Six years ago, Lorraine Gnanadickam was venting to her husband about regularly resorting to unhealthy takeaway meals as they were juggling work and caring for two children. The ex-chef came up with the idea to connect home cooks with families who were struggling to cook fresh, healthy meals for themselves and the idea for Food St was born. Fast-forward to 2021 and Gnanadickam’s meal delivery service has evolved into something beyond the original vision. Now approximately 30 home cooks and professionally-trained chefs make at least two meals per week, which are then frozen and delivered to households across greater Sydney.
“I come from a Palestinian and Swiss background, food was always a big focus for my family,” says Gnanadickam. “Each Food St cook is vetted and we sample all the food on the menu. The idea is that the food isn’t mass produced; everything is seasonal, cooked by hand, then freshly frozen before being delivered – it’s like mum filling up your freezer for the week.”
The cooks come from a variety of backgrounds and expertise. There’s Cynthia who cooks Balinese dishes, Burcu who makes vegan and plant-based meals, Iris who makes Cambodian dishes inspired by her grandparents and Umesh who cooks Indian meals inspired by his mother’s cooking.
Diners can order lasagne, enchiladas and pumpkin curries – all made by different cooks but delivered at the same time. Sizes range from single-serve to family-sized meals. There are hundreds of options to choose from, with the list updated each week.
Lockdowns that have led to restaurant closures have meant more professionally-trained chefs have joined the team at Food St, evolving the service in a way Gnanadickam hadn’t expected. Through her business, she’s supported a number of professional chefs and caterers who were unable to work during stay-at-home periods.
“Being able to support the hospitality industry has been rewarding,” she tells Broadsheet. “We had a few chefs join us last year, and this year when the lockdown struck they’ve come back to work with us again. We’re all about enabling people, so we’re glad we can help them share their passion for food and cooking with those who love to eat.”
Food St delivers on Wednesdays across greater Sydney and large parts of regional NSW. All meals are frozen and delivered in insulated boxes. A $9.99 flat-rate fee applies for Sydney metro deliveries with a minimum spend of $70 per order.