Your food, I mean! You can say just about anything you want, it seems, these days! In all seriousness, we probably try harder than any food delivery service out there to source the cleanest, freshest ingredients for your meals, and I try harder to make crazy creative but authentically flavored globally inspired recipes in the healthiest way than any chef I know. There are a lot of companies out there that source pre-made products for their meals with what they call a "Clean Label" meaning it meets some arbitrary standard of minimum processed ingredients, but still, processed mass produced food is still factory processed food. To me I want a "Dirty Label" (I know what your thinking from the title of this article...) but what I mean is, I want food that is only the ingredient that it is, and I want a dirty label, meaning I want it to come to us straight from the farm that grew it. I'm talking dirty labels like "Kale", "Yams, "Beef"- Those are my dirty four letter words! We do things differently at Foodsmith, and we call it Stealth Health, where vegetables reign supreme and the only process in our food is love. So let me tell you a bit about some of our "Stealth Health" recipes.
One of the things we do differently than anyone else I know, is we make food that goes bad. Yes, I am bragging that our food goes bad. Why, you might ask? Seems a bit risky to brag about that, right? Well, no actually. Foodsmith meals go bad because everything is made from scratch from whole unprocessed ingredients. there are NO artificial or chemical preservatives in anything we make, except for a bit of salt, and sometimes lemon juice, or raw unfiltered vinegar. That means we make food that will go bad faster than food made in a factory with additives and preservatives. Let me tell a funny story about my first few months as the Chef and Food Service Director for the Santa Cruz public school system. I started in August, and the central kitchen had been closed all summer. We started cooking from scratch as soon as I got there. The Assistant Superintendent told me that my predecessor had stockpiled a freezer full of food that could get me through my first 6 months on the job. I looked and did not see any food in that freezer- chicken nuggets with 27 ingredients besides chicken, Bonzi pizza sticks, frozen burgers, corn dogs, Uggh! I did not use any of that frozen garbage. Instead I applied for a got a grant to install some high end equipment to enhance our ability to cook from scratch for thousands of kids a day, and we planned the installation of these new ovens and blast chillers (to rapidly cool cooked foods like broccoli, chicken breasts, etc.) for February. Over the Winter Break, I (well, the kids in Santa Cruz schools) got the best Christmas present ever- that huge freezer had a malfunction, and we returned to all of the frozen junk processed food was spoiled. We hauled it off, and started from scratch! Come February, we removed the old ovens in the Central Kitchen to install the new high tech steam bake Combi oven, and lo and behold, behind the old oven on the ground was a lonely little chicken nugget- one of the 27-ingredients-that-aren't-chicken nuggets. But remember- I never served one ever. I started in August, it was now February, and the kitchen had been close for the prior summer and that chicken nugget looked like it had just come out of the freezer and been cooked that day, with NO visible sign of decay, mold, or even been nibbled on by anything! So 8 months at room temperature and that nugget had not gone "bad", except that it was already so bad to begin with, even bacteria passed it up. That nugget stayed on my desk for years until I left to start Foodsmith. Scary.
What's not scary is our meals. Let's talk salad dressing. Remember when "fat free" dressings were all the rage? Scary. Mostly water and synthetic chemical additives and thickeners. A fat free Foodsmith dressing is pretty much a veggie smoothie with raw vinegar or citrus juice, like our Carrot Lime, or Carrot Ginger. Take our base dressing that becomes our Balsamic or Creamy Lemon Dijon, or Creamy Red Wine Vinaigrettes. We start with about 60% green apples, whole cloves of garlic, Dijon Mustard, vinegar or lemon juice, and a bit of Virgin Olive oil, and blend it smooth in big Vita Mix blender. That's it. Really. Secret is out. It cuts the fat calories by a lot over standard dressings and adds fiber and nutrients that are absent from store bought dressings. And to make them creamy we add a splash of our famous Cauliflower Cream (think a cooked cauliflower smoothie). That's it. No weird and unhealthy additives, emulsifiers, gums or chemical preservatives. Just healthy raw ingredients. Because that's where our values lie, and they are non-negotiable. We work harder, so you don't have to worry about what's in your food, only whole ingredients with "dirty labels"! 😉 Foodsmith. The Healthiest Food On Earth.