As a food writer, I make a lot more oatmeal and cereal dinners than you would think. That’s why I was pretty excited to try a meal from Scratch DC, “fresh, locally sourced, organic ingredients that are chopped, measured, marinated and packed with an easy-to-follow recipe and delivered right to your door.”
My Scratch order arrived at the door promptly at my desired delivery time of 6 pm, handled by the owner himself, Ryan Hansan. Ryan, a resident of Columbia Heights, told me he makes between 20 and 25 deliveries like these everyday, but the process of getting the meal to the door starts much earlier. Ryan and a prep chef meet at a commercial kitchen at National Harbor each morning to prepare the ingredients for that day’s dish.
That night my “bundle” held eight scallops, sliced chorizo and snap peas, in addition to measured oil, butter, salt and pepper. It also had mashed avocado, chopped tomatoes and onions, and half a lemon, plus two balls of cookie dough.
Hansan’s inspiration for creating Scratch aligns with most busy urbanites that want to cook amazing meals, but don’t have time for the many steps.
“There’s research, a trip to the grocery store, you buy all this stuff, but then it goes bad. Like parsley [or] spices you only use once. There has to be a better way to do that,” he says.
The ingredients in each bundle are locally sourced and organic when possible.
“We tell you where the stuff comes from,” says Hansan. “We work with Lancaster Farm Cooperative, Tuscarora Grower’s Cooperative; if it’s not in season or locally viable, we get it from Albert’s Organics. Our meats come from Fell’s Point Meats in Maryland and our chicken comes from Murray’s Chicken.”
The instructions for the meal were incredibly simple and so I decided to time how long it took me to make the dinner. From out of the box, to on the plate — 14 minutes, and it was delicious.
“I was confident that the recipes would be good, but people have been really, really enjoying it. 80% of people who have ordered once are ordering again,” says Hansan.
For two hearty servings, the meals range from $21 to $26. Each week Hansan tries to offer a pasta bundle and a vegetarian bundle, and proteins on the other nights. The recipes are inspired by his mom’s cookbooks and have been tested to perfection. Although he isn’t regularly repeating recipes, he says he’s been asked to bring back the Chicken Tiki Masala.
I asked Hansan about his business philosophy and he said, “Treat the customer right, give them a good meal, save time for them and they’ll come back and want to do it again.”
Sign me up.