Get Home-Cooked Meals Delivered To You After A Busy Day
New York-based service brings homemade dinners from a neighbor's kitchen to those without time to cook
Sometimes all we need is a home-cooked meal, but we don’t always have the time or the skills to do it ourselves. Umi Kitchen, a platform for home chefs to cook meals for strangers just launched in Manhattan to make homemade meal delivery a reality. Unlike other services like Blue Apron and Plated, which deliver ingredients and instructions for a specific recipe, Umi meals are prepared in small quantities by local cooks.
Founded by Khalil Tawil, Hallie Meyer (daughter of Shake Shack founder and Union Square Hospitality Group CEO Danny Meyer) and former Tumblr VP Derek Gottfrid, Umi was inspired by Tawil’s mother, an immigrant who used to cook Lebanese food from home and sell it to her neighbors. After putting an ad on Craigslist looking for a home-cooked meal and receiving an overwhelming number of responses, Tawil and Meyer started talking about forming Umi Kitchen.
The founders have relied on job boards and culinary school networks to find its cooks, but Instagram has proven to be an efficient recruitment tool to reach out to people who post photos of the meals they prepare at home. Those who are interested in cooking for Umi must first submit an application and prepare a sample menu for the founders. The accepted cooks also have to complete the same food safety training required for New York restaurant workers.
So far, the options have included paleo short ribs, pork belly tacos, thai curry and vegan quinoa. Each home cook offers a minimum of five meals per night, for $16 or less, plus a $3.99 delivery fee. Home cooks receive 80 percent of what they charge for the meal, and are reimbursed for any meals that don’t sell.
Even though it’s launching as a competitor to services like Seamless and UberEats, this service is more about the home-cooked quality of the food and less about the convenience of delivery, which might be the beginning of a new movement within the gig economy model.
Umi Kitchen is currently available only for dinner in Brooklyn and in Manhattan, east of 5th Avenue between Houston and 116th streets.