INTERVIEW Etienne Marleau-Rancourt Co-Founder & COO Cookly

ASEAN, gastronomy, app., online services

Etienne Marleau-Rancourt is the young COO and co-founder of the booking engine Cookly with two other friends. A native Canadian, Marleau-Rancourt wants Cookly to be the reference for any traveller looking for cooking schools around the world…

Cookly is a relatively recent online booking engine, which promotes cooking school and culinary experiences around the world and particularly in Southeast Asia. The website and application have the ambition to bring food lovers and food professionals together to enjoy quality cooking classes and discover new tastes in major culinary destinations around the world. Founded in Bangkok by three young foodies and travellers, Cookly is already the leading online booking platform for cooking classes all over the world. 

How did Cookly started?

Etienne Marleau-Rancourt- I have been living for four years in Thailand but prior to that I was student, enjoying life and having a true interest for cooking. I add culinary experiences in Montreal then in France and then had with friends the idea to create an app where travellers would find an opportunity to book online a culinary experience, in particular in a cooking school. We launched the idea and received a favourable answer from an investor in Singapore. We then moved into Asia and settled in Bangkok, one of the world’s culinary capitals with some of the best cooking schools. Soft launch was at the end of 2015 with the official public launch done in April 2016.

What is your current offer to visitors to your app?

E.M-R- We are now present in 25 countries, offering more than 600+ cooking classes under our main theme ‘Cook the World’. Southeast Asia is superbly positioned with eight countries already being part of our portfolio. We offer 300 experiences in the region, Thailand proposing the largest number of cooking classes and experiences with !60 programs in 12 different destinations. This is far ahead of other coutries. Vietnam is number two in our portfolio with 54 programs in 4 destinations followed by Indonesia with 38 programs mostly in Bali. However, we see now Lombok emerging as well.

Which destination seems the most promising?

E.M-R- We see strong growth in Cambodia, particularly for Siem Reap.  It is actually the only place where we offer culinary experience in the country for the time being with five classes. However, I anticipate that Siem Reap will turn into another culinary important location in Southeast Asia. There is a real will from local entrepreneurs to capitalize on gastronomy tourism.

How would you qualify the current experience in Southeast Asia compared to other continents?

E.M-R- I would say that Europe is certainly more into culinary technics. While Asian have a really cultural deep link with food. This makes an experience in Asia more amicable for our travellers booking a class experience.

What is your next step?

E.M-R- We want to expand the range of destinations where people can learn cooking. They are important destinations such as Phnom Penh, Vientiane but also East Malaysia, Jakarta or Cebu where the potential for cooking classes definitely exists. And we would like to add as soon as possible Myanmar to our portfolio. We also want to integrate into our website more information about the cultural dimension of gastronomy. And we think that we could also propose wine degustation classes…