We meet the masterminds behind Spruce Kitchen
Emma Duffy | On 05, Mar 2016
It’s midday on a Monday and after that Â boozy weekend you’re hankering after some healthy nosh to chow down on at your desk. But as luck would have it, you’re on a tight deadline and chained to your desk so traipsing to the cafe downstairs isn’t an option and you didn’t have time to make a packed lunch, leaving you with only one option – vending machine food. Sound familiar?
If your lunchtime options are in desperate need of a shake up, then it’s time to acquaint yourself with meal delivery service Spruce Kitchen, who deliver delicious, nutritionally balanced lunch options fresh every day.
The idea for Spruce Kitchen was born out of a number of conversations about quality, healthy food between Julian Meaden and Peter Dressler. Both chefs with big restaurant backgrounds, the pair realised people either commit themselves to unsustainable diets or blow their budgets on restaurant food, which often favor flavour over nutritional value.
“We were running restaurants in Brisbane and I think that’s when we first started thinking about doing restaurant quality food, but not incorporating all of your trans fats and sugar. We wanted to make tasty, creative food people wanted to eat which didn’t involve all of the nasties, something you could enjoy and eat every day,” says co-owner Julian.
“When you’re running a restaurant and you’re there fifteen hours a day, you eat the food you’re making. You are what you eat and if you’re eating food with all these nasties in them, you don’t feel so chipper at the end of the day.
“We thought, why not create a business where we can give people beautiful food they may not even know is healthy for them, but they can consume everyday and still feel good about it.”
Finding that happy medium, Spruce Kitchen offers restaurant quality, nutritionally balanced lunch options each day that are packed with flavour. The ever-changing daily menu is carefully curated and based around seasonal produce, with a salad or specials option and daily sides that include a refreshing drink, a pastry option and a sugar-free or fruit based snack. On any given day, you might find albondigas with Spanish pork and paprika meatballs with pearl pasta, roasted red peppers and salsa verde; or a red coconut poached chicken and rice noodle salad with green papaya, snow pea tendrils, basil, cherry tomatoes and roasted peanuts. Sweet tooths won’t miss out either, with tempting espresso browned butter cake or pear and dark chocolate cake also on offer.
The boys draw upon their extensive knowledge of food and find inspiration from their travels to come up with the menu.
“We read a lot of cookbooks, we’re passionate about food. I guess when you’re interested in something, your core knowledge grows and we’ve got a good base knowledge from cooking for fifteen years in really high-end restaurants. We start with the seasonal produce and it grows from there,” says co-owner Peter.
“Sometimes we theme our meals, but it’s not always about putting a meal into a box. It’s not always saying, “well this is Italian” or “this is going to be from Tunisia” or wherever. We may start with either a product or a flavour we enjoy and the idea grows from there,” says Julian.
“We’ve traveled to a lot of places around the globe and we’re very interested in the food history of these places and therefore I guess you start to pick up knowledge about the different ingredients and where they come from. As you cook, you learn to apply those new ideas to the food you’re making.”
What’s so refreshing about Spruce Kitchen is that they don’t market themselves under a health tag, like paleo or clean eating, which Julian says initially made it harder for people to understand their brand.
“There are some great businesses out there who are health inclined and have a tag, but our core belief is that good eating needs no tag, it’s just about eating the right things at the right times. A real challenge for us was to push our ethos when it wasn’t in the extremes. Getting people to understand our brand in the beginning was hard.”
Unlike many other popular meal delivery services, Spruce Kitchen make all their meals fresh on the same day as delivery.
“I think that’s a hard part of our business – a delivered meal has a certain connotation to it and that’s like your Lite N Easy, your Youfoodz and they’re generally frozen, made in bulk and dropped off – that’s not at all what we do. We offer restaurant or cafe quality food, made fresh every day, two hours before you eat it at the most,” says Peter.
“Everything we make is prepared by our hand to a very high standard. What is really hard is making people understand we put a lot of effort into our food,” says Julian.
Julian says the pair have plans to eventually expand Spruce Kitchen by opening a shopfront and delivering further out to the suburbs, but is quick to add the integrity of the business remains their number one priority.
“We don’t want the business to grow too big that you can’t control the quality and the rapport with your customers – that’s really important to us. Quality control and relationships with the people that we provide our service to is more important than over expansion.”
For more details and to place an order, visit theirÂ website. Orders must be placed online by 2:00 pm for next-day delivery and orders arrive between 9:00 am and 12:00 pm. If you’re lucky, you might even open the door to find either Peter or Julian delivering your meal!
Spruce Kitchen also offers corporate catering, with platters starting from $80
Image Credit: Julian Meaden