I heard about DinnerWorks.com over the radio last week on the way back home. So after dinner, I checked out DinnerWorks.com and found that they are the first meal assembly center in Vancouver. I have never heard of meal assembly centers before now — this is all new to me and I was very curious to find out more. Today, there are more than 700 of such centers in the United States — this is a new concept to Vancouver.
DinnerWorks is in the meal preparation business. They basically does everything for you except cook. The idea is simple — eliminate the stress and save some of the cost and time of meal preparation. And all it does is somewhat of an assembly line for food prep.
Suanne signed up through the DinnerWorks.com website. DinnerWorks publish their schedule from which you choose a time you are expected to show up. They also publish the details of the menus — there are 12 delicious sounding menu items to select from.
On the website, you select your time and menu item you wanted. This will allow the folks in DinnerWorks to make sure that they have all the ingredients and food delivered FRESH just in time when you turn up.
We had no problems finding the place and were very surprised how nice the setup was. For some reason, I thought that “food assembly” means some cold warehouse setting with concrete floors and all. The place was spanking clean — makes Suanne feel like an iron chef preparing a gourmet meal! 🙂 We like it. Why, we were even given a nice DinnerWorks apron to don — what is missing is a chef hat.
We were greeted by Chris Roscoe who jointly owns and operates DinnerWorks with his wife. Being new to meal assemblies, Chris were very patient in showing us everything we need to know.
They emphasize a lot on cleanliness and food hygiene. We were initially shown where the wash stations and gloves (should we need it) were. The place were very well equipped with all kinds of kitchen utensils. Most of what we need it is already placed for us in the station but should we need more, there are lots. Suanne wish that her kitchen is like that — I think she will spend more time in the kitchen cooking.
The above is the picture of one of the eight meal preparation stations in DinnerWorks. Each station is setup for two menu items. It just happen that the two items that we selected were on the same station. We selected the:
- Pork Tenderloin with Wild Mushroom Cream Sauce
- Blue Fjord Salmon
The stations were well laid out. On the station there is a simple-to-read assembly instructions (see below). Also, there are measuring cups, measuring ladles, spatulas, whisks, etc. The utensils were not cheap dollar-store stuff — DinnerWorks uses quality utensils. It was really classy, I must say.
Even the ladles were marked with measurement indicator on the handle. This really makes it easy for us to make sure we have the right amount required.
The below is the sauce for the Blue Fjord Salmon. Even though, we don’t know how it will look like, by just seeing the ingredients that goes into it, we know that it will be great. Chris’ wife pop over and told us that this is her dad’s recipe and that the secret ingredient is the whiskey.
The ingredients for the Pork Tenderloin is equally enticing … white wine with wild mushroom and cream sauce. Yummy! Can’t wait to get home and try it out.
Preparing the two dishes were very fast even though we took our time to make sure we get it 100% correct. At the end, what we get is a zip-lock bag of all the ingredients, packed in individual bags, required for the meal. They also provided us the thawing and cooking instructions.
That’s it. We take it home, pop it into the freezer and when we want to cook it, we thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and we’re set. We will blog on the two dishes the next two days.
OK, I am sure you want to know how much it is. Now, remember that this is close to gourmet meal you are looking at here. Each menu item costs $30 and is sufficient to prepare a meal from 4 to 6 people — you do the math.
For a small family like ours, we split each of the menu items into two meals. DinnerWorks understands that the food is sometimes too much for small family and will help in breaking up the ingredients into correct proportions.
You know, it was really fun doing this. Chris and his wife is very friendly. The customers who were there were also friendly and chatting with them does make it a very enjoyable experience. There was this two young ladies preparing food next to us and they told us that they have never cooked before but now with DinnerWorks can whipped up a mean meal.
They even have parties of 6 and above booking the entire session. That sounds kind of fun to have friends going together to prepare the meals.
DinnerWorks is located in Vancouver. Their address is 102-1669 West 3rd Ave, between Burrard St and Granville, on the corner of Pine and 3rd.
We’ll be back again to try their other menu items (which, by the way, are changed every month). You should try it — you will like it.