Drinking coffee should be more like wine; you should be able to taste the difference…
Fresh, healthy meals, snap frozen and ready when you are.
There is something ever so satisfying about cooking a balanced meal involving a favourite recipe, quality meat and lots of fresh, seasonal vegies. That satisfaction ramps up a notch if there are leftovers, ready to be bundled into the freezer and pulled out for a convenient meal instead of something decidedly less wholesome.
My Chef works on the principle that everyone deserves to eat a home-cooked meal which is healthy, economical and tastes great – and quicker to prepare than it is to log into Uber Eats.
It’s a formula that has kept husband and wife team Frank and Zoe Coorey on their toes since they bought the frozen meal delivery company My Chef in 2016.
Now the couple are in charge of delivering thousands of meals a week to stock 30 supermarkets across Sydney, Country NSW and Canberra (listed below) as well as having a retail and delivery presence in Wagga Wagga.
Frank is the culinary force behind the venture, having grown up in commercial kitchens with his family involved in food businesses, cafes, catering and a pub in Toowoomba.
“My brothers and I earned pocket money helping our parents from a young age, then at some point all served an apprenticeship under our parents before heading off to do our own things.”
After dabbling in the beer and meat industries, the chance to own My Chef not only allowed Frank to get creative in the kitchen, but it has also allowed him to raise his young family in the country – with the My Chef based in Wagga Wagga.
Zoe, meanwhile, has a strong business background – having launched Australia’s first woman’s super fund vervesuper.com.au.
She is involved in the strategic side of business and keeps a close eye on the books. The pair are ably assisted in taste-testing by three-year-old Freddie and 18-month-old Alice.
Frank said the growing demands of time-poor professionals and families for healthy pre-prepared meals has seen My Chef expand since they bought it and they are now in the process of moving to a larger purpose-built facility.
But for Frank, My Chef has some advantages that the plethora of ready-made meal companies don’t.
“We are totally inspired and really fortunate to be based in the Riverina food bowl surrounded by local producers passionate about their produce, whether it be pork, eggs, nuts or vegetables.”
“We are also passionate about influencing the convenience and aged care meal sector, proving you can use high quality produce to create nutritious meals but with scale can still ensure they’re super affordable. Often more cost-effective than cooking yourself!”
He cites recently added menu items including BBQ Pulled Pork with Potato Gratin, Ragu Lasagne and a family recipe Sittee’s Lebanese Chicken – a family favourite and nod to Frank’s Lebanese heritage.
One of the challenges inherent in the crowded marketplace was to combat the frozen stigma.
“There is no gas packing or double cooking required when food is blast frozen, locking in the nutrients and providing flexibility with no waste and a longer shelf life,” Frank says.
“As opposed to the majority of pre-prepared meal businesses who mass produce meals in huge complexes based in major cities, we know that our meals are a reflection of being based in the Riverina – with each mouthful full of our love of tasty food and passion for high quality produce.”
Some of the challenges in keeping such quality meals affordable – under $10 a serve – include fluctuating seasonal vegetable and meat prices. But Frank and the experienced Chef-led team get creative – cooking with what is in abundance and coming up with new recipes to work with the produce that’s seasonally available.
He is pleased to see people consistently willing to pay for his home-cooked, real food.
“Consumers understand that meals with artificial flavours and preservatives are always going to cheaper than the real deal!”
Meanwhile, consumer demand shows no signs of slowing down. Time-poor, health-conscious families and professionals seeking quality and convenience are a growing Australian demographic.
“We are in the process of finalising a family-sized meal offering as well as a focused high-protein gym range which we are currently working with a leading dietitian to establish.”
Meanwhile, average Australian families are increasingly putting Frank’s handiwork in their freezers.
“A benefit of frozen meals is the shelf life over fresh, making them a great solution for loved ones, ageing parents or just that back up when you arrive home too late and cooking a healthy meal is the last thing you feel like doing. We are also finding people love giving meals as gifts! Whether to new mothers or friends or family who are unwell.”
And the meal most likely to be served up on the Coorey family table?
Currently, it is Sittee’s Lebanese Chicken.
“Sittee is Arabic for Grandmother. It’s my Grandmother’s and Mother’s recipe that has always been a family favourite. Slow cooked chicken thighs in a tomato and onion sauce infused with beautiful mixed Lebanese spices served with rice and seasonal vegetables.”
You can purchase My Chef meals at the following supermarkets in Canberra.
Supabarn Casey, Supabarn Crace, Supabarn Kingston, SupaExpress Kaleen, SupaExpress Red Hill, IGA Melba, IGA Fyshwick, IGA Lyneham, IGA Hackett, IGA Deakin, IGA Nicholls, IGA Yarralumla, Barton Grocers.
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