A head chef who lost his job when the country went into coronavirus lockdown is now delivering top restaurant-quality home-cooked meals from his North Staffordshire home.
Chris Gallagher had been about to take up a new position when Britons were advised to stay away from pubs and clubs due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
But rather then dwell on his misfortune, he decided to set up his own business with his wife Jekka who had also been eagerly looking forward to starting a new job in the hospitality industry.
Now the pair, from Cheddleton, have set up Gallagher’s Home Kitchen with food dropped off at the door.
They spent two days putting together their menu which is aimed at all ages from hotpot on a Thursday to spiced enchiladas on a Monday and, of course, a roast with all the trimmings on a Sunday.
Delivery is free within five miles of the couple’s home, then £1 per mile after that, between 5pm and 10pm Monday to Saturday and 2pm to 10pm on Sundays.
Chris has worked as a chef all over the world from the Lake District to Australia, London and the Cotswolds but has also had his own food van.
Prices are around £10 for adults and £15 for a full roast with ‘real’ gravy.
The business only launched on March 19, and is already delivering between 10 and 20 meals each weeknight and 20 to 30 meals at the weekend.
Jekka said: “Literally overnight we both lost our jobs. I was supposed to be starting managing a really cool lounge while Chris was going to be starting as a head chef.
“We put a few teasers out on Instagram to see if people would be interested in good quality home-cooked meals delivered to their homes.
“I knew that Chris obviously had the talent to make the food and I could do all the marketing and the deliveries.”
Chris, who is originally from Uttoxeter, has worked as a chef all over the world from the Lake District to Australia, London and the Cotswolds but has also had his own food van.
The couple had always had a dream that they would set up their own business but lockdown has meant that day has come sooner rather than later.
Jekka added: “We knew that this was a service people would want. At the moment we really are a two-man band, we are doing our own books and everything.”
Chris added: “This is food that I love to cook anyway so I just thought about what food would travel well, tweaked the recipes a bit and we were ready to go.
“The first weekend was absolute chaos trying to get food from suppliers but we managed and now we’ve got a system in place so that it is all delivered to us.”
Chris and Jekka are following all the Government’s guidelines over social distancing, with Jekka delivering the food wearing gloves, knocking on the door and ensuring she is two metres back so that no contact is made. All payment is done via bank transfer so no cash is handled either.
“We are just so busy, it is madness,” laughed Jekka. “But we’d go stir crazy if we were stuck inside.
“We’ve kept the price to £10 per adult and then £15 for the Sunday roast because we want it to be reasonably priced but it is restaurant quality.
“We also do a free meal for either an elderly couple or someone on their own on a Thursday and once a week we are donating a meal to a front line NHS worker, to give them a night off from cooking just as our way to say thank you.
“We’d always wanted our own business – it’s just it happened now,” said Jekka. “And when we get a second to look up, we will see if this can turn into something after all this is over. But for now we are really, really busy and loving it.”
Gallagher’s Home Kitchen are on Facebook and Instagram.