Paul Ghiron, Founder of Top Chef Meals gives us some insight into his background, the beginnings of this highly successful business and how he and his team came to revolutionize the meal delivery industry altogether.
Paul came to the family corporate catering business already with an impressive background - from a degree in Engineering Operations, to 7 years in the US Air Force flying fighter airplanes, to two different Program Director roles for the military.
When Paul finally entered the family catering business, his results-driven attitude led to a massive growth in the company, and an upswing in the level and size of staff. At this point, the future Top Chef Meals founder knew what it took to offer the best catering service - from the menu options, to the expertise of the chefs he worked with.
But here’s where Top Chef really began: one day, his father called him to vent his frustrations over the lack of dinner options available, and asked if he wouldn't mind bringing over dinner that night. It was during this conversation that the concept of Top Chef Meals was conceived!
The premise was simple: Top Chef Meals would make customizable prepared, frozen meals for singles, couples and families that were too busy, unable or who simply didn't want to cook all the time.
Word spread quickly throughout the country about the quality, the taste and the choices on offer. With over eighty entrees and thousands of side dish combinations, Top Chef Meals continues to revolutionize the meal delivery industry while maintaining their core family values.
Customization - no other meal company offers customers the ability to pick the components of meals which they will actually love. Add more protein, request more sauce, change your veggie or starch sides. Your wish is our command.
We operate our own from-scratch facility - in other words, we cook our own meals from scratch. Not many brands in our category do that. In fact most outsource their kitchen, packing, customer service and delivery needs. We do all of this in house!
Our Chefs are some of the best in NYC. We handle our own customer service needs, and we plate and pack. For local customers in the tri-state area, we hand-deliver meals and use FedEx to deliver meals nationwide. This allows us to give our customers the luxury of choice, create new meals on a whim and to provide the best quality control over our meals and services.
No subscriptions or commitments - While the entire world seems to be luring people into subscriptions or services and reaping the benefits, we are all about freedom of choice. We never hold onto credit card information to try and charge you at a later date and customers are free to order from us on a once-off basis or more regularly.
Meal options and variety - We have over 80+ different meal entrees to choose from and with the added choice of side dishes, thousands of combinations are possible. We also serve hearty breakfasts, healthy and sinful dessert options as well as soups and even smoothies.
Our meals faithfully abide by the top trending healthy eating lifestyle options for those who like keto, paleo and low carb meals. With our keto meals, for example, you can choose your protein, side dish and sauce to create meals you know you’ll love, while still maintaining ketosis.
Rotating specials - We provide unique menu items under our specials menu to give our customers something new to try every two weeks. These delicious seasonal meals give our customers more options to enjoy authentic chef-prepared dishes that they would normally only find at a high end restaurant. For example our delicious Beef Wellington Special.
We source locally - We source our fresh ingredients locally in the US from trusted partners/farms in New York, New Jersey and the Tri-State Area.
We ship nationwide - the fact that we ship nationwide is a huge factor for our customers. We are located in New York, but due to our unique plating and packing system, we can ship to almost every state in the country.
Senior and Veteran discount - We respect and adore our seniors and Veterans throughout the country which is why we still offer them a discount. Even in difficult times we maintained the discount because we knew that without, many of our older customers would not be getting the nutrient dense meals they needed. For our Veterans on return from duty, our meals have helped them stay healthy and satisfied as they transition back into the arms of America.
Our meal trays are both microwave and oven safe - we provide optional heating instructions with all our meals to help our customers heat up their meals easily and efficiently. They are also BPA-free.
Everything is recyclable - Everything from the box, to the natural jute insulation, to the dry ice and meal trays can all be recycled.
The meals you offer have a family feel to them. Is this intentional?
Our service was initially conceived to feed an older population so we began by creating a menu of family favorite comfort meals that would appeal to an older audience. From there, we expanded the menu to include most typical meats, seafood, fowl, and vegetarian dishes that would have the broadest appeal to the widest range of popular familiarity.
Once our menu hit all these major “family favorites” we then began to expand the menu to include additional cultural variety as well as those dishes that can only be found in more upscale restaurants.
Our meals are extremely popular amongst our older adult customers because they have an opportunity to customize their dishes to include ingredients they enjoy most.
We also have live agents available to assist with ordering from our nine different ‘special’ menus (renal, low sodium, gluten free, diabetic, low carb, keto, paleo, low fat and dairy free). These menus are designed to help older adults meet their health and wellness needs.
Designed from the outset to meet the nutritional needs of adults, our meals include just the right amount of starch, vegetable and protein components the USDA recommends to maintain daily health. An added value is the fact that our meals tend to be on the lower sodium spectrum.
From the very beginning we were appalled by the proliferation of services that drive follow-on sales by tricking busy people into spending money they didn’t intend to. We wanted to make sure that people stay with us out of a desire to order rather than through tricks or difficult cancellation mechanisms.
We all have busy lives, and we pride ourselves in being a transparent business that offers a real value to peoples’ lives. That’s why we let customers actively place each of their orders themselves. Our customers choose us because they love our food, our customer service, our vast meal variety, and the flexibility to create meals they will truly love.
All of our ingredients are free of trans fats, preservatives, antibiotics, hormones, sulfates, nitrates, stabilizers, added sugars, etc... In other words, we only use the freshest and most wholesome ingredients.
We source from our trusted local farms and partners in New York, New Jersey and the Tri-State area. As an example, because of the health concerns related to most processed oils, we switched to only using 100% olive oil in all our cooking. Finally, we carefully inspect everything that comes into the facility to ensure the highest quality and freshness.
No, a customer can order even just one meal if they like. We recommend choosing more though, because it would reduce the per meal impact of shipping charges.
Even better, customers can get free shipping if they order the minimum quantity for their specific zip code. Besides, when they taste how fantastic our meals are, they won’t regret having another tasty meal in the fridge waiting for them.
We have some of the best Chefs in New York, a state filled with amazing talent from all over the world. We not only provide the traditional homestyle meals that people love, but we also create those decadent gourmet meals only found in top restaurants. We don’t see anyone else offering Filet Mignon or Beef Wellington made from scratch!
We have just about the best shipping packaging in the industry. Our packaging is designed using all recyclable materials with the exception of a single plastic bag. And that’s without skimping on the quality of the packaging - orders can be in transit for up to 5 days to get to certain locations, and those meals need to arrive completely frozen!
Our food trays are made of recycled PETE that itself can be further recycled. Without any styrofoams and a minimum of throw-away plastics, we have thus reduced our carbon footprint to the least possible and still maintain safety throughout the shipping process.
In addition, since every meal is carefully portioned for a set number of servings, we are greatly reducing the problem of food waste - allegedly the number one contributor to carbon emissions!
The majority of our clients are individual consumers who order for themselves or their loved ones. Due to overwhelming interest in the quality and approachability of our menu, numerous agencies have approached us to help meet their food service and supply needs.
We accommodate more than a dozen different such agencies but we insist that their clientele pick from our existing menu offerings. This is how we can stay true to our mission of seeking to create deeper connections with people by delivering delicious ready-to-eat meals that meet their lifestyle and wellness needs.
We don’t currently serve any old-age homes, hospitals, or retirement villages because their financial price point desire would require us to lower our standards. This is something we’re just not willing to do.
We feel that our business model is quite unique, and has allowed us to make decisions within a profitable framework to ensure our existence for many years to come.
We are very proud of the fact that each of the last 5 years has seen a growth of over 30% and even as much as 100% in a single year without any outside investment. Right now, we expect to be serving over 15,000 meals a week by the end of this year and expect at least 50% growth in the first six months of next year.