Pure Meal Prep San Diego: fine dining on the go



Ask Chef Brett Dudley what’s most important in a good meal, and he’ll give you a simple answer: “Everything. ”

“The ingredients, the taste, the dish,” he says.

In the summer of 2018, he and his wife, Cassie, started a meal prep business after months of crises and began testing their business concept from their apartment.

Today, the culinary trifecta of ingredients, taste and plate still feature prominently in how Brett approaches his work as co-owner and executive chef of Pure Meal Prep San Diego.

“When we first started,” says Cassie, “we cooked a lot of meals for the bodybuilders and they wanted plain chicken. But that’s not who Brett is. Doing something clear was almost embarrassing for him. He wanted to make a beautiful and tasty meal.

Pure Meal Prep started out as a favor to Brett’s brother, Michael, a fitness enthusiast who wanted meals but didn’t want to cook them. Soon, through word of mouth, Brett began cooking meals not only for his brother, but also for his friends.

“He had friends in the fitness industry who were looking for clean, healthy meals, so I was doing it next door,” says Brett, who worked for a defense contractor at the time. “We started preparing meals in our own tiny 500 square foot apartment in North Park.”

New York steak ground in a hamburger and mixed bacon, caramelized onions and fresh parsley. This is then placed on a homemade pretzel bun and served with twice fried sweet potato fries.

(Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Cassie, meanwhile, started posting her meals on Instagram “as a sort of,“ Oh look what Brad is up to today. ”People liked the posts, commented and asked,“ Where can I get meals. like this? Do you sell meals? ”

This is how Pure Meal Prep San Diego was born. Their goal from the start was to slowly grow the business so as not to overwhelm the kitchen. That’s exactly what they’ve done, expanding their customer base through social media, TV appearances, and face-to-face visits to city fitness centers.

The coronavirus pandemic has stepped up security measures in the kitchen, with temperature checks every morning, masks for everyone and 20-minute disinfection sessions every two hours.

“We saw substantial growth in our business when door-to-door orders took effect and continue to grow,” says Brett, who adds that kitchen pickups are no longer offered and contactless delivery has been implemented. work.

A few days ago, they left East County for a new location in the Sorrento Valley Рin a space with their own kitchen and the soon to be opened Cach̩ Cafe, which will serve a contemporary American menu, for morning lunches and dinners. A second group of staff will be hired to complete the current roster of eight cooks who chop, grill, cook and prepare hundreds of meals each Saturday for Sunday delivery by nine drivers. They deliver meals from Oceanside to San Ysidro between 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Dudley, who was born and raised in San Diego, learned a lot about food and cooking from his mother. His first job was in “a little French bistro in Scripps Ranch,” he says. “I started there and fell in love with cooking and never stopped.”

Many years later he met Cassie. They both worked at Smoking Goat and One Door North in North Park. She was a manager and he worked in the kitchen. This combination turned out to be a harbinger of good things to come.

“We love the food industry and are passionate about it,” he says. “That’s what makes us such a great team.

Spinach ravioli stuffed with ground beef with fennel, pan-fried shrimp marinated in fresh lemon zest.

Homemade spinach ravioli stuffed with fennel ground beef with ricotta and spinach, seared shrimp marinated with fresh lemon zest, herbs and garlic.

(Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

They see themselves as foodies, and that’s a big part of their approach to the business.

“Our business strategy has always been to reach out to sane people who didn’t have the time to cook and shop but still enjoyed good food,” says Cassie. “People who liked good food but on the run. “

Their menus, which change weekly, feature multiple plans, including lean and keto. Recent meal plans have included dishes like grilled pepper and garlic flank steak over mashed sweet potatoes, charred seasonal vegetables with chili aioli. Or wild caught salmon in a herb crust over rice, grilled seasonal vegetables and a creamy lemon sauce. What about taco Tuesdays? How about braised ribs topped with microgreens.

“Everything is made fresh,” Brett says, “from pasta and dumplings to hamburger buns. ”

Even the hamburger buns? Yes. A quick glance at the company’s Instagram page (@puremealprepsd, with nearly 12,000 followers) reveals a kitchen busy making homemade hamburger buns, guajillo-braised empanadas, and shrimp-stuffed ravioli. .

“It’s definitely not the boring chicken and rice and veg,” Cassie said with a chuckle.

Cassie, who takes care of the business side, knows well enough to unleash Brett’s creativity in the kitchen, but every once in a while, she nudges in: “Ravioli stuffed with shrimp?” Can we achieve this this week? ”

Brett’s answer is always “yes”.

“Look,” he said, “we have far exceeded our expectations. We made mistakes at the start, but we have learned from them. We grew from them, and that’s what kept us going. It’s a lesson in humility, but at the end of the day we love what we do.

“Because we’ve worked together before,” says Cassie, “we really like working together now. We each have respect for each other for letting ourselves be led in our own ways. He respects my knowledge of marketing and business, and I respect his knowledge of his menu.

Brett adds, “I strive so hard to be different from the typical meal prep business that I really want affordable restaurant meals.

And that means caring about things like the ingredients, the taste, and the plating.

“Because we come from this industry, it is difficult for us to act like a normal meal preparation company. We will never think the same way, ”he says. “This is what makes us different from others. ”

To learn more about Pure Meal Prep San Diego, visit puremealprepsd.com

A grilled salmon burger on a potato bun is one of the menu items at Pure Meal Prep San Diego.

A grilled salmon burger on a potato bun is one of the menu items at Pure Meal Prep San Diego.

(Courtesy photo)

Grilled salmon burger


On a potato bun served with a refreshing summer salad and house champagne vinaigrette

FOR THE SALMON BURGER

1 8 oz salmon fillet

Three tablespoons of Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons of mayonnaise

1 cup finely chopped green onions

1 tablespoon of zested lemon

pinch of cayenne

1 cup of panko

1 bunch of chopped fresh parsley

3 finely chopped fresh garlic cloves

Two potato buns, sliced

1. With a knife, cut the salmon into equal parts.

2. Add the salmon to a food processor and mix until it turns into a paste, then transfer to a bowl.

3. Add mayonnaise, green onions, lemon zest, cayenne pepper, panko, parsley and garlic to the salmon. Using your hands, mix all the ingredients together.

4. Form two equal patties.

5. Season the patties with salt and pepper.

6. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties (in batches if necessary) and cook until golden brown on the bottom (about 3 to 4 minutes), adjusting the heat if necessary. Flip and cook until the other side is golden and the patties are soft in the center (3 to 4 minutes more).

FOR SIDE SALAD

2 cups organic spring mix

1/4 cup julienned red onions

1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries

1 cup of walnuts

Add all the salad ingredients to a bowl and mix; put aside

CHAMPAGNE VINAIGRETTE

1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard

2 cloves of fresh garlic

2 tablespoons of fresh thyme

4 tablespoons of champagne vinegar

2 tablespoons of honey

1 cup avocado oil

Black pepper and kosher salt to taste

1. In a hand blender, add the mustard, garlic, thyme, champagne vinegar and honey.

2. Turn on the blender and slowly add the olive oil to emulsify all the ingredients, creating a dressing (the sauce should start to thicken). You don’t want your sauce to get too thick. If this happens, you can add some cold water. Be careful though: you don’t want the sauce to separate and break.

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

In a plate, add your cooked salmon pancakes to your potato buns, add the salad accompanying the spring mixture to your plate. Drizzle salad with dressing and serve.

KITCHEN ESSENTIALS

  • A sharp knife is essential.
  • A blender: I prefer something like a Vitamix, but your average small blender will do.
  • Good kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper should be in everyone’s pantry.

A grilled salmon burger on a potato bun is one of the menu items at Pure Meal Prep San Diego.

A grilled salmon burger on a potato bun is one of the menu items at Pure Meal Prep San Diego.

(Courtesy photo)


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