Company’s goal is gourmet wellness and social change
Balfour’s Kitchen, a socially and environmentally conscious meal delivery program fostering wellness and social change, has begun outreach to focus group professionals, medical centers and nonprofit distribution organizations in Santa Barbara with deliveries of prepared gourmet, plant-based meals at no cost as part of its upcoming community give-back program.
Since November 2020, the for-profit corporation has donated more than 1,000 meals to Sarah House and the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission. For every unit of the convenient, ready-to-heat, single-serving soups and veggie bowls sold, another unit is donated to a person or family who is food insecure, hungry or in need of healthy medicinal nutrition.
“Our core belief is that the private sector should contribute socially to the communities in which they operate,” said Danny Burgner, founder and owner of Balfour’s Kitchen, during a phone interview from his home in Ballard.
“Our objective is to uphold our commitment to shareholders while simultaneously addressing the urgent issues of health-related food needs, as well as food scarcity,” he told the News-Press.
Mr. Burgner said the inspiration for Balfour’s Kitchen came about while attending an event for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County highlighting the plight of school kids during summer months when free meal programs are not available.
“It was at McKinley School, and (Montecito) actor Jeff Bridges talked about the No Kid Hungry organization. I was completely unaware of the problem. I was stunned. How could I be so ignorant? And how could this happen in a place like Santa Barbara?” said Mr. Burgner. “I decided the next chapter of my life would be providing food-related services for people in need.
“I’m also a big believer that free enterprise should support social needs in the community, and our research showed that people are willing to spend more if there is a social cause behind the product.”
As CEO of Destination Media, Mr. Burgner felt his decades of entrepreneurial experience made him particularly adept at addressing the often overlooked issues of food scarcity and food insecurity within an affluent community.
“The recent pandemic gave me time on my hands to focus on the hunger crisis that affects one in five people across the nation, starting with my own community,” he said.
The company is currently conducting focus group studies in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties as it finalizes Balfour’s Kitchen products, which will be sold online through its website later this year.
Menu items include Green and Clean Soup with Chard, Parsley and Collards; Sweet Potato and Spinach Quinoa Bowl with Basil Mint Pesto, Cauliflower Shakshuka, Thai Veggie Quinoa, Cajun Carrot and Zucchini, Chia Berry Bowl and Broccoli Nut Pilaf, among others.
Prices will range between $5 and $10 per item.
“Many dishes come with pairing suggestions for easy customized options such as high calorie and high protein or Keto diets,” said Mr. Burgner. “Chef Irina Skoeries has a reputation for healthy and delicious dishes as a private chef. Her own experience of living with rheumatoid arthritis led her to realize the life-changing benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet. She considers food as medicine, with each bite providing the highest nutritional value possible.”
Balfour’s Kitchen commitment to environmentally sound practices means all of its food products are packaged in recyclable containers with minimal post-consumer waste.
Asked about the unusual name for the venture, Mr. Burgner said, “Balfour’s Kitchen namesake is Lady Eve Balfour, a leading pioneer of the organic food movement who died in 1990 at the age of 92.
“Her intensive farm research in Suffolk, England, was the basis of ‘The Living Soil,’ her bestselling book that helped turn the tide against the rise of industrial farm practices. ‘The health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible,’ she wrote as a guiding principle.”