Meet the Founders of Piccolo Plates, Bels and Els. They cook and deliver delicious, wholesome, healthy, homemade meals to families in London. We've been fortunate enough to try and test their services and have been thrilled with the outcome. We'll be writing up a full review soon but in the mean time, I just have to say their fish pie is to die for!!
1. What inspired you to start Piccolo Plates?
Bels: While I was studying for my post graduate degree in Nutritional therapy, I worked with lots of families and saw that tea time, often tiring, could also be a slightly stressful event. I wanted to help families, and Mummy's in particular, by creating tasty, wholesome and homemade dishes, often packed with hidden veg that parents knew their children would enjoy.
Els: I felt passionate that we could create children's dishes to rival what was currently available to parents; no added salt, no added sugar just healthy, home cooked food that is both natural, nutritious & freshly sourced.
2. How did you come up with the name?
Bels: We love alliteration!
Els: We wanted a name that reflected our little customers whilst being easy to remember. We brainstormed for days and bored all of our friends continuously pestering them for feedback on potential company names.
3. How do you juggle your work life and home life?
Bels: We don't! Piccolo Plates has completely taken over our lives!
Els: We try and get out of the kitchen when we can but Piccolo Plates is our new venture so we donâ€™t really mind.
4. Where does all your cooking take place?
Both: We cook everything from scratch in our West London kitchen.
5. What has been your favourite Piccolo Plate to date?
Els: For me it's definitely the fish pie; not only is it rich in omega 3 but I also love the fact that the mash has hidden celeriac and cauliflower as well as potato in it… no one ever guesses!
Bels: Probably the nuggets, they are bite sized but still packed with courgettes, (peeled in case we have any fussy feeders – more alliteration – who might pick out the green bits) carrots and yellow peppers but kids just see them as chicken nuggets!
6. What are your essential ingredients?
Bels: TONS OF FRESH VEG!
Els: Every cooking day we go through vast quantities of vegetables including carrots, courgettes and peas to name a few. We also spend quite a lot of time with salmon and white fish.
7. Who does all your recipe testing?
Bels: We create the dishes and tweak them numerous times before getting our three taster families in Hammersmith to sample them. Kids don't hold back which we love â€“ itâ€™s the best type of feedback !
8. Do you plan to expand your range of recipes in the future?
Els: Definitely, we have just put a new dish on the menu; a 7 veggie pasta bake. We are always on the look out for how we can put a healthy twist on known favourites while keeping them child friendly. We would also love to put some fruit based pudding dishes on the menu soon.
9. Where do you source your ingredients?
Bels: We wake up at the crack of dawn to cycle and pick up all of our ingredients fresh on the day of cooking. We have the most brilliant daily fruit and veg market nearby.
Els: We are also lucky to have a local butcher and fishmonger.
Tell us about a typical week at Piccolo Plates
Bels: Every week is different; but we always keeps Mondays and Wednesday as full cooking days. These are then followed by a day of door to door delivering which involves us driving and/or cycling all over London on Tuesdays and Thursdays, meeting the families that we are cooking for.
Els: The rest of the week is filled with building and updating our website, keeping our social media interesting and informative, being interviewed (!) and thinking of new ways of promoting Piccolo Plates products (more alliteration â€“ told you we loved it!) and spreading the word as far and wide across London as possible!