New Chef-prepared Heat & Eat meals hit White’s IGA fridges

THE HATTED CHEF- chef-prepared, heat & eat meals are now on sale at all White’s IGA stores, offering great time-saving delicious meals as well as creating local jobs, and feeding the homeless.

The idea for the new venture had been brewing in the kitchens at The Dock Mooloolaba since very early in the year when Chris Sell joined as executive chef, but it took on new importance during the COVID-19 shutdown.

“Even chefs want something delicious and nutritious when they come home at the end of a busy day, without having the hassle of preparation so it’s always something you think about.

“Then when the restaurant was closed for dining in because of COVID-19, we wanted to create options for our customers beyond just takeaway and also provide work for our staff,” Chris said.

Using the same ethos as at the restaurant, The Hatted Chef uses the highest quality ingredients, sourced locally wherever possible, with the meals lovingly prepared by chefs under the watchful eye of Chris, who was awarded a coveted Good Food Guide Chef Hat in 2016.

Everything is made fresh and the smoked meats are prepared with a signature rub and smoked over 12-14 hours. The heat and serve process is super simple, with all meals ready in 15 minutes.

“There is a lot to do to bring a new product to grocery stores, so we were very grateful to Roz White from White’s IGA who provided advice and support and agreed to stock all four of our launch range at each of her Sunshine Coast stores as part of their Locavore program,” Chris said.

Roz White said she was delighted to be able to support The Hatted Chef.

“It’s a great range that is of a very high-quality, it’s convenient and the servings are generous, with each pack serving two people, and its local which we love,” Roz said.

Chris Sell said though while the team were working on development, they were talking about all the things we wanted The Hatted Chef to be.

“We wanted to offer great food with the highest quality ingredients, sourced as locally as possible, but we also wanted to give back to the community beyond just creating jobs, and supporting producers – and that’s when we decided to use the products to support homelessness in our local area,” Chris said.

“That led us to the incredible work being done by Dr Nova Evans and nurse Sonia Goodwin at Sunny Street, which provides medical care and support for homeless people on the Sunshine Coast.

Chris said for every four packs sold, one meal or the equivalent value would be provided to Sunny Street, which is 20% of everything sold.

Sunny Street’s Dr Nova Evans said food was a really important part of their outreach work.

“Homeless people need a whole range of support, but they are also vulnerable so for us, food starts a conversation.

“With The Hatted Chef now providing food, it means we can do so much more.”

Chris said the team was excited to see how The Hatted Chef would be received.

“We had a celebration earlier this week and the feedback was brilliant so now we can’t wait to share this with the local community. We will be at White’s IGA at Bli Bli on Thursday from 3-6pm with Mix FM’s Todd and Sami and the crew and we will be doing in-store tastings for the next couple of weeks so watch our Facebook and Instagram pages for details.

“From here, we want to grow the business to employ more people, offering the meals in more places, and supporting homelessness in the local communities where our meals are sold,” Chris said.

The range includes four different dishes and each pack includes two generous serves:

  • Wild Mushroom Risotto (vegetarian) – RRP $12.99
  • Smoked Peppered Beef Brisket – RRP $19.99
  • Smoked Pulled Pork – RRP $19.99
  • Smoked Wagyu Beef Brisket – RRP $19.99

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