Last fall, we launched a truly unique new line of meals: FreshDirect Frozen Entrées.
FreshDirect’s Chef Tina Bourbeau designed these meals using a variety of impressive ingredients (seriously: when’s the last time you saw chanterelle mushrooms, Romanesco cauliflower or crème fraîche in a frozen meal?), and they’ve been so popular, we had to launch five new Frozen Entrées this month.
I took a few minutes to quiz Chef Bourbeau about the Frozen Entrées and find out what’s so special about them.
Q: Clearly, what you’re cooking isn’t what people generally think of when they picture “frozen meals.” What do you do to make them taste so fresh?
Chef Bourbeau: It’s the choice of ingredients we use and the quality of those ingredients. Honestly, the stuff we use is more expensive than what other people are using in their frozen meals, and it’s just better. I mean, it’s not like we invented frozen food. We’re just making it better than everyone else.
Q: And they’ve been really popular! Is there anything you did differently to make the five new Frozen Entrées?
Chef Bourbeau: I think we made some great meals last time, but we’re really doing a good variety in the new bunch. Based on what people buy, we can see what they really relate to. This new set includes a chicken dish (Grilled Chicken & Goat Cheese Risotto), a fish dish (Salmon w/ Almond & Veggie Couscous) and three great pastas (‘Mac ‘n Cheese’ Ravioli, Seafood Scampi, and Porcini Mushroom Tortellini w/ Pancetta).
Q: Can you tell me a little something about each of the new entrées?
Chef Bourbeau: With the Mushroom Tortellini dish, I think it’s just so cool that we can put Italian chestnuts and pancetta and porcini into the freezer. It’s just good.
The Salmon Couscous is really rich and bold. There’s a lot of olive oil in that one. It’s just a very simple, very natural grouping of ingredients that we didn’t mess a lot with, and it turned out great.
With the Chicken Risotto, I love the pumpkin seeds and dried fruit. Those elements add really good texture.
The Mac n’ Cheese Ravioli has the kid-appeal. It’s comfort food… basically a broccoli, mac and cheese dish. You can’t go wrong with that.
And the everyone loves the Seafood Scampi. It has really broad appeal.
Q: Technically, these are frozen dinners, but they’re so much better than the TV dinners we grew up with. You could actually picture someone presenting these to guests, right?
Chef Bourbeau: Yeah, with regular frozen meal I wouldn’t even consider doing something like a pairing. Not even with a piece of bread. But the Seafood Scampi? You really should. The sauce is so good. It’s begging for you to dip a really great piece of bread in it.
Q: Yeah, you don’t usually think to break out a bottle of wine when you heat up a frozen meal, do you?
Chef Bourbeau: (Laughs.) No… but a standard frozen meal is just sustenance or convenience. Our Frozen Entrees are more than that. I would totally eat these on a proper plate — not from the plastic container. Then again, I prefer for all of my meals to be properly plated. I don’t sit down to eat much, so when I do, I want the experience to be the best possible.
Want to hear more from Chef Bourbeau? At the FreshDirect YouTube channel, you’ll find a quick (30 second) clip of Chef Tina Bourbeau chatting on the radio about the meals she designs for FreshDirect customers.