GETTING a nutritious meal on the table each evening isn’t always as easy task.
Mother-of-two Tory Peters can relate.
Peters was working as a chef at The Lucky when she noticed that staff who worked at the hotel while juggling full-time study would turn up with a frozen meal to eat during their break.
“All of the students were bringing in these awful freezer meals, but they were so busy running from uni to work that they didn’t have time to cook,” Peters says.
“I thought ‘Nobody has time these days’, so that’s when I started thinking about the idea for Ready Spaghetti.”
Ready Spaghetti is the home delivered meal service that Peters launched last year. Unlike Hello Fresh and Marley Spoon, which send ingredients and recipes to prepare yourself, Peters delivers fully-cooked meals.
Order a meal online the day before prior to 10am and it will be delivered the next day and left at the door in a reusable cooler bag, making it just a matter of reheating and serving.
Peters, who operates out of a commercial kitchen in Hamilton, places a strong emphasis on wholesome meals using quality ingredients which are locally sourced as much as possible.
“There’s more and more home delivery services and ready-made meals around, but there’s nothing quite like this - that I've seen anyway - that is all free-range and the best quality that I can get,” Peters says.
“It’s all as local as possible, so I think that’s the difference. It’s what I make for my family . . . I make real food with great ingredients. That’s my main focus.”
Ready Spaghetti’s menu changes every few months. Set meals are on offer each week, but Peters ensures she adds a new special weekly to provide variety for those that use the service regularly.
There are three different meal options each night from Monday to Friday (including vegan and vegetarian), as well as half-size kid-friendly versions.
Gluten-free is available too.
Meals range from family classics such as cottage pie to Asian-inspired grass-fed beef, coriander and leek wonton soup, or hearty Italian such as minestrone soup with a side of garlic and parmesan rye sourdough. Salads are about $6, mains up to $20.
Peters is something of a superwoman when it comes to Ready Spaghetti. She not only does all of the cooking herself, getting into the kitchen early to prepare the meals for each day before her one-year-old and three-year-old are awake, but she also delivers the meals.
“I work in a commercial kitchen on the off hours when they don't need it. I go there super early and I’m finished cooking by seven o’clock in the morning - it’s crazy,” Peters says with a laugh.
“It means that I don’t have to compromise any time with my kids though, so it’s good.”
It’s what I make for my family . . . I make real food with great ingredients. That’s my main focus.Ready Spaghetti owner and chef Tory Peters
Delivery is included in the cost of the meals and she services inner-city Newcastle, going out as far as Mayfield and Merewether, although she is happy to organise deliveries further out upon request where possible (a list of suburbs she delivers to is available on the website).
Peters’ journey with food began as a kid growing up in Coonamble in country NSW.
Her mother worked as a home economics teacher and her father was a cattle farmer, so she learned about the importance of good quality produce early on.
“My dad used to butcher the lambs and cattle, so I grew watching that and it was just normal, which I think is actually a really healthy way to be because then you know where your food comes and you understand it.”
She headed to Europe as a backpacker in her 20s and landed work aboard a sail boat in the Mediterranean where her passion for cooking was ignited.
During a year-long stint in the kitchen on a 65-metre “super yacht”, Peters met her food mentor Tiziano, a chef from Napoli, who taught her the ins and outs of Italian cookery.
“I started cooking without even knowing how to cook and ended up working for a charter company, so there were always guests coming on board and I’d have to come up with all these different menus,” she says. “I use those recipes now. I have a little book full of notes from cooking there.”
She returned to Australia to get her training before heading back to Europe as a qualified chef for another stint on the boats before coming home to start a family and settle in Newcastle.
“I’d been wanting to come back for so long. It’s just such a great place. It has grown in such a good way,” Peters says.