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About Jess Cooks

Image of Jess Mackenzie, founder of Jess CooksI’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!   

What age are Jess Cooks meals suitable for? 

The original idea for Jess Cooks came from my frustration at the lack of premium quality, pre-made food available for children over the age of 4. The only options were toddler meals, which my kids were too old for, adult ready meals, which were too high in salt and fat, or the usual frozen junk. Having said that, Jess Cooks meals can be enjoyed by children (and adults!) of any age, since they are all low in salt and contain no added sugar.

Why are Jess Cooks meals frozen not fresh? 

Frozen food has had a bad rap in the past, but people are just starting to come around to the benefits. Jess Cooks meals are rapidly chilled and frozen immediately after cooking to preserve their nutritional content and quality without the need for artificial preservatives, chemical gasses or heat treatments. It also gives you the flexibility to stock up your freezer, and use them when they’re needed without worrying about a short use by date.

Why isn’t the rice or pasta included? 

Carbohydrates like pasta and rice reheat much more quickly than a meat-based sauce, so by the time you've fully reheated your meal, your side is either mushy or crunchy, yuk! Plus why would you want to pay over the odds for something that costs very little and tastes so much better cooked fresh? This way you get better value for money, and the flexibility to add whatever side your children prefer. 

Kids don’t like curry do they?

Some kids don't, that's true. But I learnt from many years working around children and food that they are much more adventurous than we give them credit for. Most children don't like chilli, but that doesn't mean they don't enjoy the delicious, rich flavours of a curry. None of the Jess Cooks curries contain any hot spices, so they are all super mild and super tasty! 

Why do Jess Cooks meals cost a bit more than some other children's meals? 

Actually, per portion Jess Cooks meals are the same price, and in some cases cheaper, than other widely available toddler meals. And consider the quality. Every Jess Cooks meal is made by hand, and contains only 100% traceable East Anglian meat and chicken. In addition, the packaging is almost 100% recyclable, which inevitably costs a little more than plastic. It's far cheaper than a meal out or a takeaway, and you still get the night off!