We’ve all had busy days at work where leaving the office for lunch is out of the question. You can get deli sandwiches delivered, or scrounge a meal from vending-machine snacks. Alex Blinn believes it doesn’t have to be that way.
Blinn’s new company, Gourmade, delivers fresh, chef-created meals to office buildings in the Pittsburgh area. He says prepared food doesn’t have to be synonymous with the frozen-meal dinner trays we are accustomed to.
“Those meals are probably being cooked in a factory by robots. They don’t care about the quality of the food,” says Blinn. Gourmade’s offerings are freshly cooked, and simply need to be heated up.
For $30, Gourmade will deliver three meals a week. Blinn cooks all meals himself in the kitchen of the old Crested Duck site, in Beechview. (Blinn is a classically trained chef who worked at Poros and other area restaurants.) He uses local ingredients whenever he can and creates dishes around seasonal tastes; fall offerings include apple-cider pork with butternut-squash hash, and chicken piccata with fettuccine.
While $10 seems steep for what is essentially, a microwavable meal, Blinn says restaurant food ordered from apps like GrubHub will cost well over $10 when fee and tip are included. Also, the portions are quite substantial. I tried the beer-braised beef with cauliflower purée. The meat was substantial and tender, and the purée had the comforting consistency of lumpy mashed potatoes; it easily filled up this hungry reporter.
Critics of delivered meals often cite the waste created by their excessive packaging. Gourmade’s boxes have plenty of packaging, but Blinn includes recycling instructions that detail how to dispose of gel ice-packs and recycled-cotton insulators.
For those who enjoy a meat-free diet, Blinn says vegan and vegetarian options will be available soon. www.gourmade.info