Food & Drink

Homemade: The digital cooking school killing off faddy diets

By Kitty Knowles 10 November 2017

What would you expect from two super-smart Stanford grads?

Sick of shunning carbs and counting calories? Well, dieting doesn’t work.

That’s the view of entrepreneur Anna Rakoczy, anyway. And she’s in good company – in recent years everyone from TED-talking neuroscientists to practising doctors have called bull on restrictive weight loss methods.

Rakoczy herself spent years failing to stick to faddy diets until a decade ago she stopped dieting – and started cooking.

Then she lost over 25lbs through what she coined the ‘Homemade Method‘ and has maintained a happy healthy weight for over a decade.

This is why, in 2013 – despite her degrees from Stanford and UC Berkeley, and her thriving career as a top legal attorney – the businesswoman dropped everything to found her own digital cooking school with fellow Stanford graduate Dr Chloe Chen.

(Rakoczy was actually Australian Young Lawyer of the Year in 2008).

Called Homemade, this offers online cooking courses, not to help you diet, but to help you enjoy eating healthily.

“I wanted to empower all men and women to escape the body shaming, discipline, and failure that goes hand in hand with dieting, so they can discover freedom, and a healthy, energetic body and balanced relationship with food,” she told The Memo.

“Homemade is for anyone who is tired of dieting – losing weight, only to gain it back again.”

The Homemade Method

The key sell of Homemade is that Rakoczy wants to teach subscribers how to have a healthy relationship with food – for good.

So while other cooking classes are often expensive and based around recipes for one-off meals – like an exotic three-course Thai meal you’ll only cook once – Homemade is about supporting longterm realistic change.

Those who sign up learn how to make easy, healthy, food using ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.

“The Homemade Method is different because it isn’t a diet,” Rakoczy explains. “We can teach anyone how to cook quick, easy, healthy meals from scratch.”

“It’s healthy, fast & easy. And it’s skills you will use for life.”

How it works

Anyone in the world can enrol with Homemade because the program is 100% online.

You’ll have to pay for your schooling however, as the business is funded by subscriptions.

All members are first charged a joining fee of $297 (although this month only the company is totally waiving the fee). In return you and your aims will be assessed, and you’ll be offered an online induction course.

You can then subscribe to a ‘Homemade Reset’ course, costing $57 per month. This gives you access to Homemade’s online cooking classes, recipe books, healthy mindset course, community groups and challenges.

If you’re the kind of person who appreciates a helping hand, you can pay a little extra for personal coaching support (which brings your total monthly fee to $87 per month).

“Most people take 3 months to finish this – but they can stay on this plan as long as they like,” says Rakoczy.

Often those who’ve completed the Reset course choose to move on to the cheaper ‘Homemade Success’ course (for $27 per month) to help them keep up good kitchen habits for the longterm (this offers live cooking events, Q&As, new recipes, mindset tips, and a members-only site to keep motivated).

The future

The biggest challenge for Homemade, says Rakoczy, is standing out in the already crowded wellness industry – especially given that she’s not pushing a diet.

(Juggling her roles as a CEO and a mum of an 18-month-old toddler isn’t always easy either, she adds).

And yet Rakoczy’s already helped her members cook over 70,000 meals to date.

What’s more, 7 in 10 said they’d lost weight without dieting, according to a recent company survey of more than 500 Homemade users (members lost on average 1 pound per week – and up to 80 pounds in 6 months).

Happy customers also said that the course helped them triple the amount they cooked at home, with 1 in 4 members experiencing reduced high blood pressure, 1 in 4 experiencing reduced high blood sugars, and 1 in 5 members experiencing reduced high blood cholesterol.

“The big dream is to help reverse obesity and lifestyle diseases – like diabetes, heart disease, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure,” says Rakoczy.

“We want Homemade members to feel empowered, liberated, and joyful.”

Who doesn’t want all that streamed straight on to the kitchen iPad? It sounds delicious to us.