Honest Plate Brings Healthy Food Home

Chef Jon Albrecht and Chef Nick Reisini of Honest Plate working in the kitchen. RAE Photography.

Back in January 2020, chefs Jon Albrecht of Hampton Bays and Nick Reisini of Sag Harbor teamed up with Ashley Heather, founder of The Spur co-working space in Water Mill, to launch Honest Plate, a new food delivery service on the East End. But Albrecht and Reisini could never have imagined just how ideally suited their new business venture would be for the times.

By March of last year, when COVID-19 struck and restaurants closed their doors as people began hiding out in their homes, Honest Plate, a service that allows clients to pick up their dinners from a pre-determined location or have them delivered directly to their doorsteps, was suddenly very much in vogue.

The idea was a logical outgrowth of Heather’s own personal experience on the Whole 30 program, which focuses on eating whole foods and eliminating grains, sugars, dairy and legumes from the diet. While it is a healthy way to eat, it can be a challenging and daunting way to cook, requiring a lot of forethought and prep work.

That’s where Honest Plate comes in.

Each week, Albrecht and Reisini get cooking and create menus that stick to the plan, alleviating the guesswork and stress for their subscribers.

Honest Plate vegetable kabobs. RAE Photography.

“We try to take the hardship out of it for you,” Albrecht said. “You just heat and eat. All the worry of trying to figure out a meal is gone and the question of ‘How are we going to make something without meat?’”

Now, a year later, Honest Plate isn’t just for Whole 30 devotees, but also offers menus that cater to those on Keto diets, pescatarians, meat-lovers and everyone in-between.

“We thought, let’s try to do some more. Now we want to include vegetarians and vegans,” said Albrecht. “I have a decade-long background cooking it, and I thought, ‘How can we please more people?’ and it grew from there to a 22-item menu.”

Albrecht and Reisini realized that because different people in the same household can have very different tastes, they needed to devise a way to allow menus that could be built upon to please those various palates. The concept centers around the idea of weekly plant-based menus that can be customized with add-on meat and fish proteins. They also offer family meals when everyone is on the same page and are now partnering with chef David Burke who offers his own similar, but somewhat hardier fare, and kids menus with options like cauliflower tots, gluten-free chicken nuggets and butternut squash mac and cheese.

“There’s a core menu that switches every day,” explained Reisini. “There are eight dishes, each one broken into an appetizer and main, then our favorites that change monthly. We’re also doing well with kids’ stuff and ways to get kids to eat healthy — we also have some smoothies as well sauces, stocks and vinegars and stuff like that.”

With calorie, protein and carb information listed alongside each menu item, clients can customize their menus by selecting which meals they’d like to purchase for the week and add on a protein if they choose.

Honest Plate’s grilled salmon with blistered tomatoes. RAE Photography.

You could say that Honest Plate is not unlike the big national meal delivery services like Purple Carrot or Blue Apron, but instead of having to actually chop, assemble and cook the meal yourself, Honest Plate meals are not only sourced and prepared locally, they are delivered to clients ready to heat and eat.

“It’s just easy, healthy food for people who don’t have time to prepare it right,” explained Reisini.

For Albrecht and Reisini, one of the key decisions informing their business model was the idea of sustainability and that’s where they truly part ways with their competition.

“When I tried Purple Carrot and Blue Apron, I saw that it’s really well done, the recipes are great and it’s user friendly, but everything is in its own plastic container,” said Reisini. “There are ways you can repurpose the containers, but you can never repurpose them all. I tried some of the other companies, too, their meals would come frozen or freeze-dried and vacuum sealed.”

“We’re a zero-waste company,” added Albrecht. “Everything comes in glass containers that are returned, cleaned and sanitized before being used again. We also use biodegradable, sugarcane containers.”

Honest Plate’s flank steak with red onion jam. RAE Photography.

While Reisini notes that in the beginning of the pandemic, there was a level of concern in that the supply chain had broken down and many items were hard to get, it turns out that it was an ideal time to get into the food delivery business.

“We were worried, but it was a blessing in disguise,” said Reisini. “Jon and I have to tried to help people along the way, too. It was a good way to streamline our model and we had to learn to work quickly under pressure.”

“It’s still stressful in other ways. But it’s our baby, so we really care.”

Now, Albrecht and Reisini feel they’re hitting their stride and are eagerly looking to grow their client base by adding more families to their Honest Plate roster.

“We’re having fun. It’s exciting and there are new things to create,” said Reisini.

To learn more about Honest Plate and check out the menu offerings, visit Honestplate.com. On the East End, meals can be picked up at The Spur in Water Mill, Long Island Sports Park in Calverton or Allegiance Personal Training in Springs. The service is also available in Connecticut, and will be expanding to New York City this spring. Home delivery is free for orders over $200, and $10 for all other orders.