If you’ve taken a cooking class, you may have experienced this pattern: inspiration, realization and resignation. The inspiration of working with interesting ingredients to learn a novel dish — your repertoire goes beyond smoothies and stir-fries! But at home, eager to show off the newfound skills, you realize the pantry has no palm sugar or ground white pepper, let alone tamarind concentrate. With that, you’re resigned to reaching (again) for the number of the Thai place.
Finally there’s a solution: Put down the take out menu and get in and out of the kitchen in a flash with GrubKit. Each box provides the hard-to-find ingredients, often organic and always pre-measured; only fresh ingredients need to be purchased, like tomatoes, onions or chicken, which offers the cook real quality control. The instructions are like a cooking class in a box, whether you’re serving up a Moroccan tagine with saffron couscous or chickpea curry with mango powder.
We caught up with GrubKit co-founder Max Gabath to chat about the benefits (and fun) of making take out favorites at home.
What inspired you and Barb, your wife, to start GrubKit?
Barb and I always knew we wanted to do something with food, but weren’t sure what. She started a food blog to share her recipes and got a lot of questions about where to find ingredients, like coconut oil for her muffins. That’s what sparked the idea, which coincided with me feeling ready to do something outside of finance; I knew my passion was food. I quit my job and we soft-launched GrubKit in March.
GrubKit seems like an ideal way to try a new dish. But might a person who cooks your recipes all the time want to invest in bulk ingredients?
Absolutely. Our mission is broad: We want to inspire and enable people to cook more, and make it fun for them. Healthy eating isn’t necessarily calorie counting, but getting back to cooking. A cuisine like Thai might seem complicated and out of reach; we want to help people get past the initial hurdle. Some of the ingredients for pad thai are hard to find, but for most of the dishes you could probably save money by buying in bulk. Down the road we might sell whole cans of ingredients like tamarind paste.
Having the ingredients organized and pre-measured is a great time saver.
We make it easy, but we don’t want it to be like Lean Cuisine. You still buy fresh ingredients and cook. For a suburbanite, it might not be as much about saving time but more about availability if they don’t have specialty spice stores nearby, versus in the urban market you might have access to these ingredients, but no time to shop.
I love that you provide a Thai iced tea option for the pad thai, plus pairing tips for all of your recipes. Can you share a few?
For spicy dishes like the chickpea curry and the pad Thai, it’s nice to do a semi-dry Riesling. We love craft beer, and also include beer pairings on our recipe cards. An IPA would be great with the chickpea curry.
What can we look for next on GrubKit’s menu?
We just launched the Moroccan tagine, which was our first African recipe. Up next, something Latin American or Caribbean like jerk chicken. There are more African dishes we want to try. We’ll do another vegetarian dish soon, probably Ethiopian. We’re partnering with food blogs on the recipes, so it also depends what they come up with.
Image courtesy of GrubKit.