I discovered J. William Culinary about two weeks ago when the Chef, Jay, commented on my Facebook post abut Ovinte. I went online to check them out and discovered they make meals in perfect portion sizes and specialize in fresh ingredients. They also have gluten free, dairy free and vegan offerings. I was intrigued and reached out to Jay to see if I could try some of their meals and share with my gluten-free friends. I was pleasantly surprised when they called saying they would deliver 5 meals for me to try. My boyfriend helped out with the tasting, however, he is the easiest person to cook for. He likes EVERYTHING!
After learning about J. William Culinary I reviewed their website and Facebook page; I seem to be living in the dark ages. They have been around for months and this is the first I have heard of them. Here is what I know of them from their website and Facebook page:
What They Offer: Wraps, protein bars, and meals for lunch or dinner (chicken, beef, fish, meatballs).
Nutrition: The wraps and protein bar are 240 calories, the fish entrees 300, chicken entrees 440, beef entrees and turkey meatballs 500, and the pork entrees are 480. They only use lean meats and don’t use dairy, so everything is low fat. Everything is gluten-free except the beef meatballs and wraps. They use no refined sugars, only honey, on occasion. And, there is no salt added to the meals. Everything is between 35-45 grams of protein, 25-40 grams for carbs, low fat and dairy-free.
Price: Meals range from $4 (protein bars, snacks, wraps) to $10 (Mayport Shrimp). Most are $6.50. They have free delivery to all of Jacksonville within the Duval County Limits, Monday through Friday for orders of $100 or more. For orders of less than $100, there is a $5 delivery charge. The ingredients containing gluten (couscous, bread crumb, wraps) are stored separately from other materials.
Preparation: The meals are fully cooked and vacuum-sealed. They can be microwaved for 2 minutes or simmered in water for 10 minutes to reheat. The meals are typically delivered fresh (unfrozen), but because of the vacuum sealing, they freeze very well. They will remain good in your freezer for at least six months. J. William culinary can arrange for meals to be frozen and left in a cooler for you or they can deliver them to your work.
Menu: The menu changes weekly, typically on Friday. Here is a link to the most recent menu.
Location: If you want to pick up your meal at their store, the address is: 2103 San Marco Blvd., Jacksonville, Florida. Their phone number is (904) 899-2062.
In the news: http://www.news4jax.com/news/Gourtmet-meals-on-the-go/-/475880/18561440/-/h8hpjuz/-/index.html
The meals I tried included:
Roasted Turkey Breast with Spiced Butternut Squash and Corn Black Bean Salsa
This meal was amazing. I am a salt addict, but, I held off on adding more salt so I could enjoy the freshness of this dish. I love squash and it was sweet but not too sweet. It came with two generous slices of turkey. It was so tender I didn’t even need a knife. The salsa added a nice touch and there were green beans for some extra added veggies. I cooked this for 2 minutes in the microwave after making a small hole at the top. It came out piping hot. I couldn’t believe how much food fit into the plastic packet.
This is how it came out of the bag. Seriously. I did nothing to move the food around. I cut the top off and I just slid the food out and it looked this good! This paired nicely with a glass of Vinho Verde, my new favorite spring wine!
Seared Chicken Breast with Spiced Sweet Potatoes and Spinach Cashew Pesto
The cashew pesto really stole the show. Normally pesto has cheese in it, however, since his meals are dairy-free this is a vegan alternative to a cheese pesto. The chicken and sweet potato flavors all worked together so nicely. I took a nice bite of the chicken, sweet potato and some green beans and the flavors took my breath away. This was my favorite dish out of the five.
Braised Chicken Thighs with Red Potatoes with Lime Garlic Sauce:
I was in a hurry when I needed these. I had these stored in the freezer and didn’t feel comfortable putting it straight in the microwave so I stuck it in boiling water for about 15 minutes. It came out great. This was probably my second favorite. I loved the chicken. The flavors were fantastic, I really thought there was going to be a problem with no salt added. The chicken and potatoes went so well together.
Sorry, I didn’t get a picture of the prepared dish. But believe me it looked good!!!
Seared Chicken Breast, Spiced Black Beans with Charred Tomato Salsa.
This one I boiled in water too. Black beans and salsa is my favorite combo. I eat it A LOT! I liked the chicken thighs a bit better; I just really liked the tenderness of the chicken thighs. I also felt like this was something I could throw together at home. But it was good, satisfying and a huge portion. I can’t believe these are 500 calories!
Slow Cooked Beef with Grilled Vegetables and Smokey Barbecue Sauce.
This is a meat lover and/or paleo dream. There were no potatoes or starch ingredients. Along with the huge chunks of beef there were huge onions, peppers and zucchini. You definitely need a knife and some floss on hand. I kinda wish there were a few more vegetables because I felt that it was A LOT of protein. But it was a very lean cut of beef, I didn’t see one bit of fat. The flavors were delicious. In the future I may dress it up with some hot sauce.
This meal was enjoyed during my lunch hour so excuse the disposable plate :).
The thing I like best about these meals is they are easy, convenient and the type of meals I would spend an hour or so making at night. The packaging is not bulky and there is not a lot of waste after preparing these meals. They were super easy to heat up and you really can’t beat the price. The meals I tried, though not positive, should have fallen into the $6.50 range. For something that is made with fresh ingredients and healthy that is not bad at all.
The one major challenge with celiac disease and eating gluten-free is convenience. Chef Jay has made gluten-free/dairy-free food convenient. I especially like that the store is not too far from work so I can stop by for lunch or on the way home. I am really looking forward to some of their fish meals.
What do you think? Have you been here before? What is your favorite convenient gluten-free food?
*this post was written prior to J. William Culinary being a sponsor of our blog. The opinions expressed here are my own. This blog post was written in April 2013 and J. William Culinary became a sponsor November 2013.