An Interview with Laura Bonicelli of Bonicelli Fresh Meal Delivery
This post is sponsored by Bonicelli Fresh Meal Delivery and was written by Sarah Fisher.
Even though we like good food, we don’t always have it. There is take-out with its Styrofoam clamshell containers, online services that bring you anything from dim sum to pepperoni pizza, drive-thrus, frozen meals that take 5 minutes in a microwave – we’ve all had to sacrifice quality for convenience at one time or another. Laura Bonicelli is on a mission to change that. For the past 5 years Bonicelli’s meal delivery service has been revolutionizing the way people eat by cooking, delivering, and catering food that is fresh, flavorful, and an experience unto itself.
With so many ways to feed ourselves, why choose meal delivery?
Everyone needs this type of thing at some point in their life: to have good food brought to them. Sometimes you can’t cook because life is crazy and you are just too busy. Maybe you are elderly and struggling in the kitchen. If you’ve just had a baby or been in the hospital – cooking is too difficult. Maybe you’re on a lark and just don’t want to cook for a while. Everybody needs it at one point or another.
What makes Bonicelli Fresh Meal Delivery different than other options?
People often find me because they are looking for a healthful option. By and large, food that is readily accessible and inexpensive isn’t good for you and it’s not something you look forward to. I source local ingredients as much as I can. I buy the best of everything. I cook with recipes that I’ve written and developed that have variety and flavor. I try to create an experience with my meals – really good food you look forward to. Oftentimes people compare my meals to a restaurant experience and I think that is largely because it’s a combination of colors, texture,s and variety. The whole thing is an experience – from opening the box to heating it up to plating it – which we pretty much insist that people do. It makes a difference!
Nutrition is a foundational piece to your cooking. How do your meals reflect this?
People often eat more protein than they actually need. Many people base their diet on carbohydrates and they don’t eat enough vegetables. We make sure there is enough protein in our menus then round it out with lots of vegetables. We do pasta, but not a lot. We include fish, seafood, and vegetarian options – I think people ignore alternative proteins and I like to include them especially because people who aren’t used to them wind up liking them! We are changing people’s relationship with food.
And what is it you see about people’s relationship with food that you would like to change?
There is a problem in this country with food. People don’t know how to eat. They don’t know how to shop. They are given so much misinformation and pushed to extreme diets, they don’t even understand the tradition of having a great meal, and anything I can do to encourage that I’m happy to do.
What is your definition of a great meal?
A great meal to me is one that takes me out of whatever I‘ve been doing before I sit down. I want something that transcends me. Something that makes me think about what I’m eating. Maybe that’s the key right there. How many times do you go home, eat something — and just eat it. I like a meal that makes me think. One of the reasons I cater is when we bring out the food, all conversations turn to food. People start talking about what they made, what they are eating at that time. That to me is success. You are in this moment. That to me is a great meal.
Are you a weight-loss service?
I have helped people lose weight but that isn’t the sole focus of what I do. I believe that if people eat the proper food in the right ratios, most weight problems will be taken care of over time. Eating too much food and eating highly processed food is why many people are overweight. And they are connected — the fats, high fructose corn syrup, wheat stabilizers, and other additives in processed foods are actually designed to make you crave more and eat more.
So what is your meal delivery based on, if not weight control?
It is healthful food that creates a great tradition. Like if your mom was a chef and cooked for you every day!
Do you accommodate cooking for people with food sensitivities?
There are a lot of real food issues out there: reactions to GMO wheat, celiac, dairy intolerances, and general dislikes such as the person who doesn’t eat tomatoes. Everyone’s needs are different and yet we want to provide everyone with a fabulous experience. People with food challenges are often used to not having satisfying food experiences and I don’t think that should be true. We are determined — and succeeding — at giving great food to everyone.
Who do you look up to in the food world?
Lidia Bastianich, Giuliano Bugialli, Marcella Hazan… they are all Italians, of course! And those in the food world who are spreading great messages and great recipes like Jamie Oliver, Michael Pollan, and locally Lucia Watson. They are all trying to spread information teaching people how to eat, how to shop, and why it is important to care about what to put in their body.
What excites you about food?
What excites me about food is that it’s endless! I wake up everyday and I have a new idea, something else I want to do. It’s inspired by the seasons and I’ve never been stuck. For me it’s the perfect form of art. I never run out of ideas and I’m never stuck. It’s always exciting!
More information about Bonicelli Fresh Meal Delivery can be found at bonicellicooks.com. To join Laura’s Kickstarter campaign to open a new restaurant and retail space, visit kickstarter.com/projects/1344611717/bonicellis-kitchen-and-table/