This Soup’s For You
New local vendor Nona Lim of Cook! created wholesome, delicious and gourmet vegan, gluten- and dairy-free soups now available at Sigona’s.
By Carmelo Sigona
We have a new product in the store this week: gluten-free, vegan and dairy-free soups made by local vendor Nona Lim, a former world-traveling business executive who founded Cook!, a business she started soon after her career took her to San Francisco. Cook! is a food delivery service for people who want to eat fresh & healthy meals, but find themselves too busy to do so. Cook! is dedicated to providing wholesome, delicious gourmet meal components using only from-scratch ingredients.
In addition to Nona’s delivery service, she operates a product line called Real, Simple, Delicious under which they make gluten-free, vegan and dairy-free soups for retail sales. To introduce you to the Cook! soups, we’re giving you a 12 oz. pouch of these fantastic soups — either Thai green curry or all-bean chili – on us. All you have to do is bring your coupon and when you spend $30 or more we’ll give it to you for free.
A Little Background
Cook! came to be shortly after Nona’s arrival in San Francisco where she noticed that the extremely easy access to fresh food was being overlooked by the busy movers and shakers who work long hours. She also noticed the lack of ready-to-eat good and gourmet options.
“I started Cook! to create gourmet, healthy meal kits providing from-scratch, ready-to-cook ingredients where everything is measured and prepared for cooking,” said Nona. “In the beginning I did everything; I developed the recipes, was the chef, delivery driver, chopper & dicer. I did it as a two-year experiment to see if it would work. Well, it did and now I have a chef and a kitchen crew, but I’m still involved in recipe development.
“I’m proud of the fact that we make everything from scratch – even the vegetable stock,” continued Nona. “We include organic ingredients when possible, but I believe it’s also important to know the source of clean, whole foods we work with, knowing their quality and that the growing process didn’t disrupt the ecosystem.”
This Soup’s For You
As for the line of Real, Simple, Delicious gluten-free, vegan and dairy-free soups, Nona did her research. She knew that it’s one thing to eat whole, fresh and organic foods, but if you have a gluten or other allergen sensitivity, like she does, then you may still have low energy, don’t feel well, have trouble losing weight or continue to suffer from a subtle or major reaction caused by the foods you eat.
Having learned about food sensitivities, Nona introduced a detox meal service to Cook! based on research and a book by Dr. Mark Hyman, one of the leading doctors in functional medicine. The detox program helped people with the transition from their normal meals to an allergen-free diet, whether they were curious about eating differently or if they were doing it for health reasons. Allergens can include anything from gluten or dairy to soy, corn, yeast, seafood and beyond.
“We introduced gluten-free, vegan and dairy-free soups to the post-detox delivery menu and they quickly became the most popular item,” said Nona. “I realized we had an opportunity with the soups because that is one meal ingredient item that comes completely prepared for you, so I decided about six months ago to see if they’d sell in retail locations, and so far they’re very successful.”
As you may know, I am gluten intolerant and am also sensitive to certain preservatives, so I’m loving these soups! For me, it’s comforting to know I can grab one of these soups from the shelf for lunch when I haven’t had time to bring my own. It’s hard for someone who suffers from various allergies to find something as simple as soup that is free of allergens, but everything in Nona’s soup is made from scratch in the Cook! kitchen in Oakland. They make their own stock and guarantee they are free of thickeners. The soups are naturally thick and rich because of the pureed vegetables, and some varieties use coconut or rice milk.
More Than a Soup Meal
My personal favorite is the Thai green curry, one of the two varieties we’re giving you for free this week (April 6-12, 2011). I’ve just made this, thinned it out a little, and put it over a brown Jasmine rice…delicious. All the soups can be used for more than just a soup meal. If you want to add a little more protein to the mix, Nona suggests sautéing a diced chicken breast and stirring it into the curry. That, with a side of rice, makes a complete dinner for two with just one pouch of soup.
We’re also offering you this week the all-bean chili. I’ve had this over a salad with a spicy salsa topping, and I’ve also had it with some chipped beef and a morphed chimmy churry sauce, minus the garlic. It’s also great as an appetizer paired with tortilla chips. Cheese lovers can sprinkle grated cheddar cheese on top of the soup, too. Nona also suggests using the chili to top a baked sweet potato or, if you’re in need of some serious comfort food, make yourself some chili cheese fries. The possibilities are endless.
In addition to the Thai green curry and the all-bean chili, we’re also carrying ginger carrot soup, which is a hit among kiddos. Look for them for sale in our store in the refrigerated section.
“These soups are made just as if you were making your own from scratch at home,” said Nona. “We call them Real, Simple, Delicious for a reason. ‘Real’ because they’re made with only real ingredients; ‘simple’ because you can pronounce every single ingredient and you just warm the soup and it’s ready to eat; ‘delicious’ because it is a healthy-for-you-soup that actually tastes good. They’re also low in sodium to give you the option of seasoning the soup to your liking if necessary.”
We know you’ll love these new soups – whether or not you have any food sensitivities. They’re simply delicious, wholesome soups you can feel good about eating and serving to your family. Plus, all you have to do is heat them up! Don’t forget to get your free pouch this week, April 6-12, 2011, with your coupon when you spend $30 or more.