(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — A local health food grocery store and a local chef have teamed up to offer ready-to-go meals.
Erie Food Co-op now has ready-to-go meals from local chef Lisa “Chef Lisa” Heidelberg.
The vegetarian, seafood, or protein (meat) meals are complete meals with entree and sides, and the meals are prepared and ready to be taken home and enjoyed.
Chef Lisa has been a professional chef in Erie for about 7 years. Her business, Dinner is Served, is located at 334 W. 8th St. in Erie. She had run a separate venture called Courthouse Cafe in the basement of the Erie County Courthouse since 2018 until early this year when her lease was canceled. Chef Lisa is the host of the “What’s Cooking” segment on JET 24.
Heidelberg is a single mother who had started cooking for her now-adult daughter.
“It has evolved from there,” she said. “I’m still kicking, even through a pandemic. With the beauty of adjusting and pivoting throughout the pandemic with the amazing support of the community.”
She’s fed people through her business, people at the courthouse, and she’s taught people to cook through JET 24 and online at www.YourErie.com. Now, she’s reaching people with meals sold at the Erie Food Co-op.
“I’m very excited about it. I think it’s a positive thing. Hopefully it’s a win-win for the Erie Food Co-op and for myself, but most importantly, I hope it’s a win for the Erie community,” Chef Lisa said.
Heidelberg said she’s already received positive feedback about the ready-to-go meals — from customers and from the employees at the Co-op. She even has a fan in Erie Food Co-op, CEO and general manager LeAnna Nieratko.
“Last week, she came in and brought some samples. We were all fighting over who got to eat them,” Nieratko said. “The chicken meal I got to eat, I had to shut my office door — it was like a spiritual experience.”
The meals will cost between $11 and $16, depending on the ingredients. Currently, the meals are scheduled to be delivered once per week, and both Heidelberg and Nieratko said the meals are in a pilot phase. Neither the chef nor the CEO were sure how available the meals would be throughout the week. Nieratko suggested that people call either of the Erie Food Co-op locations, or message the Erie Food Co-op through its Facebook page to check on availability. The meals will be available at both Erie Food Co-op locations.
“Lisa is just a brilliant local chef. The Co-op is all about local, it’s all about Erie, and it’s all about community, and so is Chef Lisa,” Nieratko said. “To me, it’s like a perfect fit.”
Heidelberg said she was excited, too. She suggested that people could visit her Facebook page or follow her on Instagram to know which meals would be available at the Co-op in the coming weeks.
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“I’m really honored and pumped that the Co-op saw it as a good fit for the clientele they have,” she said. “This is a new venture to me, coming out of my home base, to be able to provide the ready-to-go meals for people that can’t get (to Dinner is Served) during my normal hours.”