I recently interviewed the owner of Kitchen Doula, Tali Biale. Her Oakland based meal delivery serves San Francisco Bay Area families. This is such a great service that I hope everyone who can access, will.
Q: What inspired you to start this amazing business?
A: When I first had a few friends give birth I had no idea what to get them. Diapers? Swaddling cloths? I just wasn't sure how to help. The only thing I really knew how to do super well was cook so I did! I would drop off meals when they first came home (or for one friend, I had a key and let myself in to fill her fridge while she was still in the hospital). I was amazed by how helpful it was for them to have those homemade meals. When I moved back home to the Bay Area from the East Coast 6 years ago, I knew I wanted to start some kind of food business and my friends who I had cooked for assured me that new moms especially needed good food. That's how it started and it's just grown ever since! I love that the business has allowed me to combine cooking delicious food with supporting and caring for new moms.
Q: How long have you been offering this postpartum meal service to new families?
A: Kitchen Doula has been in business for almost 5 and a half years.Although we've gone through some different incarnations--we used to prepare fresh meals and change the menu weekly and, as fun as that was, switching to focusing just on soups and stews has allowed us to reach more families and to deliver to a wider range throughout the Bay Area. And soups and stews are my favorite foods to make and eat, and always feel so comforting and nourishing, so I'm really happy we're focusing on those now.
Q: How many people on average a month are you feeding?
A: These days, we are making about 140 deliveries a month. Some of those are deliveries to the same people each week, of course, but we are so delighted to be taking care of so many families!
Q: After reading your website I have a good sense about what you offer, do you offer other services as well?
A: No, we just offer food! I love the fact that there are so many amazing folks working in the perinatal space in the Bay Area and each person brings their expertise, whether as a birth or postpartum doula, a lactation consultant, a placenta specialist, etc. My expertise is in cooking nourishing, delicious food so I am happy to have that be my offering to the community.
Q: Do you also cook in your clients kitchens or is this all completely done in your own space?
A: We use a commercial kitchen space and prepare all of our food there. I know some postpartum doulas come to cook in peoples' homes, which I think is wonderful for some families. I also know some families are very happy to have a bag of lovingly prepared food dropped at their door without any expectation to be invited in to see the baby (but of course we do always love when people answer the door with a new baby in their arms!).
Q: Do you offer options for people with allergies and dietary preferences?
A: Yes! Many of our soups and stews are vegan, dairy and/or gluten free and we are always open to discussing options for those with dietary restrictions.
What kind of feedback are you getting from customers?
A: One of my favorite things about running this business are the emails and phone calls I get from people who tell me how cared for they felt when their Kitchen Doula package arrived. Not only that, but when someone sends food to a friend through Kitchen Doula, the gift giver feels like they are truly sending their love. There is something so much more personal about sending food that was prepared with care and love, and those feelings are so important in those tender early moments with a new baby.
Q: If I was a new parent and wanted to order from you, when would you recommend I start? During pregnancy, right after baby is born, or whenever?
A: It's different for everyone! I often get orders from expecting mamas at the very beginning of their pregnancy journeys who are just feeling way too tired to cook. Some folks like to plan ahead and get their freezer stocked before the baby arrives and others like to place their orders once the baby is here and they have a sense of how much food support they'll need. It's very personal but our food is nourishing at every step of the way (and even for those who aren't pregnant or post-partum but just want some healthy, delicious food!).
If you are interested in checking out this amazing business, reach out to them directly. Check out their packages below!
Tali Biale, founder
Food is Love, Nourish Yourself