Long ago and far far away, there is a land where every busy single young (and seasoned) professional who lives alone or even with roommate(s) … has a refrigerator stock full of fresh produce, a pantry that would make the Barefoot Contessa swoon and has the time and talent of a budding Julia Child to cook, bake and serve up what’s for dinner on well, a nightly basis.
Let us picture that for a moment.
Now, back to real life.Â The true picture is quite the opposite and whether you think it fortunate or unfortunate, it is what it is.Â And so, there is a need. A need for healthy, quick, reasonably priced meals that have flavor and variety, however, they are easy to make yourself.Â But how to answer that need?Â Traipsing down aisles buying carts of items which will go bad and are expensive doesn’t seem smart.Â And by the time one gets home, one is exhausted.Â So we are back to take out, dine in, or grab and go, all of which we know are made with salt, butter, oils and fats which get fattening and costly and who wants pizza every night? Believe me, I battle with this daily and nightly.Â Then, along came Ryan Hansan and Scratch DC.Â We had an opportunity to talk with him in between his multi-hatted tasks that come with running a start up.
Pamela’s Punch: Tell us a bit about your background. Are you a native Washingtonian?
Ryan Hansan: I was born and raised in Reston, VA, just outside of the District. I moved into the city for college and Iâ€™ve been here ever since. So while I guess Iâ€™m not technically a true native, DC has always been my home.
PP:Â What is Scratch DC?
RH:Â Scratch DC makes making amazing meals easy. In a nutshell, we create daily unique two-serving bundles of fresh, locally sourced, organic ingredients that are chopped, measured, marinated, packed with an easy to follow recipe and delivered to your door ready to cook – saving you the time, money and food thatâ€™s often wasted when making a great meal at home.
PP:Â What are some of the recipes you are currently offering? Will you take into consideration food allergies?
RH:Â We offer a different meal each day and try to have something for everyone during any given week. In our first two weeks (this one included!) weâ€™ll have offered everything from Vegetarian Pasta Primavera, to Buffalo Chicken Tacos, to Balsamic Flank Steak with a Tomato and Blue Cheese Salad and Redskin Mashed Potatoes to Scallops and Chorizo over Homemade Guacamole.
All common allergens are listed on our ordering page and as we grow we plan on offering more gluten free and vegetarian options.
PP:Â Where are you getting the inspiration for your recipes?
RH:Â My mom is a miracle worker in the kitchen and many of the delicious notes that Scratch DC meals hit come straight from her!
Weâ€™ve spent about a year finding, vetting and tweaking the best recipes from friends, neighbors, and professional chefs that are not only incredibly delicious, but also have generally simple cook steps and call for common kitchen utensils – so even the greenest of cooks in the barest of kitchens can make incredible meals.
PP:Â Would you say you are more of a good 1) sous chef? 2) chef 3) baker 4) none of the above, just feed me!
RH:Â Iâ€™d definitely have to go with number four here! Though admittedly my kitchen skills are much improved, the whole genesis of this idea came out of my frustration in the kitchen.
Right out of college it was usually either spend a ton of money going out to eat or scrounge together what was in the fridge â€“ and trust me, beer, some eggs and a half used jar of pasta sauce donâ€™t make much.
When I did want to make a great meal I had to search for a recipe that sounded good, trek to the store, buy the ingredients, come home, prep and cook. The most frustrating thing for me besides the time and cost was that I had to buy all this excess food that ended up going to waste. I needed a pinch of fresh parsley and had to buy a bushel. I needed a half-cup of cream and had to buy a carton. I needed a teaspoon of sherry, and had to buy a bottle.
Iâ€™m kind of rambling here, but long story short, thatâ€™s how Scratch DC came to be, its a classic or clichÃ© example of setting out to fix a problem. No more wasted money, no more wasted food, no more bad recipes or treks to the store. We deliver everything you need to make an amazing meal for two for about $20.
PP:Â Tell us about the sourcing for the organic ingredients and local produce and meats.
RH:Â When you get your Scratch DC bundle you can see right there on the recipe where the contents came from.
This year weâ€™ll be working with a number of farming co-operatives, but mainly Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, who will source our fresh produce and herbs.
Most of our meats come from Fells Point Meats in Maryland who source from small family farms all over the area. Our poultry comes from Murrayâ€™s Naturals, which works with small family farms in Pennsylvania.
If its not in-season or locally viable, we get it from Alberts Organics, one of the oldest and most trusted organics distributor in the US.
PP:Â Where are you delivering? What types of plans for expansion do you have?
RH:Â We currently deliver across most of NW DC and The Hill. As we grow we hope to expand and eventually bring our services to Alexandria, Arlington and the close-in Maryland burbs.
PP:Â You are an entrepreneur, a businessman. You’ve taken a brilliant idea and ‘made it so’. What have you learned so far in this new endeavor?
RH:Â That starting a company is a lot of work! Iâ€™m a prep cook in the morning, a guerilla marketer in the afternoon a delivery driver in the evenings and a supply chain manager/test cook at night.
But when all that incredibly positive feedback comes in and you know customers love your product, it makes it all worth it!
PP:Â What type of suggestions do you have for any other folks about to embark on a start up?
RH:Â I donâ€™t know, Iâ€™m still obviously very new to this so I donâ€™t think I have many wise nuggets of knowledge. But I guess if anything its that everything your company does should be to make the customer fall in love with your product.
PP:Â What’s next for you?
RH:Â Well, Iâ€™ve actually got a delivery in a few minutes! But seriously, we hope to become a viable daily dinner option for a young and hungry DC. Weâ€™re young and hungry too so if we can figure out how to do that here, who knows where else we might go.
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a leading source of information for the “who, what, when, and where” of Washington, DC’s elite social, professional, and philanthropic scene, which she founded in November of 2006. In 2012 she launched Pacific Punch, based in Los Angeles. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, Virginia and when she’s not out on the town, she’s reading or writing while sipping fine wine, or traveling the country and the world ISO adventures, beauty, fun, food, style, libations, music, and the good life. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.