Restaurant-quality dinners available at local Whole Foods Market
What began as a small business selling organic barbecue sauces and salad dressings has shifted to a focus on creating products for people being at home 24/7 and wanting a restaurant-quality meal without all the prep and work.
With Sharone Hakman as the CEO and chef, Chef Hak’s has expanded its line to include Plated Meals, which are now available at Whole Foods Market in Santa Barbara.
They include Honey Mustard Chicken, Lemon Rosemary Chicken, Salmon with Superfood Pesto and Vietnamese Style Spicy Meatballs, which are all organic; carb-conscious Perfect Pot Roast and carb-conscious organic Eggplant Turkey Parmesan with White Truffle; and paleo and carb-conscious organic Baked Buffalo-Style Chicken.
“These new single-serve meals are fresh, never frozen, and come in an array of paleo, keto, carb-conscious and plant-based options,” said his wife Monica Hakman from their home in Los Angeles. “It’s all about easy meal solutions — heat and eat — using the same clean ingredients we feed to our family.”
The couple have two sons: Luka, 11, and Niko, 8.
All the recipes are created by Mr. Hakman, a self-taught chef, according to Mrs. Hakman, who has a background in the fashion industry and now is in charge of public relations and marketing for the company.
“Sharone was originally a financial adviser but always had a passion for cooking. He was a contestant on the first season of ‘Master Chef’ with Gordon Ramsay in 2010. Although he didn’t win, he decided to pursue a culinary career. He made his special barbecue sauce for the show and from there went to salad dressings and other cooking sauces. Chef Hak’s was born,” she said. “Chef Ramsay said it was the best barbecue sauce he had ever tasted.”
Since appearing on “Master Chef,” Mr. Hakman has also been a judge on shows like “Chopped Junior” and “Kids Sweets Showdown.”
His initial interest in food came from his grandmother, Mr. Hakman told the Jewish Journal.
“She was that bubbe who never left the kitchen. Shabbat was always special. There was something about my grandmother making the gefilte fish from scratch and smelling the matzoh ball soup and feeling that comfort.”
When he was growing up, Mr. Hakman spent every summer visiting Israel and when he took a break from the finance world to study cooking, he went to Israel to do so. His grandparents were from Poland and survived the horrors of the Holocaust.
The Plated Meals, which have a 45-day shelf life, cost between $9.99 and $12.99.
“The most popular ones are the Honey Mustard Chicken, which include brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes, and Salmon with Superfood Pesto with garlic parmesan green beans,” said Mrs. Hakman, explaining that the buffalo-style chicken refers to the same type of sauce for buffalo chicken wings.
“Our goal is to provide restaurant-quality meals that can be enjoyed at home,” she said, citing the Turkey Parmesan with White Truffle as an example.
Chef Hakman added, “I know life can get busy, and it can be tough to make delicious healthy food, day after day. Meal planning, prepping, shopping and cooking can all feel like a chore. With Plated Meals, I’ve done the work for you without cutting any corners. I carefully crafted these lifestyle focused, flavorful plated meals with mindfully sourced organic ingredients and your specific lifestyle needs in mind — optimal nutrition without compromise on taste.”
He also believes that a comfortable dining experience is what is missing from most restaurants, according to a Google website.
“The importance of comfort while eating is something else I learned from my grandmother.”