Readymade meals made locally with love
Kell Lowdon insists there is one ingredient she infuses into every homestyle premade meal she makes and that is “a whole lot of love”.
Surrounded by the expansive collection of cookbooks that are a feature of her Jan Juc home, the owner of My Beach Kitchen lights up as she talks about her passion for cooking and the human connections we make when sharing a meal.
The mum-of-three established her business two years ago and admits to being humbled and delighted by the positive response she has received from customers who cannot resist her delicious readymade dinner dishes.
Popular menu items from My Beach Kitchen include the best-selling lasagne (which comes in three sizes), as well as tasty pastas, curries, pies, soups, salads, desserts and more.
Kell doesn’t adhere to one particular diet or food philosophy, but always uses plenty of fresh vegetables, preferably organic, together with local and sustainably grown produce where possible.
Her first foray into business was making resin kitchenware following the arrival of her twin girls, Winter and Sahara who are now aged 8, but she found it difficult to compete with large, inexpensive homeware suppliers such as Kmart.
“It was a great learning curve but I always wanted to do something with food,” says Kell, who is also mum to 11-year-old son Maulie.
“My background is actually in science.
“I did a degree in applied science majoring in water science and fisheries management … and then I worked for a long time in tourism.
“But cooking has always been something I enjoyed and I was noticing that people were really struggling to put decent meals on the table.
“I had this idea to start a little company and produce meals and see how it went.
“I was very nervous, but it’s just grown organically and now it’s really, really busy which is nice.”
Unlike Marley Spoon or HelloFresh, My Beach Kitchen meals are made in Kell’s registered home kitchen before being packaged ready for the customer to reheat if needed and then simply serve in no time at all.
The meals are ordered online from the changing menu and pickups happen from Kell’s home on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“All the hard work is done. They are cooked and then chilled down and you just have to rewarm them,” she explains.
“Predominately I do dinner time meals because I find that’s where people are finding it hard to get a meal on the table, dinner time is a struggle.
“Some people don’t enjoy cooking – or don’t have the time – but they don’t want to feed their family take-outs so this provides an option for really well cooked, healthy meals you can sit down and enjoy together.
“You can order whatever you like – one soup or everything off the menu, it doesn’t matter how big or small your order is.
“But I do have a limit on how many meals I produce so once they sell-out that’s it for the week. Because it’s only me I have to cap it at some point.”
Kell says demand for the meals doubled during last year’s lockdowns.
“I got so busy and it’s grown organically since then as the word got spread and it’s just stayed that busy,” she says.
“My husband Carlo’s business was really badly affected by COVID and we needed to make money so I was really fortunate to be able to fall back on food as something I really enjoy and something I was able to do with the kids at home.”
Kell describes her fare as “affordable, wholesome, happy, well-made food” and glowing customer reviews attest to its taste and convenience.
“I’m really surprised by how impressed people are by the meals because I think sometimes you are your own worst critic and I’m like ‘oh, it’s just lasagne’ but people are really loving it,” she says, humbly.
“I often get messages saying ‘this is the best lasagne’.”
And she doesn’t mind at all if customers don’t let on the meals were made in someone else’s kitchen.
“A few of my customers have said ‘I took it out and put it in another dish’ and I’m like ‘you can totally fake it – take it and fake it and serve it up as your own,” she says, laughing.
“I feel like I am giving people this gift by saying ‘I can do that for you and you can enjoy the rewards by sitting with your family and really connecting’.
“For me that’s probably the reason I love doing this so much.”
Discover more and order online on the My Beach Kitchen website and follow @mybeachkitchen on Instagram.