Moveable Feast

Want to experience top-tier restaurants from around the country right in your home? Now you can, thanks to a unique subscription meal offering.

 

Moveable Feast
moveablefeast.io // @moveablefeastathome


Inspired by a wealth of high-level restaurants across the United States, paired with pandemic-inspired creativity within the culinary community, restaurateurs John Stubbs of New Orleans’ own Jewel of the South and Jon Sybert of the Michelin-recognized Tail Up Goat in Washington, D.C., launched a one-of-a-kind subscription meal box that brings the dinner party home.

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“We wanted to provide greater access to the most exciting restaurants in America,” Stubbs said. “Right now, there are a number of obstacles to access these experiences. You may have to travel great distances, or even across the country…You often have to go to great lengths to secure a reservation. You may have to fight traffic and find parking in a crowded city. You may need a babysitter. What if we could simply bring these experiences home to you?”

Unlike the popular weeknight meal prep kits that proliferated in the market during COVID-19 (think Hello Fresh or Blue Apron), Moveable Feast is a wholly unique service, featuring top tier menus designed to be easy to reheat and serve to guests, along with, soon, paired cocktails or wine, all with the goal of taking the guesswork out of entertaining at home.

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Each box is packed with a multi-course meal specially designed by a top-tier chef. Each course is fully cooked and only requires assembly, with a handy step-by-step guide included. (Photo by Adahlia Cole)

“Moveable Feast is different because of our restaurant partners,” Stubbs said. “We are currently working with the restaurants on the lists — the ones winning awards, leading the industry in taste, sustainability, employment practices and setting new standards for hospitality. We get to work with the best in the business and deliver access to experiences worthy of these restaurants to homes across the country.”

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Moveable Feast subscriptions are available seasonally ($1,400 for four feasts), year-round ($3,960 for 12 feasts) or available as a one-off feast for gifting to yourself, family or friends. The October box included a six-course menu by Jewel of the South Chef Phil Whitmarsh featuring Hakurei turnips with bone marrow and smoked Maldon, braised short rib pie Bourguignon, and a dessert of Eccles cake with potted cheese, and was available in three sizes and prices ($385 for four people, $770 for eight and $1,155 for 12). The box also included the ingredients (sans alcohol) to mix up a specially designed cocktail called “The Ponchatoula” by Tales of the Cocktail award-winning bartender Chris Hannah of New Orleans.

“It’s easy to gift dinners to family, friends, clients, or employees,” said Stubbs. “You can even opt to send an elegant invitation by old-fashioned postal mail. Your recipient then reviews our slate of upcoming restaurants and menus, finds one that suits their tastes, and secures a reservation for a date that is convenient for them. At that time, they can also let us know about any allergies or dietary restrictions,” Stubbs said.

For Moveable Feast, specially curated menus and market fresh ingredients set it apart from its everyday competitors.

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“We built our first kitchen in Napa to get access to better farms, better ingredients, and longer growing seasons,” he said. “We only work with farmers that employ sustainable, biodynamic or organic growing methods. Our menus are seasonal, always. We work hand in hand with our restaurant partners to select each and every ingredient, and everything is selected with intention. There are no recipes to follow. Everything arrives cooked. We walk you through heating and plating with color-coded instructions and short videos. It requires no experience in the kitchen, and only about 30 minutes to put everything together for your table. My 11-year-old son enjoys prepping and plating the feats for us at home.”

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Each box goes behind the meal, with a unique glimpse inside the restaurant kitchens of each, along with the chef and staff personalities, to round out the at-home dining experience.

“We have done most of the work for you,” Stubbs added. “Have fun with our playlists. We include one from the ‘back of house’ — this is what the kitchen staff play while prepping in the restaurant. And then there is another playlist for the ‘front of house’ — this is what you would experience as a customer in the dining room. Learn to plate like a pro with our color-coded instructions and short videos, and set the table with individual menus for your place settings.”

While current boxes incorporate dining experiences for a group, Stubbs teases a new product that will be perfect for a more intimate get-together.

“We currently have one product, Dinner Party, that serves four or more people,” he said. “In 2024, we will add a second product, Date Night, that serves two. We love what Dinner Party has to offer, and what it does to bring people together around the table. It’s not always possible to host guests, and Date Night should provide even more opportunities for our customers to enjoy restaurant experiences at home.”


The Meal Kit Craze Continues to Grow

Since its introduction in 2012, online meal kit delivery services have continued to expand. Meal kit revenue worldwide is expected to grow to over $17 billion in 2023 and is forecast to exceed $25 million by 2027.

SOURCE: August 2023 report from Statista


Pandemic Inspiration

Pandemic protocols prompted significant changes to how restaurant-goers and restaurateurs approached dining, with those changes continuing to influence the industry from hospitality-rich cities like New Orleans and beyond.

“During the pandemic, we saw innovation at every level in the restaurant industry, and for a moment we saw some incredible restaurants create unique experiences for their customers to enjoy at home,” said Stubbs. “That ended once restaurants reopened to guests. Most of our best restaurants are not built to simultaneously service customers in their dining room and customers at home.”

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Ingredients for each box are fresh, seasonal and sourced from farmers that embrace “sustainable, biodynamic or organic growing methods.”

Beyond providing a new culinary experience for diners, innovation outside of restaurant dining rooms proved to be a vital lifeline for many hospitality workers and restaurant owners.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, when restaurants were forced to close by government shutdown orders, I was part of a small group of restaurant owners who came together to engage policymakers in Washington, D.C.,” said Stubbs. “Our group created the Independent Restaurant Coalition, and we worked on legislation such as the Paycheck Protection Program and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. I’m incredibly grateful and proud of the efforts of that group to create lifelines that saved many restaurants.”

“In executing this work, a few dozen restaurant owners met twice weekly online for more than a year. These sessions were part strategy and part therapy, and we became fast and close friends,” he continued. “Several restaurant leaders from that experience are founding partners of Moveable Feast, including Nina Compton (Compère Lapin, New Orleans), Kim Alter (Nightbird, San Francisco), Bobby Stuckey (Frasca Food & Wine, Boulder), Amanda Cohen (Dirt Candy, New York), and, of course, my co-founder Jon Sybert and his partner, Jill Tyler (Tail Up Goat, Washington, D.C.).”

Moveable Feast’s subscribers run the gamut, from tried-and-true foodies, to home cooks, families and more, according to Stubbs — a following the company is embracing and still exploring through new options and add-ons.

“We’ve been on the market less than a year, and we continue to learn a tremendous amount from our customers about how we can provide access to great chefs and restaurants,” said Stubbs. “We have customers who enjoy dinner with us every month and prepare the meals with their children as an elevated family night at home. We have professionals who regularly send dinners to clients and employees. There is a collection of customers who host dinner parties, and we are an alternative to catering or spending the week prepping the party. It’s exciting to learn about all the ways we are helping people create new experiences at home.”


Cocktail Recipe

The Ponchatoula by Chris Hannah

Add 1.5 oz. Cocktail & Sons Fassionola Mixer and 2 oz. rum into a cocktail shaker.
Add ice and shake.
Strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with a dehydrated lime wheel.


Did you know? HelloFresh was the most popular service provider in the United States, accounting for more than 70% of the meal kit market in 2022, and with over $3.2 billion in U.S. revenues.

HelloFresh now boasts more than 7 million subscribers around the world, with global revenues reaching $6.5 billion.

SOURCE: Statista

 

 

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