Sprig Taps Celebrity Chefs For Its On-Demand Dinner Service

The food-delivery startup will spice up its menu with the recipes of established chefs in the Bay Area, starting with Stuart Brioza of State Bird Provisions—arguably the hottest restaurant in San Francisco at the moment.

Still can't get into State Bird Provisions? Snagging a reservation at the James Beard Award-winning restaurant in San Francisco has been short of impossible. It doen't help that techies are building bots to book spots at State Bird as soon as they open up.

The next best thing? Enjoying State Bird chef Stuart Brioza's menu from the comfort of your home—no lines or bribes necessary. Food delivery startup Sprig announced Tuesday it will debut a guest chef menu this week that customers can order on-demand from its app for $10, plus a $2 delivery charge. Brioza's recipes will make up Sprig's first celebrity chef menu, which San Francisco Bay Area residents can order Thursday. The food-delivery startup also has on board Cortney Burns of Bar Tartine fame, as well as Kyle Connaughton, the former head of the three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck in the U.K. and current Sprig culinary advisor.

Even before Sprig launched in December, its executive chef, Nate Keller, said many people in the culinary community were intrigued by its concept. Borrowing from Uber's on-demand model, the company delivers lunch and dinner—healthy meals prepared with local, sustainable, and organic ingredients—to customers' doors within 15 minutes of ordering via Sprig's app. "We had this huge response from some of the best chefs in the city," he told Fast Company. "We thought, 'Wouldn't it be cool to involve them?'"

From Stuart Brioza's recipe box: Petaluma Farms chicken seasoned with crushed fennel, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and black pepper roasted on a bed of caramelized onions, kale, and chickpeas with preserved lemon.Image: Sprig

However, Sprig's celebrity chef menus will be different from what is typically found at State Bird or Bar Tartine. "They're recipes they shared with us—meals they like to cook on their day off, meals they enjoy," said Sprig's Jessica Entzel, former pastry chef at Morimoto Napa, Jeans Georges, Wolfgang Puck, and Gordon Ramsay. "[The chefs] have approved the recipes and done a tasting, and we worked on the recipes together to meet specifications."

To scale these home-cooked meals, they took a different approach to preparation. For example, Sprig often makes use of the sous-vide method, cooking food in a temperature-controlled water bath so meals hold up well during the delivery process. "The way the process works was Stuart [Brioza] gave me a menu and his specifications for what he wanted," Keller explained. "We took his menu and ideas and recipes, and converted it to Sprig's methods for consistency and scale."

By tapping the expertise of established chefs, Sprig's approach parallels competitor Munchery's. Another food-delivery startup in the Bay Area, Munchery heavily promotes chefs (many of whom are former executive chefs at San Francisco restaurants) who sell meals through its platform.

Keller and Entzel said they are working to enlist more of their chef friends to partake in Sprig's program and grow its guest menus. "These are people who used the service before, so they know exactly what it's like," Keller said.

[Image: Flickr user Didriks]

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