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Friday, December 7, 2012

The Zuckerberg Family\'s Eggnog Cinnamon Chip Scones, and Other Tech Recipes

Not just anyone can build the next Facebook or Foursquare, but you can bake the Zuckerberg family's eggnog cinnamon chip scones, or cook the Foursquare founder's mother's sausage soup.

These are two of 75 recipes, along with personal stories and photos, shared by tech entrepreneurs, engineers and executives in a cookbook, “The Start-Up Chef,” available Friday, with proceeds going to hunger charities.

There are recipes for double marinated fillet of beef from Spotify's founder, Daniel Ek, and chocolate chip cookies from Fred Wilson, the venture capitalist, and his wife, Joanne, a blogger, who claim they are the best cookies around. There are quirky recipes, like the digital media entrepreneur Brit Morin's chocolate iPhone, and others that sound worthy of a dinner party, like Ken Weber of Zynga's halibut with Meyer lemon salsa, roasted new potatoes and creme fraiche.

The cookbook is available as an e-book or PDF, and a print version might be published later (hopefully with a more inviting cover). The publisher is Leanpub, which enables writers and editors to continuously update the digital version of the book even after it is originally published, so more recipes can be added.

It sells for a suggested $20 and a minimum $10, though shoppers can pay as much as they want. All proceeds after credit card processing fees go to charities fighting hunger, including No Kid Hungry and Rockaway Plate Lunch, which helps people affected by Hurricane Sandy.

“The Start-Up Chef” is the brainchild of Hunter Walk (who shared a recipe for thumbprint cookies), a product executive at YouTube who leads YouTube for Good, which works with nonprofits and schools. He created it with Maya Baratz (raspberry jam), who is in charge of new media product s at ABC News.

The recipes provide a peek into the private lives, and kitchens, of tech world celebrities. Engineers, it turns out, really like dessert, and venture capitalists really like cocktails.

“These are really interesting people, well-known for what they do in the office during the day, but this is a peek into what inspires them or their creative process,” Ms. Baratz said.

Mr. Walk came up with the idea a couple months ago, he said, after being inspired by the many food photographs that his friends in tech posted on services like Instagram. Cooking, it turns out, is not so different from writing software, in terms of taking raw ingredients and turning them into a finished product, or meal, the cookbook's editors said.

“It's not just the approach to cooking itself being iterative, much like product design and start-ups, but also the community table being somewhere that ideas, experiences and thoughts are shared,” Mr. Walk said.

Th e cookbook is the latest example of young tech founders doing philanthropic work long before they retire. Silicon Valley's young billionaires have sometimes been criticized for a lack of philanthropy relative to their wealth, but that is changing, Mr. Walk said.

“Increasingly, there's interest amongst the tech community, especially a lot of younger founders, to not wait for philanthropy to just be the pot of gold at the end of the I.P.O. rainbow, but how to contribute to the world around you all the time,” he said.