By Madeline McCarthy
“What are we having for dinner?” This daily asked question requires a different answer each time, but the response must always sound delicious, nutritious, and most of all, be easy to make.
These exact requirements crossed Mary Song’s mind before she started Healthy Gourmet Kitchen. Prior to opening her business, Song worked as a business analyst designing large scale computer applications. She helped improve life for people around the world, but she never met any of them. She was working long hours and found it challenging to cook healthy dinners. This inspired Song to create her business selling packaged seasoning blends, dips, soup mixes, and meal starters that can be made in a slow cooker, pressure cooker, or simmered in a saucepan for those who are too busy to spend much time cooking.
“I’ve loved to cook my entire life,” says Song, recalling how living in the Middle East and France influenced her cooking style. In the Middle East, she lived in an international expat community, where cooking was “like an art with a lot of heart.” While in France, she was taught traditional French cuisine and to use the freshest ingredients, stating that the process was “a bit fussy – but this was the 1980s after all!”
Song learned to combine the Middle Eastern and French food cultures and not to be afraid of spices, herbs, and flavor. She advises her customers to step outside their comfort zone when it comes to food, so rather than offering bland mixes, Healthy Gourmet Kitchen invites you to make flavorful and exciting dishes like a “Coconut Curry Chickpea Stew” or “Chicken Marengo”.
Everything is blended and mixed by hand and packed into clear packaging so customers are able to see the ingredients they are buying. Plus, there are no unnecessary added ingredients like you find in store-bought mixes. “When I first started Healthy Gourmet Kitchen there were few or no low sodium, low-fat options that also tasted great,” says Song, “I felt there was an opportunity to create healthy, delicious meal starters that didn’t rely on salt, sugar or chemicals for flavor.”
When she created her business, Song knew she wanted to participate in the Saratoga Farmers’ Market to finally be able to meet the people she helps. Healthy Gourmet Kitchen attends the market on Saturdays and will be back at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market on July 11!
This week’s recipe: Instant Pot Bolognese