I always say that if I ever become extremely rich, the first two things I will spend my money on are a driver to take me places (like in Gossip Girl) and a personal chef – mainly because of the unfortunate incident when I almost burnt down my apartment boiling water. Since becoming extremely rich is a process that is taking its sweet time, I’m thankful for services that make me me feel like I have my life together.
Let me introduce you to Chowdy – a young company that is focused on offering hassle free meal subscriptions to Toronto’s busy, time starved, and literally starved army of young professionals.
Founders, Steve Long and Roman Kremianski understood that their fellow young professionals are busy building their careers, finishing grad school, working on their hobbies, or even trying to build their own businesses up.
Mundane tasks like preparing weekly meals take a lot of time and planning ahead. Let’s be honest, not everyone enjoys cooking or can do it well. Wasting time trying to cook and eating barely edible food is just horrific. Eating out regularly can be costly and with OSAP hovering over our lives, it’s just not a viable solution.
So what do you do? Chowdy is your answer! Founded by two childhood friends, this start up is focused on fresh simple ingredients cooked by professional chefs so you know that what your getting is both healthy and delicious!
This hassle free meal subscription lets customers choose how many meals per week to order and either pick up the fresh meals from their two hubs located conveniently down town or request to have it delivered. At $6.99 per meal, even OSAP will approve!
We recently raided Chowdy’s office/kitchen to get the inside scoop!
I sat down with the co-founders Steve Long and Roman Kremianski to ask them where Chowdy came from, what are the key elements that sets it apart from the rest, and where they see it heading.
What is the inspiration behind Chowdy?
Steve: “Chowdy is all about making healthy food accessible to everyone. Living in downtown Toronto, it’s hard to find affordable food, let alone affordable healthy food. Yet as a working professional, we are always on the go to get that project done, leaving little time to cook decent meals at home. We created Chowdy to solve this problem that we had.”
Roman: “Chowdy was inspired by an ongoing problem: How is it that we’re in the heart of downtown Toronto, surrounded by food but there’s still nothing to eat? We decided we wanted to start thinking of our food in advance, partially to save money but also to stop doing desperate Chipotle runs in the cold.
We also didn’t want food to interrupt us while we were in the zone working, so Chowdy was born. It’s always nice to have a stack of meal boxes for you after the gym.”
Most food companies focus on their products whereas you choose to highlight your chefs in addition to that. Why do you think that’s important and why that sets Chowdy apart from the rest?
Steve: “I think for a long time food companies used the “black box” approach where food just showed up, and customers had no idea what went into the food and how they were made. We didn’t like this approach, and we wanted to invite our customers to see the whole process. We especially wanted to showcase our team of chefs, because they are all highly talented and young, just like the subscribers we serve. This will help us connect with our subscribers. The other important motivation for us is to showcase local chef talent; we want to help our chefs build their brands and help them market themselves.”
Roman: “We want to put the chefs first, they’re the stars of the show. We can create a business process but at the end only the chefs can “MacGyver” that extra flavour combination on the spot, with ingredients on hand, and still be on budget.
We don’t care to add a ton of hyperbole to our products by giving them crazy names or plating them like works of art. We’re not looking to make waves in the culinary world. We want to bring our chefs up with us and invest in them. Because eventually we want to connect them to busy people in Toronto and actually transform the idea of an affordable and personal chef into reality.
We are set apart from your standard meal company because our goal is to leverage tech and the sharing economy to create transparency between subscribers and how their food is made.”
You were both working full time (Consulting and Advertising) prior to creating Chowdy. Both fields are far from the food industry. What made you want to shift careers?
Steve: “I’ve always wanted to start my own business, and I really wanted to try something outside the corporate world after three years in management consulting. Ironically, even though creating a start-up in the food industry is as far from management consulting as you’ll get, there are certain skill sets that I learned from my years in consulting that came in very handy. The top one is staying organized by making lists!”
Roman: “We made a career shift because we wanted to solve problems and food was the most practical and personal challenge for us at the time. Also, when you’re the creative and problem solving type – working a regular job feels like being trapped inside the walk-in fridge in our kitchen.”
We’ve sampled the food, we’ve met your chefs. Business is continuously growing. What’s next for you guys?
Steve: “We’re always on the lookout to improve our food and services to make them better and more convenient for our subscribers. In the near future we are also rolling out a vegetarian offering and a paleo offering, two things we heard a lot from our subscribers. Looking a little further, we want to create a mobile app to let our subscribers interact with us more easily.”
Roman: “We don’t want to talk too much about stuff coming up next but we also don’t want to appear like those guys who think they have some big and great idea that can be stolen. We’re very open. We want to expand our meal options (we just introduced our vegetarian meal plan this past week) and our next big goal is definitely to build an app that will change the way food-conscious, busy professionals in this city eat.”
Subscribe for weekly hassle free meals at Chowdy.ca
Follow their Instagram @GetChowdy for photos that will make you hungry
Creep their Facebook page Chowdy
And Tweet at them at the Twitter @GetChowdy