First, there’s the rise of food delivery apps like UberEats and Postmates. Then there’s Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and other large do-it yourself meal prep companies. In Santa Cruz, there’s also Golden Roots Kitchen, which aims to satisfy instant-food demand with local, healthy ingredients.
In her quest for better prepared meals, Chef Melanie Geist creates a menu each week based on what’s in season. Since she and her team do the heavy lifting on sourcing and cooking, all that’s left for customers to do is eat.
How does it work?
GEIST: Each week we produce a new menu—it changes every week—with eight to 10 items. It’s designed to be customizable, so instead of things being offered TV-dinner style, we have categories like a sprouted grain, a legume, a vegetable, an animal protein, and a frittata. Things are categorized so people can chose a dish on its own, or combine items on the menu to make their own meal.
We text everyone the menu on Thursdays, and they can choose what they want. On average, people order about five items. By Tuesday the items are ready, and people can have them delivered to their home or pick them up in our Scotts Valley kitchen. Our items range from $8-16.
What are some examples of menu items?
This week we have a roasted red pepper and Early Girl tomato soup. The Early Girls are back in season, so we are working with Live Earth Farm to get those this week. We’ll make a cashew cream for it so it’s dairy free. We have a leek and sweet potato frittata on the menu this week— that’s a customer favorite—and we have a flourless tahini cookie.
Where do you get the inspiration to create a new menu every week?
I love Yotam Ottolenghi. I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from him. I love the Eastern flavors and using a lot of herbs and spices. When I travel, I also try to recreate dishes with produce that are local to us.