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We can agree that most take-out is bad for you. We can agree that a home-cooked meal is usually far better than take-out both for you and for the environment. And we can probably agree that even if you're a great cook, a professional chef is better in the kitchen. But if you could have the convenience of take-out, with the healthier edge of home-cooked, but the taste of a professionally prepared meal, would you bite? Gobble hopes so! The start-up has raised $1.2 million to get its website going, which connects you to the best chefs in your neighborhood for home-cooked take-out. It seems only obvious that a website such as Gobble would pop up in California's Bay Area, where underground farmers' markets feature the best foraged foods and raw milk, underground dinners are served by top chefs, and gourmet food truck culture has taken off like wildfire.
TechCrunch reports, "The site is the brainchild of Stanford graduate Ooshma Garg, who ate healthy homemade food at home but found it difficult to find time to cook in college and afterwards, when she worked at a startup."
Ordering "Gobble" From Your Neighbors
The premise of the website is fairly simple. Chefs, caterers, and anyone with a passion for cooking can sign up to provide meals. The folks who run the site have ordered from and eaten every meal offered on the site, and vouch for each chef. Users hop online, select the area they want to order from (it can be delivery for $10 or pick-up for free) and note any dietary preferences, like vegetarian, wheat-free, dairy-free and so on. A list of what meals the chefs in that area are preparing that day pop up, and you select your meal.
The meals are made fresh that day, with fresh ingredients purchased that day. But it doesn't come cheap -- the average meal costs about $17, which would be $27 if you want it delivered.
The Upsides to Home-Cooked Take-Out
There are a lot of upsides to Gobble, the main one being you are getting freshly made food with no freaky ingredients. In fact, Gobble's FAQ states:
Are Gobble meals healthy?
Absolutely. We take pride in offering healthy options that are also flavorful and creative. Chefs purchase fresh ingredients for every time they receive an order from Gobble. Many of our chefs have their own vegetable gardens. Other chefs have relationships with nearby farmers and producers to source local ingredients. Some chefs cook only with only organic fruits and vegetables or specialty meats. Chefs also design meals specific to particular diets and lifestyles. You can find meals to fit any definition of "healthy", whether you simply want fresh or organic ingredients in your dishes or you want meals prepared to complement your p90x workout.
Hard To Get Locally Grown, Organic Ingredients
But there are some downsides too. I can't seem to see if there is a way to order meals made only with locally grown or produced foods, unless you contact the chef about the meal first. It seems like this should be one of the check-off boxes in the dietary restrictions category. While some chefs may use only organic foods, or may use food they grow in their own gardens, there isn't an easy way to search for meals with only these ingredients. There are a few tags offered for searches. However, when I clicked "Organic" for San Francisco, zero meals came up. Easier searches for organic and locally grown would be a big up-side (though it would of course limit your options for meals).
Gobble Is Just Getting Started
Granted, this is a brand new site and likely these options will become easier to use as the concept spreads and more chefs and kitchen wizards are taking part. Gobble is currently available in Bay Area cities Palo Alto, SOMA district n San Francisco, and Mountain View.
While there is no guarantee that the meal will be healthier for you than if you cooked at home and had total control over how much oil, fats, and various other ingredients make it into the meal, that sort of control isn't the point of take-out. Gobble offers a decidedly more healthy and appetizing version of take-out and it's no wonder the company has raised $1.2 in venture capital already.
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More on Healthy Take-Out
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