Staying at home and preparing every meal is starting to get old for many people (there’s only so much sourdough one can bake). While dining in restaurants feels like a pipe dream and there are only so many delivery and takeout options, it doesn’t mean your dinner has to be a nuked burrito or a Stouffer’s lasagna as you work your way through the Netflix queue.
But just as New Yorkers started sheltering in place nearly two months ago, a delivery service offering gourmet frozen meals by two industry vets debuted. Joshua Brau (who worked at the meal prep company Blue Apron) and chef Micah Fredman (who cooked at fine-dining restaurants like Gramercy Tavern and Eleven Madison Park) teamed up to start Ipsa Provisions to upgrade those sad meals lining the frozen food aisle—all delivered to your doorsteps.
“People are cooking a ton more, which is awesome, but they’re also looking for options that don’t involve cooking,” Brau tells Time Out New York. “We’re not trying to compete with home cooking as much as offering a convenient option. Pulling something out of your freezer and reheating a dish, we like to think minute-for-minute for active effort that it’s the best meal you could have at home”
While these aren’t your cheap meals, a dish like yellow mole with chorizo meatballs ($23) feeds two to three people and non-dessert items run between $21-$25. You have to place a minimum $55 order, which costs $12 for delivery within Manhattan and much of Brooklyn (there’s no delivery fee for orders over $95). Another bonus? Ipsa isn’t a subscription service and operates like delivery when you want the convenience of just turning on your stove. The meals aren’t made for the microwave and Fredman noted in an Instagram post: “[Ipsa is] on a mission to redeem the freezer.”
As the company prepares meals out of a commercial kitchen in Long Island City, they’ve seen a strong demand for their service as the city shut down. They started running out of certain ingredients quicker than expected, Brau notes, and have since focused on producing more of their staple dishes such as coconut curry with vegetables ($21) and Moroccan braised chicken ($23) while offering specials, too. He adds that they hope customers see the menu items—sourced from the local greenmarkets and nearby purveyors—as a “centerpiece of the meal” but that people would also feel motivated to make a quick salad or accompanying dish.
“It’s not like a TV dinner,” says Brau. “The end result is more satisfying.”
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