I was so excited to participate in the online press launch party for Our Kitchen, an Asian-inspired food delivery service that is not just farm to table—the owner and executive chef Paulo Wei owns a farm in Jervis, NY where all the produce for his delicious dishes is grown! Even better, he welcomes guests to come dine up there and take a tour of the grounds, which have specially designed “tranquility” areas with seats and tables.
Wei addressed writers’ questions during the Our Kitchen launch–the dumpling demo portion of the event can be seen on my computer screen above–and we were all very impressed by this talented young chef’s zest for inventiveness in the kitchen while still admitting that he wants to keep his dishes very traditionally Asian. He gave us secrets about some of the traditional dishes including the fact that some dumplings have braided edges as a tribute to the ladies with braids who have made them for centuries.
While watching the launch, we journalists got to chow down on items that Our Kitchen had sent down the day before and we heated up, including a lotus seed paste bun known as the Oriental Charm that rivaled any bean paste bun that I had before and a truly unique mung bean soup. I still have to say the vegetarian dumplings blew me away more than anything else because of their freshness and being incredibly light but filling. The Sweet And Sour Pineapple Pork (made with chunks of pineapples and peppers) not to mention the Sauteed Prawn & Pineapple (made with with candied walnuts) were very impressive and I would highly recommend them to any first time customers of this flash frozen meal service.
As if being a chef with his own meal delivery service and 43-acre farm isn’t enough, the 25-year-old Wei is also an undergraduate student at Columbia University and a classically trained bel canto tenor. The affable entrepreneur, who was raised in Hong Kong and Beijing, says that it was his grandmother who inspired him to go into the meal delivery business and her dumpling recipe is a staple of Our Kitchen’s business.
Our Kitchen offers the best prices out there for healthy gourmet Asian fare as $8 to $20 per item. So now you are probably asking about how the quality of the food compares to any of Manhattan’s luxury Asian eateries? I will give my honest opinion and tell you that the food is ultra fresh, and there is a definite boost in quality since Wei’s staff can just literally pick items from the farm and bring it into the kitchen for that day’s outgoing meals! I would love to visit the farm someday and see some of the vegetables being picked as shown above. Many of them are Asian vegetables that you normally do not see on American farms but of course there are carrots and other American staples (I would strongly recommend the beef and carrot dumplings even though there are numerous kinds to choose from).
I will be ordering from Our Kitchen in the future. I am dying to try the lo mein pictured above as I adore freshly made Chinese noodles of all shapes and thicknesses (but classic lo mein noodles are my favorite). The Husband & Wife Lung Slices (which is really sliced beef sautéed with onions) is unforgettably spiced and super tender. There is plenty of healthy fare and needless to say, numerous choices for vegans and vegetarians. Recipes can be tailored to dietary needs by including notes when ordering online.
Our Kitchen food is delivered to both NYC and the Hamptons. Items come with instructions on how to heat and dumplings are best heated by boiling rather than microwave (Wei suggests boiling than adding in cold water and then boiling again and adding in cold water another time). As an added treat, I recommend visiting the grounds not only to see the beautiful produce and to relax in its special areas for guests but to get up close and personal holistic cooking lessons in the kitchen. Wei hopes to turn the stables and two houses on his farm into guest rooms in the future and is even considering adding in spa areas. Wei sees food as art, and his “artcentricness” can be seen both in his food and in the landscaping of his farm.
For more information on this truly unique farm to table meal service, go to www.ourkitchen.us.