The nourishing power of a home-cooked meal is something Mary Wise Hughes doesn’t take lightly. “I come from a family who loves preparing delicious food,” she says. “My mother was a good cook and both of my brothers really enjoy cooking, as does my son.” Cementing a career in food preparation with a Bachelor of Science degree in Foods and Nutrition from Hood College in Maryland and a dozen years as a public health nutritionist, Hughes took a leap and founded meal delivery service Savory Fare five years ago, operating out of Hope & Main in Warren.
Starting out as a personal chef service, Hughes saw a trend in her clientele’s needs. “We prepared meals for a number of older adults, one in particular whose doctor said that if she did not eat better, she would need to move into assisted living. So we began asking, ‘what are older adults looking for from a meal delivery service?’”
The first answer is easy – “we all want delicious, healthy food,” says Hughes, but also familiarity and variety. A handful of frozen staples never leave the menu, from pot pies and scratch-made mac and cheese to Tikka Masala Chicken and Shrimp Scorpio. Rotating fresh seasonal specials complement these tried-and-true offerings.
Hughes also wants to ensure Savory Fare is accessible, hearing from older clients that they would prefer ordering over the phone or via an easy-to-use website rather than an app, so paper menus are mailed to folks who don’t use the internet.
“Having a Savory Fare frozen entree in your freezer means you don’t have to worry about dinner on those unexpectedly busy days, or snowy days, or days when you just don’t feel like cooking,” says Hughes. While seniors have flocked to the service as a means of keeping their independence and living at home, Savory is for everyone – busy professionals, new parents, folks on the mend from an injury. Meals come fresh or frozen in single-serving portions that are easy to reheat.
Along with associate Rosa Munoz and a team of chefs, Hughes has been hard at work developing entrees for spring, from Salmon in Lemon-Tarragon Crème Fraîche to Ricotta and Egg Gnocchi with olives, capers, and tomato sauce. For Easter dinner, find Baked Ham with Raisin Sauce. A Passover menu includes Roasted Brisket with leeks, carrots, and garlic and a Chicken Soup with fluffy matzah balls.
For Hughes, Savory Fare is a win-win. She gets to do what she loves – cook for others – and clients can enjoy meal time without the stress. They recently expanded their community outreach, too. In February, they started offering meals at Newport senior center Edward King House, and at the beginning of the pandemic Savory Fare got involved with Hope & Main’s buy-one-give-one Nourish Our Neighbors initiative. “Our meals nourish hundreds of people each month through this program,” says Hughes. “We are looking forward to bringing our delicious food and responsive service to many more folks as we grow.”
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