JOSEPHINE: Homemade Takeout Food

Traci, Josephine cook, prepares to roast brussel sprouts with preserved lemon.                                 Video: Rustic studio in L.A. /posted on Josephine site

A made-in-the-kitchen small business revolution is occurring in Capitol Hill and neighborhoods across Seattle. Josephine, an Oakland, CA-based startup which recently expanded to Seattle in 2016, believes in empowering home chefs to reach their local community, while supplying good meals to neighbors. This blog post happened because of a glowing comment from a current Josephine customer, Jordan L., in Capitol Hill. He enthusiastically recommended their service (see his referral below).

From customer Jordan L.

The two who started this business, Charley and Tal, named it after meeting initially at the warm, welcome home of a mutual friend’s mother Josephine, who invited them over regularly. This spawned discussions over meals about the value of home-cooking and whether we were losing that connection in our world.

 

A reoccurring comment about the Josephine service is that it connects neighbors to other neighbors; sometimes people you wouldn’t meet in your day-to-day, busy life. Customers come pick their food up in a chef’s warm, welcome (and safety-certified) kitchen, after signing up for free at the Josephine site.  After entering your zip code on the site, you will be able to see where chefs are located in your area. Once a week, members receive a newsletter showing the week’s food offerings from different kitchens, and how far they are away from your location.

Weekly Food Offerings near Capitol Hill (varies weekly). Photo: Josephine

This method requires meal planning on your part, since it’s not a delivery service, but many people say the homemade food quality is excellent. Chefs often have repeat customers. The choices are vast: ethnic dishes (that might not be available at restaurants in that neighborhood), vegan, gluten-free, baked goods and American comfort food, to name a few.

Community at cook Akiko’s home. Photo: Josephine / The Seattle Times

“We provide healthy food options, where the money stays in the community,” says Simone Stolzoff, Director of Communications, at Josephine. “You can buy food that reflects individual cooks’ culture; the most authentic representation of what they would feed to their own families.” Dishes are served a la carte, and cooks set their own prices, typically ranging between $8-12 per full meal, according to Stolzoff. In the Seattle area, including Capitol Hill, the local network extends as far north as Lynnwood and as far south as Tacoma.

Cook Shui Zhu’s creations. Photo: The Seattle Times / Josephine

Those approved to cook for Josephine decide what they want to cook and how often, and carry a WA food handlers licence as certification. They pass a safety inspection from Josephine, and two Masters of Public Health are on staff to check-in with new cooks before ever posting their offerings. Mark Bittman, of PBS and cookbook fame, also sits on Josephine’s board. Small business owners receive 90% of the revenue, while 10% goes to Josephine for maintaining the website, marketing home cooks’ meals, and creating a credit payment process for them.

It isn’t always smooth sailing. Although meeting standards for food safety, they have run into problems with government regulation, previously receiving “Cease-and-Desist” orders in California. But legislation continues to be developed and proposed.

A May 19th, 2016 NPR article mentions that Willard Middle School in Berkeley, Calif., has a student-run operation (with supervision) which has partnered with Josephine for the past 3 years. To date, it has brought in over $100,000 in revenue to the school, and is very popular with the locals.

Willard Middle School uses the produce from its school garden to create meals through Josephine.  Photo: Teresa Chin/Youth Radio on NPR.org

As Simone Stolzoff commented upon Josephine’s mission, “More than anything, it’s about connecting people and bringing them together.

 

Taste Seattle At Arcade Lights 2017!

Round up the crew and head down to the market on Friday, March 24th for a fantastic, fun event that brings together a diverse selection of over 70 local vendors to delight you with tastes of their delectable products. And their vendor list is still growing!

Arcade Lights is a wonderful opportunity to sample and savor delicious drinks, foods and sweet treats, from a wide array of local, small-batch, and artisan vendors. It’s always a fun and festive event, where you can enjoy something local and tasty, try something new and have a blast, under the Arcade Lights!

Each year, Arcade Lights brings together local favorites and new comers to pedal their wears and get you hooked on their goodness, and this year looks to be no exception. Where else will you find Theo Chocolates, DiLaurenti Food & Wine, Hot Lips Soda, Copperworks Distilling, Morning Glory Chai, Woodinville Ciderworks, Diamond Knot Brewing and many more local loves all at the same place? Only in Seattle, and only at Arcade Lights.  Be sure to check out a full list of vendors and brace yourself for taste bud paradise!    

This year’s event is sponsored by Seattle Met, DRY Sparkling and DEI Creative and, as always, proceeds go to benefit the Pike Place Market Foundation which helps to maintain our market and keep the community thriving.

Grab your tickets before they’re gone, and get ready for fun under the Arcade Lights!

Arcade Lights at Pike Place Market, 7:00 pm, Friday, March 24th Tickets-

General Admission – $60
Tickets include tastes of as many of the hand-crafted savory and sweet bites as your heart desires – while supplies last – and include five tokens for tastes of beer, cider, non-alcoholic drinks such as root beer and sodas and wine. Tasting glass included. Additional tokens will be available for purchase.

Early Entry – $80
Limited Early Entry into Arcade Lights 30-minutes before the General Admission crowd! Includes 5 drink tokens, unlimited food, plus early entry at 6:30 pm.

VIP with Early Entry – $150
VIP guests have exclusive access to the VIP Lounge, which includes seating, music, and exclusive food and beverage tastings from elite vendors. VIP Guests receive 10 drink tokens and UNLIMITED food, and can enter the VIP Lounge at 6:00 pm to begin celebrating before entering the Main Arcade at 6:30PM with Early Entry. VIP guests can use the VIP Lounge at their luxury anytime throughout the night.

Arcade Lights is a 21 and over only event, so please plan accordingly.

For more information, visit the Pike Place Market website.