As a mother and a passionate foodie with a keen interest in health and nutrition, Alecia saw the need for nutritious and convenient take home meals for kids, and so Gourmet Juniors was born.
The perfect solution for a quick, yet nutritious and wholesome meal, Gourmet Juniors mini-meals are frozen fresh full of goodness for kids from 9 months old (right through to adults!)
The menu includes many traditional favourites as well as finger foods and meals designed to extend little one’s palettes and each dish is loaded with real vegetables and includes protein and carbohydrates to create a perfectly balanced (and convenient!) meal.
We had a chat with Alecia to find out more about Gourmet Juniors and learn how it all began. Thank you Alecia for taking the time to chat with us and share your story.
Who are the team behind Gourmet Juniors and why did you decide to launch frozen mini meals for kids?
Gourmet Juniors was born shortly after I returned to work in Marketing and Events after having our first daughter, Camilla (now 3). Life got pretty hectic quickly. I yearned for a locally made ready meal for kids that was readily available at our local grocer (Leaf!!), that was filled with nutritious goodness and that I was proud to feed my child (mum’s have enough guilt to bear!).
I have always been passionate about nutrition and have seen the benefits of eating a real food diet so I decided to leave my job to take the chance to explore my passion and launch myself into a new venture that has quickly become my new career.
18 months down the track we now have two fabulous chefs that help to bring our passion project to life preparing all of the meals in our commercial kitchen with extra love and care, along with our friendly delivery drivers who are as passionate as we are about making great nutrition for kids easy and convenient.
What sets Gourmet Juniors apart from other frozen meal options on the market?
We are jam packed with all of the good stuff! We only use the best ingredients that we can source and avoid using starchy white carbohydrates. We want to make every mouthful count and be as nutritious as possible.
All of our meals contain over 50% premium seasonal organic vegetables and we use Melbourne’s leading butcher’s hormone and chemical free, free-range meats. We use nutritious wholegrains, like quinoa and brown rice, which are packed with protein and fibre to nourish kids little minds and bodies and extend their palettes.
Our best-selling chicken nuggets are also filled with goodness including loads of calcium and are a great finger food option for the independent feeders!
However, we know that kids need to like the food they eat too so we make it irresistibly tasty too!
Can you tell us more about the nutritional benefits of Gourmet Juniors?
All essential food groups are covered in every one of our meals. Our meals are at least 50% seasonal organic vegetables and never have any added sugar or salt.
All of our meals contain free-range, hormone and chemical free meat, which is a valuable source of iron. A diet containing iron is so important in young children (especially from 6 months when iron stores drop remarkably).
We only use wholegrain carbohydrates and avoid starchy white carbohydrates which can play havoc with blood sugar level (not ideal before bedtime!)
In addition, our Slow Cooked Lamb Stew, Mild Coconut Chicken Curry, Bolognaise and Apricot Lamb Tagine are gluten free.
Our meals are all handmade with love and devised by a mum who honestly cares about your family’s health and strives to make life easier for you!
What are your kids favourite mini meals on the menu?
My girls are big fans of Gourmet Juniors and have it for dinner or lunch most days!
Evie (7 months who is milk protein and egg intolerant) loves the Apricot Lamb Tagine with quinoa as it’s a perfect texture for her developing palette. Camilla (3yo) never leaves a skerrick of the chicken curry behind.
The biggest kids of the house (my Husband Tim and I) love the Winter Beef Stew. I add a bit of red wine when heating and serve it with sweet potato, such an easy and comforting dinner especially as the nights become colder.
What does a day in the life of the Gourmet Juniors team look like?
We have a great morning ritual in our family- early morning walk (and scoot!) and coffee. We absolutely love starting the day in this way- so good for the body, mind and soul!
Camilla, our three year old attends kinder and daycare so after drop off it’s a race against the clock to get work done!
The demands of running a small business are far reaching, each day can involve sales, marketing and PR, web development and maintenance through to product innovation, logistics and of course cooking!
The day goes quickly with lots on our plate (pardon the pun!) and sooner than I know it pick up time has come around and it’s Gourmet Juniors for dinner (sometimes for the entire family!). I’m pretty excited to have our youngest daughter eating Gourmet Juniors as well (I just mash it for her). To see both of our girls enjoy and reap the benefits of our products is the ultimate satisfaction!
As a local bayside resident, when you’re not busy with Gourmet Juniors, what do you like to do in the bayside area?
I grew up in the Eastern suburbs and although I have lived Bayside since returning from London in 2008 I am yet to tire from walking along the beach. I love it, rain, hail or shine.
We love to visit the great coffee shops (Tom Wilson is our favourite!) in the area and walk/run/or scoot along the paths and stop off at the park on out way back home. Our pick at the moment is Hanby st, Brighton (close to Leaf Market!) as it has a great ‘race track’ for the scooters!
We also love our weekly ritual of swimming lessons at St Kilda Sea Baths followed by breakfast in St Kilda.
My husband Tim is an avid rider so we also enjoy family bike rides along the bike paths and through the canal in Elwood.
Every week we also love to visit all of our local shop owners and buy our food for the week. We’d probably save a lot of time buying on line but the kids and I love seeing all of the familiar faces and picking our produce at our locals (Leaf especially!). Our three year old is really developing an interest in the food she eats and has a newfound appreciation for choosing the fruit that she takes to kinder!
As a busy working mum, do you have any tips and advice for other mums trying to juggle kids and work?
The juggle is real! (I’m writing this with Evie on my lap as she is on a sleep strike!!).
In order to save time, I make a conscious effort not to ‘double handle’ anything – emails, washing, dishes etc!
My biggest piece of advice though, is to outsource where you can to give you time back in your day for things that are important to you. If you don’t like cleaning, hire a cleaner and if you don’t have time to cook, give Gourmet Juniors a try!