different cultures interact when they sit down to enjoy a meal together, according to Petit. "What are the cultural difference between hosting Chinese and Americans? He was very interested in these details."
The conversation, which occurred in English, focused on how apps can bring people together in real life as opposed to business formalities, Petit added.
VizEat, which also allows people to offer and take cooking classes and wine tasting experiences, started out two years ago in July 2014 with just 50 users predominantly in France. Now the app has 22,000 hosts across 100 countries.
Gallon writes on her VizEat profile: "I discovered my passion for food when I was 15 years old, watching my mother and grandmother cook. They are both excellent cooks, who transformed the products from the garden into simple yet delicious dishes. They passed me on their recipes, tips and tricks, their joy of preparing something delicious and sharing it. This is the rich heritage I in turn want to pass on now.
She adds: "Today, I am professional in the food sector. First, I worked for a company with organic products, then a large distribution with the products Reflets de France for Carrefour.
"As mother of three, I also like to propose some cooking classes at my home. My guests usually are foreigners living in Paris, people who share a general interest in food and sometimes even tourists, who are looking for an authentic culinary experience 'at home.'"
VizEat's growth has been fueled in part by Apple, which has called it out for being one of the top three apps in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.
While in France, Cook also visited an artist called JR and some Apple employees in Marseille.
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