Former ‘American Idol’ Producer Raises $1.35 Million for Panna, an iOS Video-Cooking Magazine with Celebrity Chefs


Panna, a video cooking magazine iOS app, has raised a $1.35 million funding round led by Anthem Ventures, with participation from Lerer Ventures, Crosslink Ventures, Maveron, Launchpad LA and others, according to TechCrunch.

Food-media startups have been especially hot as of late, and Panna’s value-add lies in its celebrity connections — each bi-monthly digital ‘magazine’ features at least 13 video recipes from big-name chefs, with professional-style filming and video quality.

Founder David Ellner is a Hollywood veteran who previously produced American Idol, among other hit TV shows. He began Panna as a Kickstarter project, and each issue currently costs $4.99, with a $14.99 annual subscription fee.

Bringing high-quality video sensibilities to small screens, it seems, is a huge market opportunity — chefs who have participated in Panna so far include Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto); Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill and Top Chef Masters Winner); Sean Brock (Husk, McCrady’s); Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirscheimer (Canal House Cooking); Anita Lo (Annisa and Top Chef Masters); Seamus Mullen (Boqueria, Tertulia); Chad Sarno (Health Starts Here Senior Culinary Educator, R&D Chef); Nancy Silverton (Osteria Mozza); and Michael Tusk (Cotogna, Quince).

And if you’ve heard of any those guys — which I haven’t — then you should definitely check the app out. ‘Cuz I’m not even a foodie and I freakin’ love this idea — the company will soon be releasing an “Ask the Chef” feature, and plans to scale out content, sales and marketing efforts.

High-quality video for all, boys! It’s the future! Let us know if you’ve read the magazine, and your thoughts in the comments section.