It’s likely you’re familiar with the old-timers – Gousto, Hello Fresh, etc. – and also with some of the pioneers in plant-based home-eating, like AllPlants. But as we move into Lockdown 2.0, things are all go for fledgling foodtech businesses.
Sitting somewhere in between a full-on takeaway – something that (unfortunately!) most us can’t afford to eat everyday – and traditional cooking, which can be a bit of a drag, recipe boxes and ‘prep-at-home’ solutions can be a great compromise.
Banquist, Planthood and FamilEat offer convenience and speed, lower costs and high quality results. If you’ve had enough of batch-cooking soup, and you’ve exhausted every other possible evening activity, it might be time to check them out.
Missing that Michelin-star touch? I can’t see Gordon Ramsay’s food travelling well in a takeaway box – but here’s the next best thing.
Banquist partners with the UK’s best chefs and helps those at home recreate signature dishes. It delivers a hamper with pre-measured ingredients – as well as wine and a few surprises – leaving you free to follow the video guide and prep ‘quite possibly the best meal you’ve ever eaten at home’.
You’ll learn new culinary skills from the chef, and harness the taste of rare and quality ingredients. Here’s an example menu from Ruth Hansom, the first woman to win Young Chef of the Year and a finalist on Great British Menu:
- Starter – Soused sardines, rhubarb purée, and Yorkshire parkin crisp.
- Main – Pork belly, glazed apricot, trio of beetroot, turnip & jersey royals dressed in black pudding butter.
- Dessert – Raspberry eton mess with basil infused cream.
You’ll need to be within 40km of London to order.
Perhaps you’re more interested in the million ways you can cook a cauliflower than pork belly and black pudding butter.
Newly-launched Planthood offers chef-made vegan meals, delivered nationwide. Its sample dishes sound more like this:
- Crushed beets on a bed of puy lentils, topped with toasted walnuts and a spiced green sauce.
- Lemon braised chickpea stew, topped with an autumnal medley of crispy sweet potato and parsnip, finished with seasonal greens and a zingy parsley sauce.
- Aubergine parmigiana with a twist: Layers of slow cooked tomato and basil ragu, tender grilled aubergines and creamy cashew sauce, all topped with zesty toasted pine nuts and sunflower seeds.
There’s less cooking involved this time; all Planthood dishes are ready in 10 minutes. They’re packed with seasonal ingredients, grown using sustainable farming techniques, and also come in 100% compostable and recyclable packaging. Planthood also gives back to nature by supporting rewilding projects across the UK.
‘We’re on a mission to make plant-based eating so delicious, healthy and easy that it becomes a new way of life’, say the team.
Admittedly, you have to be based in France to take advantage of this one – but maybe you’re lucky enough to be spending lockdown in Marseilles! Plus, it’s always good to take inspiration from our more refined European neighbours when it comes to food.
Startup FamilEat has just raised €1M, with investment from the Family Office of Daniel Bernard (former CEO of Group Carrefour) together with his son Antoine. Its mission: to help every family eat easily, healthily and responsibly.
Founders Pierre and Mélanie asked Bertrand Guéneron, former chef at the 3 Michelin Starred Parisian restaurant Lucas Carton, to help create recipes for Famileat. Because of this partnership, FamilEaters can eat Michelin-star meals – starters, mains and desserts – for just €5 per person.
Meals are cooked on demand to minimise waste and delivered a few days later. They range from parmentier de canard (duck cottage pie), to soupe de chou-fleur au curry (curried cauliflower soup) to poulet tikka massala (I think you can get that one). Again, they just need to be heated up for a few minutes.
FamilEat stresses the importance of reducing food waste through its made-to-order structure, as well as the transparency of its supply chain; all meat and vegetables are sourced in France.