How often have work and other obligations gotten in the way of making a home-cooked meal? Tired of this all-too-common dilemma, venture capital investor and avid home cook Matt Salzberg teamed up with technical architect Ilia Papas and seasoned chef Matthew Wadiak to solve it. The result was Blue Apron.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn-based Blue Apron is a unique ingredient delivery service for people who want to cook delicious, healthy meals at home but lack the time to shop and plan. For $9.99 per person, per meal, subscribers receive a weekly delivery of fresh ingredients for three gourmet dishes. Other than salt, pepper and olive oil, everything the customers need to prepare a meal in 35 minutes or less comes in their Blue Apron box.
"We want to make the Blue Apron experience as convenient as possible, where we do all the legwork. Shipping perishable items is key to providing that convenience. We can keep them super fresh by sourcing them directly, as well as packing them with special insulation and cold packs," said Salzberg, the company's CEO.
Wadiak, Blue Apron's chief product officer, develops each recipe that gets sent out to customers, who can choose between a poultry/meat/fish plan and a vegetarian plan. To date, he has crafted more than 250 original recipes for Blue Apron using only the highest quality seasonal ingredients.
"We work very hard to source the best possible food from all of our purveyors," Wadiak told BusinessNewsDaily. "I love to work with artisanal and family-run businesses that have personal pride in the food they sell, like LaFrieda Meats and Severino Pasta, who custom-makes all of its pastas from scratch for us. We also work with a number of farms and specialty purveyors to deliver super fresh and seasonal vegetables. Our recipes are only as good as our ingredients and we take great pride in this."
In any food service operation, waste is inevitable, but Blue Apron ensures that their service is as eco-friendly as possible. The ingredients are premeasured and perfectly portioned (500 to 700 calories per meal) based on household size to guarantee minimum product waste. Meals are then shipped in biodegradable insulated liners that keep food fresh for several hours after delivery. Blue Apron donates the extra food to local communities through City Harvest.
The name "Blue Apron" comes from the French tradition of wearing blue aprons to represent lifelong culinary learning. Blue Apron delivery service allows amateur and experienced home cooks alike to explore, appreciate and master the art of cooking in a simple, convenient way.
"The best cooking is done at home," Wadiak said. "With a little persistence, anyone can be a good cook. Blue Apron really does make it easier by laying out step-by-step instructions that teach concepts, not just recipes. This really helps new cooks grow."
"We think Blue Apron is a better way to cook and we're trying to bring it to every home in America," added Salzberg, whose favorite Blue Apron meal is Lemongrass Shrimp with Soba Noodles and Chinese Broccoli.
Blue Apron’s founders have just announced the opening of a second facility in Richmond, Calif., to serve 10 additional states, bringing the total number of states with access to Blue Apron to 40. At the time of writing, the company delivers 100,000 meals per month, a number that is likely to grow with the company’s West Coast expansion.
"Blue Apron is a healthy and entertaining way to put dinner on the table that isn’t takeout and avoids the pitfall of the same thing night after night," Wadiak said. "A lot of customers tell us that we have broken them out of the same old pattern and now they love their new lives in the kitchen."
Update: As of March 25, 2014, Blue Apron has announced that it delivers more than 500,000 meals per month and now offers personalized menus for its customers.