Tim Wilson and his partner Alison have been around the Canberra region. Originally living in Jindabyne after many years in Sydney, they’re currently in Murrumbateman with a planned move to Bungendore in the near future. They’re therefore uniquely placed to understand the eating habits of Canberrans. Hopefully the regional location has slowed down their frantic pace of life, the inspiration for their business, Dinner’s Ready. “We started Dinner’s Ready because we love food, but we had ridiculously busy lives. We were travelling a lot and often getting back home at 8 or 9 at night. And who wants to start cooking then!”
A GAP IN THE MARKET
With a limited range of store bought ready meals available, they started to see the gap in the market for home cooked, nutritious, tasty and quick meals. “We thought we couldn’t be the only people who want to eat really good tasty food. Meals that are also healthy and yet quick and easy. And so here we are. Our meals are ideal for people who enjoy their food, who love flavour and who appreciate quality. People who either don’t want to, or don’t have time to cook, but still want to eat well.”
Their move from Jindabyne was prompted by Canberrans. Visitors were buying food while at the snow and asked for Canberra availability. Now they’re here, they stock in outlets around the area (including the mountains) and have started up a delivery service for those who are particularly time-poor.
HOME COOKED, SNAP FROZEN
Dinner’s Ready meals are frozen. But don’t think they’re like most of the frozen meals you’d buy from a supermarket. While so many of those are prepared in factories, all Dinner’s Ready meals are made in small batches in specialist kitchens by passionate chefs. They have employed chefs who understand the cuisines. One focuses on family recipes for the Italian range, another has expertise in Asian food and another still looks after the Australian dishes. While many frozen meals suffer from loss of flavour, Tim and Alison have made sure that their meals are so flavour packed, that you won’t know the difference. And, says Alison, the meals are snap frozen as soon as they’re cooked. This means the flavour and nutrition are sealed in, meaning there’s no need for any added preservatives or chemicals as “freezing is nature’s preservative.”
There’s a wide range of dishes to choose from. All of them use natural ingredients, deliberately mimicking the methods you’d use at home. The meat is all Australian, the chicken is all free range and there are plenty of vegan and gluten free recipes in the collection. And the range is growing all the time. At the moment, the pair say their Italian dishes are very popular. Their tortellini with lamb ragu (simmered for hours so it falls apart) is a Winter favourite, along with the good old Aussie cottage pie. Tim and Alison love Winters in the region as they are a chance to rug up and hibernate, feasting on rich food. After 30 years in Sydney, they also love Canberra for its people. “It’s a very conscious place,” says Alison. “People are thoughtful and not afraid to look you in the eye. And they’re a lot less stressed!”
THE HANDMADE EXPERIENCE
Coming to Handmade for the first time on 29 & 30 June seems to be a logical step for Dinner’s Ready. “We’re keen to get the message through that we’re here and offering a delivery service,” says Tim. “We believe our profile fits as we take an enormous amount of care in what we make, just like the other producers at the market.” They’ll be bringing samples of all their dishes so you can taste for yourself. And these dinners solve so many mealtime problems. Time poor Canberrans can enjoy the luxury of home cooked meals that are delicious, nutritious, very quick to prepare and cost effective. And if you really want a good deal, head to the market next weekend, where they’re giving away a $100 voucher each day towards delivered meals. Sign up at their stall in the Coorong Pavilion to be in with a chance to win.