The article first appeared in Salty: The Island’s Food Digest on April 1st, 2017.
Meal delivery service expands to western PEI
A delicious, chef-prepared meal waiting on your front porch when you arrive home from a long work day sounds like a dream right? Well, dream no more because meal delivery services, once the exclusive domain of big city-dwellers working on the high street, are now accessible on Prince Edward Island. YouMeal, one such meal delivery service based out of New Glasgow and headed up by Chef Emily Wells, has recently expanded their deliveries to include several rural communities in western and central PEI.
“Pat’s Irving in Alberton and the O’Leary Guardian Drug have been kind enough to provide cooler space for our customers to pick up their meals, which is a tremendous help”, said Jake Wells, co-owner of YouMeal. “The response has been fantastic, and we’re currently on the lookout for pick up locations in Kensington and Summerside as well.”
Chef Emily grew up in Cascumpec, a small, north shore community in western PEI. Her connections with her hometown inspired her to expand to the area where many friends and family still reside, Wells said. The weekly meal delivery service has also expanded to serve residents of Gulf Shore, Winsloe, Central Queens, and New Haven.
YouMeal was originally created by Chef Emily, Scott Gallant, and Randy Campbell in 2015. After a brief hiatus it returned, with Wells and Wells at the helm (the duo are cousins). The company was formed out of a desire to provide delicious meals using fresh, local ingredients to Islanders wishing to take a night or two off from cooking. Both of the Wells have spent many years working in the foodservice industry. “Emily has been a chef for many years, [she was] one of the original graduating students at the Culinary Institute here on PEI.”
“We live in busy times, and it’s nice to have a delicious meal dropped off at the door without having to idle in the drive-through or navigate a hectic supermarket,” said Wells. “Emily is the owner and chef of The Mill in New Glasgow, and all the food preparation takes place there. It can be a bit of a challenge getting to and from sometimes in the winter, but well worth it.”
YouMeal’s Lasagna Bolognese is one of the most popular items on their menu, along with the Thai Green Curry Chicken with Basmati Rice and Chef Emily’s “crazy good meat pies”. They always have a wide selection of vegetarian and gluten/dairy free items available as well.
Meals are ordered online via the YouMeal website and can be delivered to the home, workplace, or picked up at a community location depending on where you live. Customers who won’t be home for delivery can leave a cooler outside for the meals. They arrive in portions for two, chilled and in oven-safe containers. Re-heating instructions are available online. Most meals are delivered Wednesday by Wells, who loads up his van and hits the road with GPS in hand. Western PEI orders are available for pick up on Thursdays.
So far the feedback has been phenomenal according to Wells. “We’re lucky to have such a thriving ‘foodie’ culture here on the Island, and our customers have been extremely supportive by spreading the word to their friends and neighbours. We’re very grateful for that.”
Fresh, local ingredients are central to the YouMeal experience. Though fresh produce can be challenging to source during certain seasons, Wells indicated that they are rarely left without quality options thanks to the great group of Island producers they work with. Among YouMeal’s local suppliers you may recognize some familiar names including: ADL Foods, Brookfield Gardens, Craig Potato, Breadworks, Harvest Wholesale, Island Taylored Meats, Jen & Derek’s Organic Farm, Just Plate It, Kay’s Wholesale, Larkin Bros. Naturally Farm Fresh Poultry, Soleil’s Farm, Purity Dairy, Seaspray Organics, Steerman’s Quality Meats, Glasgow Glen Farm, and Valley Mushrooms.
Moving forward, the company plans to continue developing their menu, cultivating relationships with local suppliers, and making YouMeal available to as many Islanders as possible.