It’s not uncommon for health-conscious people to use the month of January to focus on their well-being.
Hoping to avoid the post-holiday malaise and satisfy New Year’s resolutions, those 31 days are often spent introducing cleaner ingredients to diets or spending more time at the gym.
“It’s kind of like the new grocery store.”Ashley John Heather
For Ashley John Heather, founder of the start-up and innovation spaces in Southampton and East Hampton known as The Spur, this state of mind led to a new business idea.
Honest Plate is a weekly subscription-based meal service that provides healthy prepared meals across the East End.
Heather said the idea to launch the business came just last month, when for the fifth straight year, he and his wife Diana adopted the Whole 30 philosophy for a month to start the year off eating clean. Whole 30, a diet created about a decade ago, emphasizes whole foods and the elimination of sugar, alcohol, grains, soy and dairy.
The Heathers have found the diet to be beneficial to them, but all the shopping and prepping involved makes it more of a challenge for their family of five, which includes three children with different tastes and dietary needs. “There’s got to be an easier way,” he recalled thinking.
So Heather approached a pair of chefs from The Spur, Jon Albrecht and Nick Resini, who cook under the brand Honest Chefs, about creating a meal service that meets the requirements of Whole 30, but makes it easy to participate.
“It’s a flexible format that’s really hitting home,” Heather said.
Using a commercial kitchen in Riverhead, the chefs have created more than 1,000 heat-and-eat meals in the first 30 days of the business. Subscribers pick the meals up at one of three locations across the East End, which Heather likened to the “the new grocery store.”
Long term, the entrepreneurs envision making Honest Plate a national franchise and Heather has already begun exploring an outside-the-box way franchisees could have commercial kitchens built for them around the country.
Where it differs from other popular subscription-based meal services like Blue Apron or HelloFresh is that it eliminates prep time and, perhaps more importantly to the environmentally-conscious member, the extraneous plastic packaging that ends up in trash cans.
Albrecht and Resini said it was important for them to use a zero-waste approach in the plan. So the meals, which start at $10, are delivered in custom glass containers that are returned each week and recycled. The menu is created and distributed with no single-use plastics. The waste is composted.
“We’re just throwing all this plastic away (with other services),” Heather said. “We don’t want all this plastic on the beaches. This is something important to all of us on the East End.”
Honest Plate has also pledged to donate free meals to cancer patients in a partnership with Fighting Chance, a cancer counseling center based in Sag Harbor.
How it Works
Servings: One to four meals
Frequency: Two, three or five meals per week
Menus: Plant-based, pescatarian or omnivore. The plant-based menus are designed in partnership with The Wellness Foundation, an organization based in Sag Harbor that helps individuals make healthier choices.
Pickup: Mondays and Thursdays at locations in Riverhead, Southampton and East Hampton. (Home delivery for an additional charge). A Friday pickup for weekenders is coming soon.
For more info visit honestplate.com.