WECO Hospitality breaks the foodservice model and provides a balanced life for chefs – NBC Connecticut

There’s a brand new company in town and it’s reinventing food service. Since Tuesday, WECO Hospitality has been serving chef-prepared meals right to the doorsteps of families in Hartford, West Harford and surrounding towns.

Their business model goes further than that. In addition to breaking the traditional model in other ways, WECO helps chefs live a more balanced life.

Everyone would love to see a chef personally cook dinner in their own kitchen. Today, WECO Hospitality comes a little closer to this reality.

Chef Matt Kenah may not be physically present in your kitchen, but the fresh dishes he prepares during the day can be delivered right to your doorstep just in time for dinner.

For WECO’s culinary director, this is an opportunity to raise the temperature.

“There’s a ton of creative potential,” Kenah said. “Being able to cook with local ingredients all the time and being able to change the menu every day is amazing.”

It’s also without the drudgery that chefs working in traditional restaurant kitchens typically face.

“It’s very demanding to be a chef in a restaurant. I have been a cook for a long time. And the hours are crazy,” Kenah said. “Late nights. Six days a week. I haven’t been able to see my family as much as I would have liked.

It’s a difficult situation for a father of two young boys, and the pandemic has changed things. It was then that Kenah joined WECO Hospitality.

“There is another way,” he said. “Once the pandemic hit, the idea of ​​a chef was kind of recreated.”

The arrival of COVID-19 didn’t just mean rethinking restaurants. WECO Founder and CEO Jennifer Freemont-Smith said when her company first launched in the Boston area in March 2020, it aimed to help families stuck and facing other challenges posed by the pandemic.

“It was such a dark time, and so we started it to spread joy and light in our community,” Freemont-Smith said.

She says that since then demand has increased, including in Hartford.

“WECO is just a better way to dine at home,” Freemont-Smith said. “Every day, WECO chefs take the freshest, seasonal and local ingredients, and turn them into these incredible and delicious family-style meals. It tastes like a chef living with you and cooking all day for you.

On top of that, a crucial part of their business model is local sourcing.

“I love that they source from local suppliers. I love that they source sustainable and ethical food. I love knowing it’s fresh,” said Farmington customer Jeanne Barber.

Knowing that her children are getting this food despite her busy work schedule is a relief for the busy mother, and she is proud to buy from a woman-owned business, supporting causes she can support.

“It’s so cool to know that you’re investing your money in a company that treats its employees well. I know that doesn’t always happen in the food industry,” Barber said.

The new model simultaneously puts smiles on the faces of her children and Kenah’s two sons.

“It’s not late Saturday night, you’re just waiting for the bar crowd to empty out,” Kenah said. “It really gave me the opportunity to be in my life and my baby’s life, and to be in my eldest son’s life as well. My eldest son knew me when I was a chef when I worked crazy hours, and now it’s this new experience, and it kind of allows you to grow as a father.

WECO Hospitality is taking another big break from the traditional foodservice model by operating on a “pay what you want” model. They just charge customers for the ingredients and a small delivery fee, and then it’s up to the customers to decide how much the meal is worth.

The WECO Hospitality website will indicate which areas of Connecticut are eligible for delivery. If you want to try the service, they encourage you to email them. The company is adding more kitchens and expanding delivery to areas where demand is high.