A former personal chef, Jennifer Harris is bringing her personal cuisine touch to doorsteps across the Olympic Peninsula.
On Jan. 1, Harris starts taking orders for her meal delivery service, Home Plates, which offers packaged, single-serving meals from an online menu and delivered to clients across Sequim and Port Angeles.
”It’s one of those (services that) makes people’s lives easier,” Harris said last week.
“I like that, and I like feeding people.”
The weekly rotating menu include home-style favorites, family friendly meals and a variety of global cuisine, with many gluten-free, dairy-free and/or vegetarian options as well.
Orders do not require a subscription; instead, customers order as many entrees and sides as they’d like for the week (with a minimum order of $50 minimum for orders, and a $10 delivery fee.)
New menus are posted each Monday for delivery the following Monday. The meals, prepared in a commercial kitchen, are fresh and ready to eat or need a couple of minutes to heat.
Delivering the details
To order, select entrees and sides (as a single serving) at Homeplateschef.com prior to 11:59 p.m. on Fridays for delivery the following Monday, between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Clients receive a text message when their ordered is dropped off. All meals are delivered in insulated bags with reusable ice packs.
Entrees and sides are ordered as a single serving.
New menus post each week by Tuesday for delivery the following Monday. The menu will repeat every four months or so, and there will also be unique menus for special events and holidays.
Because meals are cooked in bulk each week, Home Plates’ meals cannot be substitutes or have ingredients removed from individual servings.
At least one vegetarian option will be available per week, according to the website.
There is a $50 minimum for orders. Delivery to Sequim or Port Angeles is $10 with free delivery for orders over $150.
Harris said she’ll start taking orders on Jan. 1 for her first delivery date (Jan. 8), though she said she’ll likely limit the number of items as the business gets going.
She said her “test” clients have enjoyed the food and convenience.
“Both my husband and I work full time and have three young children with busy schedules, so to know that we have a healthy meal ready and waiting for us when we get home has been priceless,” Port Angeles resident Erika Ralston Word said of Home Plates’ service.
“It allows us more quality family time; we have the knowledge that our kids are eating healthy meals, and we’ve noticed that we have less waste as well from over-shopping at the grocery store based on what we think we might make or need.”
Harris said Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Northwest seasonal cooking are among her favorites to both prepare and eat — which will inform the menu featured at Home Plates.
“I like a lot of different global cuisines,” she said. “People will see a lot of Indian and Korean inspired food, and some classics like meatloaf and mashed potatoes.”
Meals that do not include any delicate items such as lettuce or fresh herbs can most likely be frozen, she said.
Prep and serve
Harris grew up in Boise, Idaho, and moved to Arizona after high school graduation, earning a degree in graphic design. Not fans of the Southwest heat, she and Ted considered a move to San Francisco, Calif., and Portland, Ore., before settling on the Seattle area.
“We were like, ‘Where can I get a job?’” she said.
Harris worked in graphic design for about eight years before a car accident caused damage to her wrist, making it difficult to continue in the graphic arts field.
Harris switched gears to start Home Plates, an in-home personal chef servicing the greater Seattle area in 2002, which saw her go to clients’ homes and cook for them.
“I always loved cooking and personal chef-ing,” Harris said. “It was fairly new at the time. I didn’t need a kitchen; I just needed clients and their kitchens.”
No stranger to the culinary arts, she attended classes at several sites around Puget Sound and Eastern Washington, is a past president and treasurer of the Puget Sound Personal Chef Association and is a graduate of the Culinary Business Academy in Phoenix.
She and her husband Ted found that, like many others during the Covid-19 pandemic, they were ready to change gears and get out of the I-5 corridor. As Ted was winding up his 25th career with Costco, the Harrises decided to move west to the Olympic Peninsula.
“Our lives didn’t change that much during the pandemic; we didn’t miss going out,” Harris said. “We thought, ‘Why spend so much money to live in Bellevue if we don’t need to?’ (But) we wanted to stay in Washington for sure.”
The couple moved to Sequim in late 2021.
“We both loved the water and we had been to Sequim a few times and loved it here,” Harris said.
It took a couple of years to get her proverbial ducks in a row, Harris said, before she decided to restart Home Plates with the meal delivery service model.
“I looked around; there’s just nobody doing this type of thing here, and I knew there was a demand,” she said.
Harris works about 16 hours a week at Port Angeles’ Boys & Girls Club unit, which she said is allowing her use of their commercial kitchen to get Home Plates meals onto local tabletops. She said she’ll continue to work at the club and do Home Plates delivery “at least for a while.”
Ted, now semi-retired, is helping out with information technology issues, packaging and delivery.
“He doesn’t want to get a permanent job,” Harris joked. “Even though I was a personal chef, he was the bread winner. Now it’s my turn.”
The pair live in Sequim with their dog Louie.
For more about Home Plates, visit Homeplateschef.com.
‘Make dinner the easiest part of your day’
Owner/chef: Jennifer Harris