Meet the Stylish Mama Behind LA's Coolest Kids Meal Delivery Service
Although preparing delicious gourmet dishes for our little ones on the daily would be the dream, the reality is that working mamas are on a constant time crunch, searching for new ways to efficiently tackle the day's overwhelming amount of responsibilities.
If you, like us, are always on the hunt for quick and easy meals that leave kids both happy and healthy, meet First Spoonful: a game-changing, LA-based homemade kids meal delivery service founded by chef and mama, Jennifer Jewett. The minute we found out about Jewett's brilliant concept, we loved it so much that we insisted on hosting First Spoonful's launch event, which took place at Seedling's charming HQ last month. (Take a peek at the party photos here!) Learn more about Jewett and First Spoonful below, and become a client when you're ready to regain time.
What inspired you to launch First Spoonful?
I don't think, as a new parent, I realized how time-consuming it could be making three healthy meals and snacks every day for my son once he started eating whole foods. It was definitely a topic that came up a lot among my friends who were also new parents and in my Mommy & Me groups. I’m a trained chef and I loved the opportunity to be creative with my son's meals while introducing new foods to him, but a lot of my mommy friends were finding the process more challenging than fun.
So, I saw a need; having wholesome, organic, freshly-cooked children's meals delivered to your home sounded like it could be a great thing for busy parents. It just seemed like my passion for cooking and the need for healthy children's meals went hand in hand.
I also thought I could develop dishes that would introduce children to new foods, tastes, and textures to help them grow to become healthy, adventurous eaters. So, First Spoonful was born!
How do you balance motherhood with your business?
First I have to say, being a working mom is a never-ending process of balancing and juggling. Every day I’m trying my best, and I think that's all you can do.
I didn’t start First Spoonful until my son was a little over a year and a half, so I was so fortunate to be able to stay at home with him for that time. We had a routine then and we still have one now, but of course it’s evolved with my changing schedule.
I’m learning every day what works and what doesn’t when it comes to running a business and being a mom. The one thing that has truly helped me is when I am with my son, I am with my son. I don’t answer emails, work on menu development, talk to vendors, work on social media or do the million other things that I need to do for First Spoonful. I think we can all slip into multitasking at times, but I've found that never works well for me. Putting the phone completely out of sight and spending real quality time with him is so important and I don't ever want to have to sacrifice that.
What is your favorite meal in the program?
Honestly, there are so many dishes I love. I do a slow braised pork shoulder that I marinate in a dry rub overnight. Then I cook it low and slow in house made chicken stock and house made BBQ sauce – I serve it on house made Pullman sliders with a quick sweet pickle that I make and it’s like the perfect summer meal. I tend to say house made all of the time, but we literally make everything in house and I feel like I want and need my customers to know that. We make absolutely everything from scratch that we can and that’s really important to me.
What is your child's favorite meal in the program?
My son is on a huge carb kick right now so he’s loving anything with pasta or rice. I did a butternut squash risotto the other night with pancetta and goat cheese and that was a huge hit with him. One of his favorite snacks that I’ve made from the beginning is my roasted fruit – strawberry, blueberry, pear, whatever is in season - and house made yogurt. He loves it and I feel good about giving it to him because there are no added sugars.
Are your ingredients and meals pediatrician approved?
We follow the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for nutrition and healthy eating. The topic of what foods are age-appropriate for infants and toddlers can be a controversial one, so we tend to be on the conservative side of things when it comes to introducing foods from the 6 month to 1 year age. Once children reach 1 year I wholeheartedly believe in feeding them food that adults would eat. We will make the food less seasoned, cook the veggies softer, and, of course, make the portions smaller, but you can look at the dish and recognize it as real, whole food. Parents can let us know about specific allergies or about foods they want to avoid in general and we can make adjustments to their meal plan based on that. I also don’t cook with peanuts or peanut products in my kitchen because that allergy has become so common.
What's on the menu for a typical FS delivery?
A typical day of food for a 3-5 year old would look like this:
Breakfast: Soft Scrambled Egg with Cheese, House Made Chicken Sausage, House Made Cinnamon Raisin Toast and Blueberries
Lunch: Roasted Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas with House Made Tortillas, Spanish Rice with Squash and Tomatoes
Snack: Banana Zucchini Walnut Bread
Dinner: Tahini Marinated Chicken Satay with Lime Yogurt Sauce, Coconut Rice and Grilled Indian Eggplant
Again, everything is made from scratch and everything is organic.
How many clients do you have currently?
We have a handful a monthly clients at the moment and are getting more each month. We haven't done any advertising yet, so this as all been from word of mouth. We also have a large number of clients at preschools we deliver lunches to, which has been a very popular program.
What's a day in the life like for you, from wake-up to bedtime?
I usually start the day going over what needs to get done in the kitchen. Making all my lists and printing out my prep lists, delivery schedule, and client orders. My husband usually gets our son up and then makes me coffee while I’m organizing the day, he’s really the best! Depending on the day, one of my cooks will already be at the kitchen getting prep done and I'll be in contact with them making sure we have everything we need for the day's meals. Then I'll get to spend some time with my munchkin before I need to go into the kitchen. Lately, he loves to sit in my lap in the car before I leave and press every button he can find. Sometimes he won't let my husband take him out of the car and I'll be late, but he loves it and I think it’s worth it!
Once I get to the kitchen, I'll make sure everything is underway, go over the menus with my cooks and double check everything that’s been prepped. I then spend time cooking, tasting and plating the food for that day. Then I'll usually go over the next couple of days menus with my sous chef and we'll discuss ideas for the menus, dishes, and recipes that we want to test out and try. Before I leave the kitchen I re-check everything and spend some time making sure I have what I need for the next days production, placing orders with vendors, and getting organized for the next day.
At this point, it will be time to brave the traffic back home. I try to make it home a couple of hours before my son's bedtime. Once I get back I get some play time in with him before dinner and bath time and then both my husband and I put him down for bed. My husband and I will eat dinner and maybe watch one of the shows we follow. Occasionally I'll need to do some work after dinner, but that's rare, by that time I'm really tired! Then it's bedtime, which has been shifting earlier and earlier for us. We've found we need our energy for the mornings which are usually a whirlwind!
What is your top tip for preparing quick and healthy snacks?
I am a huge proponent of healthy snacks for kids and I always have a ton in my house. Some easy snacks to have on hand are sliced cucumbers and carrots with different dips. I make hummus, ranch, herbed sour cream and cheese dips and have them on hand along with pita bread and crackers so everything is ready to go. I also like having different healthy baked goods like my zucchini banana bread and granola bars that are easy to take on the go but store really well and can last all week.
What are your big dreams for First Spoonful?
At this point I’m such a brand new business that my dream right now is to just grow and get more clients. I'd like to get to the point where I can focus all my energy on creating new dishes, which is the really fun part! Figuring out ways to introduce new foods and tastes to children, so they'll think of mealtime as an adventure rather than a chore. It’s so important to teach our children how to eat healthy, real, delicious food and I know that I can help parents do that and make their lives a little easier at the same time.
Follow First Spoonful on Instagram: @firstspoonful