Otago Real Life Food offers a refreshing alternative to your average supplement shake or energy bar to complement your busy and active lifestyle.
Because what sounds more appetizing: Rosemary roasted lamb or a protein shake?
“Otago is a way of getting nutritional value fast – real food, real quick,” says the company’s co-founder, Dan Wise.
Wise and Michelin-trained Chef Vaughan Chittock partnered to introduce the fitness food concept that aims to take meal delivery services to the next level.
Otago meals are delivered to local pick-up points across Montreal and will soon be available for home delivery. The entire menu, which currently includes two lines, is packaged using the sous-vide cooking method to preserve nutrients and fresh taste. There is an emphasis on local and organic ingredients, as the season permits.
The Otago Heat line features fresh, vacuum-sealed products that are to be kept refrigerated, never frozen. Your meal is ready to eat in less than seven minutes: All you need to do is heat it in boiling water.
“Every one of our items, whether it be salmon, veggies, chicken or lamb, can be heated in seven minutes or less,” says Wise. “In fact, it comes out perfectly – it’s made to come out the right texture and temperature, so the lamb for instance, in six minutes, will be medium-rare every time.”
The Heat line also includes side dishes such as sweet potato or cauliflower with Parmesan.
The second line, Otago Eat, revolves around the same concept but is made up of cold dishes such as raw vegetable salads. The food can be taken right out of the bag and eaten. No heating is necessary.
The cold vegetable omelet dish is packed with organic raw veggies and organic eggs and filled with all the good carbs and protein you need after a workout session. It contains shiitake mushroom, red pepper, sweet potato, green onion, eggplant, a little bit of olive oil, parsley, sea salt and voilà!
“It’s really important for you to know what you put into your body, most nutritional panels are very small and they kind of hide somewhere on a retail package, when available,” says Wise. “Ours are slapped right in the front of the package and are blown up as big as they can possibly be so that everyone can read what’s inside.”
“Transparency is one of the biggest pillars of our brand, there hasn’t been a tremendous amount of transparency when it comes to food – our transparency starts with the clear vacuum-sealed bag, you can actually see your food before you make a purchasing decision.”
The meal delivery service’s name is inspired by a far-away place; the New-Zealand province of Otago, where Chittock spent a lot of time.
“Otago happens to be a very pure, pristine place,” says Wise. Before the trend caught on here in North America, food in Otago has always been fresh and locally produced he explains. “It’s a place where they don’t use herbicides or pesticides so naturally, everything is organic – they just don’t market it as such.”
The Otago Real Life Food inventory currently holds 19 recipes and there are more coming soon. The company will also soon offer home and office delivery services and intends to expand its reach across North America, one city at a time.
“We want to take away all the reasons we’ve had not to eat right all the time – make it simple, make it delicious so we can become a modern day throw back to a time when eating was much less complicated and much healthier – without all that hunting, gathering and prep time!”