Last June, Atlanta entrepreneur Emily Golub started Garnish & Gather, a concept that offers ready-to-cook meals for pick-up or delivery for around $15 a serving.
What's more, all the ingredients are grown in and around Atlanta, with an emphasis on organic and small family farm produce.
In May, G&G kicked off its new "Be The Chef" series, with St. Cecilia chef de cuisine Craig Richards offering a recipe for charred octopus with sundried tomato pesto and white bean and arugula salad as a menu choice.
In June, G&G partnered with chef Kevin Gillespie of Gunshow, and he came up with a recipe for pan-seared shrimp with summer vegetables and creamy grits.
I've tested a lot of recipes over the years, including some of Gillespie's, so it was interesting to try this one as my first experience of G&G.
Full disclosure: My bag of ingredients was delivered by longtime Atlanta PR person Meg Reggie, a G&G true believer who hoped I would write something.
And here it is:
My first impression was that the bag was very well put together, with all ingredients nicely packaged and labeled, including sources, such as "Watsonia Farm Green Beans" and "Woodland Gardens Zucchini."
In addition, the recipe card offered a list of all the ingredients in the bag, plus the three ingredients needed at home, salt and pepper, butter and water, and the equipment needed, a large saute pan and a medium sauce pan.
The instructions were truly step-by-step, and unless you've never boiled water, nearly idiot-proof.
But the real proof was in the cooking and the eating.
My verdict: An excellent dish, that took pretty close to the advertised time of 40 minutes to prepare, and paired with a simple arugula salad and a glass of wine, made a very satisfying meal for two.
My only qualm — as someone who cares about good local food but is notoriously budget-minded — is the price.
At $35 for pick-up or $45 for delivery, I wonder if anyone is cooking these meals several times a week.
Have you tried Garnish and Gather? What was your experience?