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Cooking.com stirs up more funding

The online retailer of specialty foods and kitchenware scores $35 million in its latest round of funding, led by venture capital firm Idealab.

Cooking.com today said it has gained $35 million in its latest round of funding, led by venture capital firm Idealab.

The money gives the online retailer of specialty foods and cooking supplies a total of $90 million in private funding since its inception two years ago, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based company said in a statement.

Cooking.com, whose investors and partners include coffee retailer Starbucks and online giant America Online, said the funding also included investments from Pyramid Technology Fund and Japan-based Hikari Tsushin. The company said it will use the capital to accelerate marketing efforts, expand its product assortment and content offerings, and improve operations.

Cooking sites have heated up in recent months. Earlier this month, online retail giant Amazon.com launched the Amazon Kitchen store, hoping to capture the online culinary market with cooking accessories, products, recipes and tips. Similar sites include the Williams-Sonoma Web store, Epicurious.com and MarthaStewart.com, all of which provide a comparable range of content and products.

Cooking.com, which launched in March of 1998, claims it offers more than 5,000 cooking-related products from companies such as All-Clad, Calphalon, Cuisinart, KitchenAid and Krups. Like its rivals, Cooking.com sells kitchen products and provides recipes, feature articles and menu planners from renowned chefs, cookbook authors and restaurateurs.

Idealab, the venture capital group led by entrepreneur Bill Gross, has helped fund Cooking.com since its inception. The well-regarded incubator and venture group, which filed for a $300 million initial public offering last month, has spawned such successes as GoTo.com, eToys and CitySearch.