The problem with the recent popularity of cooking reality TV is that a large percentage of the viewing population lives in “food deserts,” places where fine dining options are largely unavailable. Aspirational viewing is great, if its all you’ve got, but most would presumably like the opportunity to use their senses of taste and smell to experience these delicious meals.
A solution has arrived for fans of the popular FOX show “MasterChef”, regardless of where they live in the US. LA-based gourmet food delivery startup Pop-up Pantry has partnered with the TV show to bring the winning dishes right to viewers’ kitchens.
Beginning yesterday, viewers can pre-order meals for delivery on September 26th, 27th, or 28th, although they won’t know yet what they’re getting. The winning dishes will be chosen based on the participants of the September 10th season finale, and will consist of the most memorable dishes across their season.
As I described in a previous article, the best thing about Pop-up Pantry is that the dishes it delivers take almost zero preparation, often as little as boiling water. The food is delivered blast-chilled to -40 degrees Celsius, eliminating pathogens and preserving freshness and flavor. All of its meals are designed to be prepared in under 30 minutes.
For $80 (including tax and shipping), viewers will receive “two different dinners comprised of dishes that wowed the judges, winning this season’s MasterChef challenges.” Each dinner will include an appetizer, entrée with sides, and dessert, and serve two people. Given the quality and convenience, this really is a keep-you-coming-back-for-more good price.
Pop-up Pantry makes sense both for those in small towns in flyover states and for those in big cities. For people stranded in food deserts, Pop-up is a much needed alternative to fast food “restaurants,” grocery store frozen meals, and the limited repertoire of home-cooked meals. For those who with access to dining options but who are just overworked or prefer to eat in than go out, the service is a quick and enjoyable alternative.
The traditional Pop-up Pantry service is based around subscriptions, with meals designed by the company’s executive and guest chefs, which are delivered regularly to the homes of members. The MasterChef package eliminates the need for contracts and potentially opens up the service to an entirely new demographic.
The partnership is a big win for both Pop-up Pantry and MasterChef, each of which are looking for ways to build their brand and establish deeper relationships with fans.
While other startups have been trying to tackle the food market, none that I’m aware of have addressed the need for fine dining in off the map locations. Rather, most have focused on getting groups of new people together for a night of bread breaking, mostly in major cities: YC alumni GrubWithUs and newly launched Feastly fall into this mold. For Pop-up pantry, this is a largely untapped market.
Pop-up Pantry is a recent graduate of the LaunchpadLA accelerator and is now based in West Hollywood. Since launching into public beta earlier this summer, the delivery food startup has been getting rave reviews. And why shouldn’t it? I’ve tasted the food and will certainly be a return customer.
There’s no reason why those of us who wish to dine well shouldn’t be able to do so conveniently and affordably. With this latest partnership, Pop-up Pantry is knocking down one more barrier to doing so. Bon appétit!