Love the idea of healthy, home-cooked meals, but not 100-percent ready to set aside the time to go full-on gourmet? You’re in luck! This season, Portable Chef, a Manhattan-based meal prep service, leaves the Big Apple to relocate operations in Peekskill, where it will provide the Hudson Valley with ready-made, customized meals delivered straight to local doors.
Ten years ago, Portable Chef founder Uri Attia found himself shocked by the over-processed meat and produce coming from factory farms and vowed to do something to change it. Though he has a formal education in economics, with a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from New York University, Attia had trouble finding work after the 2009 recession and decided to take a leap into the culinary world.
The resulting venture, Portable Chef, offers a new, healthier option for everyday meals and takes into account allergy restrictions and personal preferences. Unlike other meal prep companies like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh, which send portioned ingredients that require additional cook times, Portable Chef sends subscribers a finished meal that only needs to be reheated.
While the food subscription company supports the community with healthy, convenient meals, it also lends a hand to local farmers. Portable Chef prides itself on using ingredients exclusively from nearby farms, prioritizing fresh, organic produce and meat from animals that are grass-fed, free-range, and treated with care. In fact, Attia’s desire for simple, natural food grown by independent farmers is what brought him out of Manhattan and north to Peekskill’s “endearing” town. The ease of finding fresh, whole foods — ingredients free of chemicals, preservatives, and genetic modification, or, as Attia puts it, food that “grows in a way that even as a child, you’d understand how it was grown” – also helps.
So how can customers pick and choose meals with Portable Chef? It’s as easy as heading to the website to select which foods they prefer, then connecting with a chef to create a meal to be delivered fully cooked and ready to heat. Vegan? Gluten-free? On a keto diet? Portable Chef is happy to accommodate any and all dietary preferences or restrictions, which customers can indicate via an extensive questionnaire that considers likes, dislikes, allergies, and food restrictions, with an option to order from the company’s permanent collection of dishes like grilled sea bass with champagne mustard sauce and chickpea stew with Swiss chard.
With a current average of 3,000 meals per month, Attia doesn’t have grand plans to expand. Instead, he’s focused on growing steadily and honing the operation. The company, which hosted a grand opening on September 15, will continue serving New York City, but will also deliver to Westchester and Putnam counties, and even the outskirts of New Jersey and Connecticut. With their new location, they’ll be sure to reach hungry mouths throughout the Hudson Valley – and beyond – giving even the pickiest eaters something they’ll love.