San Francisco is a great town for foodies and Forage, the brainchild of Foodzie founders Rob and Emily LaFave has emerged as an option for those who want to cook their favorite restaurant dishes at home. The service, which launches today, gathers all the ingredients used in selected restaurant recipes and hand-delivers them right to your door. The promise is that amateur chefs will be able to make these same great meals as the pros in under 20 minutes.
The LaFaves joined forces with their co-founder and CTO Josh Fraser at TechStars Boulder to create this twist on the crowded restaurant meal-delivery startup trend. It’s since piqued the interest of Twitter’s Ev Williams and Whole Foods Board Member Hass Hassan, both of whom have invested an undisclosed, but modest, sum into the company, according to Emily LaFave.
Forage pairs up with notable SF restaurants like Dosa and Hapa Ramen, and then sources ingredients from some of their more popular dishes. Alta SF’s pierogies tend to sell out before 8 pm every night, for instance. But folks can order from Forage to get the same exact ingredients, and then follow its instructions to make those same dishes in the comfort of their own homes.
The idea came from Emily’s background working in restaurant kitchens and culinary school. “We could cook anything in less than 20 minutes,” she says. “This isn’t about chopping your onions for you. Think pork ramen stock and fresh ramen noodles from Hapa Ramen, fresh pierogi dough from Alta SF, dosa batter from DOSA, or Greek marinated meats from Souvla, all restaurants in San Francisco.”
Emily believes Forage picks up where Foodzie left off by incorporating a restaurant cooking element instead of just delivering food items. Joyus swallowed up Foodzie in a combo cash and stock deal a couple years back.
While most of the dishes are sourced from SF restaurants, Forage will deliver their meal kits all over California. Emily mentions plans to expand beyond the Golden State as things get rolling, but the main goal for now is to teach the foodies in California how to cook like a restaurant chef.
“I believe most people will build their cooking skills by showing up and cooking each week, not through a culinary program like most professionals,” she says. “You can learn something even in 20 minutes.”
The cost for the meals is $60 a week, which buys you four credits. Each credit equals a meal serving, for a flat price of $15 each.
You don’t get to choose which dishes you want when you want them, however. Each week has a specific food theme. Some weeks it’s all South Indian meals, while another might be Greek or Eastern European. The meals are selected each week by Forage’s editorial team and head chef Stephen Beaumier (formerly of Cyrus, Quince and Noma).
Foragers, as those who order from the site are called, can also submit meals they would like to see shared at some point. Forage then does the legwork to connect with the restaurant and get access to their recipes.
“With the innovation in the delivery model and chef derived ingredients, we can create fresher, higher quality, and more interesting ingredients to speed up cooking time and maximize flavor,” Emily says.