Chef, wife and mother of three Yael Friedman worked long hours at some of Los Angeles’ top high-end restaurants including Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in Beverly Hills and Sang Yoon’s Asian fusion restaurant Lukshon in Culver City. But making meals at work and at home became a difficult juggling act for her and her husband, who also worked full time.
“I was trying to make dinner while my kids were home, and it was the worst timing,” Friedman, who lives in Carthay Circle, told the Journal. Everyone is tired, cranky and low on patience. You’re trying really hard to make dinner and your kids are trying really hard to distract you from it. And then you’re like, ‘Fine, we’ll just order pizza.’ ”
While Friedman wanted to make her three children, ages 6, 4 and 2, healthy dinners and spend quality time with them, she just couldn’t make it work. So she quit her restaurant job in 2017 and studied nutrition education, where she learned that the best way to teach preschool kids about nutrition and cooking healthfully is to give them hands-on experience and exposure. Not long after, she came up with the idea of creating a meal kit that would enable parents and young children to cook dinner together.
And so, Kitch’N Giggles was born. Friedman launched the vegetarian meal kit delivery service last month, and it is certified by Kosher LA. Each meal kit is designed to encourage kids ages 3-6 to get in the kitchen and help cook. They can follow along with their parents by looking at colorful illustrated recipes, and help create meals like spaghetti and meat-free meatballs; sliders made from black beans, lentils, eggs and quinoa with homemade French fries and ketchup, tofu tenders and grilled cheese sandwiches.
“Just getting children used to new foods through the meal kits is one of her goals.”
Each meal kit costs $34.99, feeds a family of four, and an additional portion can be added on for $5.99. Delivery is $8.50 or subscribers can pick up the meals in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood. Currently, delivery is available within a four-mile radius of Pico-Robertson. The kits are nutritionally balanced with proteins, carbs and fats, and the “meat” mixtures are made with all-natural ingredients like lentils and quinoa.
Even though the family is not vegetarian, Friedman said she decided to make the kits vegetarian because, “As a mom, having kids work with raw meat sounds really bad to me. For health reasons, it’s just better. There are health and environmental implications of eating too much red meat,” which is why all Kitch’N Giggles packaging is compostable.
Friedman currently has six subscribers since launching the company and she prepares all the meals herself at the recently koshered Fred’s Bakery on Robertson Boulevard. She also delivers all the meals herself.
With Kitch’N Giggles, Friedman hopes that parents will have less of a struggle getting their children to try new foods and the meals will encourage them to eat well. She said she comes across parents who say their kids want to eat only peanut butter or macaroni and cheese every day, and they don’t want to waste their time making meals their kids won’t touch. Just getting children used to new foods through the meal kits is one of her goals.
“That exposure is important,” she said, “so that kids say they are willing to try something new.”
Friedman also wants to help parents make meal prep a fun and productive process for them. “My real hope is that parents find dinnertime to be less stressful and they look forward to coming together,” she said. “Making a healthy meal does not have to be an excruciating process. Eating together is very valuable. It helps families grow and become stronger.”