About Jess

I’ve always been a lover of food, cooking and eating in general! In 2011 I founded a children’s cookery business and spent eight years cooking all kinds of food with kids of all ages and abilities. This experience gave me a unique perspective on how to approach food with children, even the fussiest ones!

Becoming a working mum was tough, and like many parents I often find that life is so hectic I don’t always have time to create a healthy, homemade meal for the kids from scratch. Discovering some leftover bolognese in the freezer is always such a bonus! It got me thinking about why there seemed to be loads of great pre-made foods out there for babies and young children, but very few quick and easy meal options for older kids apart from frozen pizza and chicken nuggets. I wanted to create an alternative to the usual “go to” frozen options, that parents could trust to be as good as a homemade meal. And hence, Jess Cooks was born!   

Our sustainability ethos

“Ever since I had the idea for Jess Cooks, I knew one of the core values had to be operating in as environmentally sustainable way as possible.”

Our packaging

That’s why where possible we’ve chosen to use local ingredients to cut down on the food miles, but most importantly we wanted to use the most sustainable packaging we could find. We spent a year researching and testing different types of receptacle, from recyclable plastic pots to biodegradable trays made from sugarcane. But none of them ticked all of the boxes. 

Finally we came across Southern Cross Packaging, whose innovative new type of food trays are ovenproof, freezer safe and microwaveable. Most importantly they’re made from a plastic coated cardboard, which once rinsed can be recycled along with all your other cardboard and paper, just like a fruit juice carton. The cardboard sleeves are also 100% recyclable. The only thing we haven’t managed to crack yet is the plastic film, but believe me we’re working on it! 

Your delivery

Your Jess Cooks order will arrive wrapped in a cosy liner made of sheep’s wool, and kept chilly with lots of Sorbafreeze ice packs. As well as being an excellent insulator, wool is also biodegradable, so just pop it on your compost heap, use it as animal bedding or even in the garden as frost protection for your plants! The plastic liner can be recycled along with other carrier bags at most major supermarkets.

Sorbafreeze ice packs are filled with a dry powder, so are extremely light when they are shipped by the manufacturer and have a lower carbon footprint than gel packs. When they reach us, we hydrate them in water and the powder turns to a food safe gel. We then freeze them down before using them to keep your order nice and cool in transit.

You can then reuse them as ice packs, or simply dispose of them with your normal waste. The gel is created from a “FDA and EU food safe natural salt polymer which has no negative environmental issues”. Unfortunately at present Sorbafreeze ice packs are not recyclable, but we’re hoping that will change soon

Our ingredients

“A key value of Jess Cooks from the outset was to use the same standard of ingredients that I would use in the food I cook at home. When it comes to meat this means keeping it local, and as high welfare as I can afford.”

MEAT

All our beef, lamb and pork mince is sourced from the artisan butcher Palfrey and Hall. They have been running their butchery in Debenham, Suffolk for almost ten years and supply many shops and supermarkets across the region. All the meat supplied by Palfrey and Hall to Jess Cooks comes from the abattoir HG Blake, who only source their beef, pork and lamb from East Anglian farms. As part of their welfare protocol they subscribe to the “Five Freedoms” initiative, and are Red Tractor and RSPCA certified. 

CHICKEN

All of the chicken in Jess Cooks meals is sourced from the respected family firm Diaper Poultry in Stowmarket, Suffolk. As much as we wanted to use free-range chicken, unfortunately it was prohibitively expensive. Before agreeing to work with Diaper, we wanted to fully investigate their welfare standards, so we spent a morning up at their production facility. We also went up to the sheds to see how and where the birds are raised and meet the team, who are genuinely passionate about the welfare of their birds. We were really impressed with the high standards. The chickens have a lot of room to move about and access to plenty of natural light. And because they are reared only a few miles from the production facility, they only spend a very short amount of time in transit.

RAPESEED OIL

We chose to use rapeseed oil in our recipes because it has a much higher burn point than other oils, which makes it great for frying and roasting. Plus, unlike olive oil we knew we could source it locally, a major plus point. Hill Farm Oils have been pressing and bottling their delicious oils since 2004. The rape is all grown on their Suffolk farm, and pressed and bottled on site in their impressive, solar powered barns. It is also “100% natural, and has half the saturated fat of olive oil” (Source: Hill Farm Oils website).

Take a look at our range of delicious, nutritious meals for kids!