By Mikayla van Loon Photos Yanni
Two New Zealand-born chefs are cooking up a storm and delivering heart-warming meals to your front door. The best-friend duo, Dan Hawke and Reece Morrow, are the co-founders of Mornington Peninsula based Home Run Food Co, an initiative that started just as the pandemic did.
The pair come from a background of cooking for on-set productions with their Sydney-based business, Set Piece. From catering for the likes of Johnny Depp on the set of Pirates of the Caribbean to the most recent seasons of The Voice, these two know good food.
Reece and Dan made a big lifestyle change by moving to the Mornington Peninsula two years ago with their families, commuting back and forth to run Set Piece. But as the pandemic hit, it put a stop to all their work and left their staff and equipment at a stand still.
“When the pandemic hit, we had all our kitchens, all our gear, all our refrigerated vans just parked doing nothing, and this was pretty early on and we thought, we’re either going to sit here twiddling our thumbs or we can try and get something moving,” Dan said.
“There is very little going on in the film and TV industry at the moment and we thought of our own community, where thousands of people are trying to avoid going out unnecessarily or are working from home. We thought they could use some help,” Reece said.
Returning to Sydney to pick up a kitchen and cool room from the set of The Voice, the duo organised a makeshift factory in Mornington to set up shop and start creating home-cooked meals that everyone would love.
“We pretty much had everything we needed, so it was an easy shift to make” Dan said. “It was bit of a no brainer for us and we had a lot of staff in Sydney who couldn’t get JobKeeper, so we were trying to support those staff as well – so that’s how Home Run Food Co was born I suppose, out of necessity.”
Drawing inspiration from their own family kitchens, Dan and Reece have put together a menu of hearty and comforting meals that can be eaten on their own or by adding ingredients from your own fridge. Their moto: ‘mix it up and keep it fresh.’
Sourcing all their ingredients from the Mornington Peninsula area, Dan and Reece work with what is in season to make the meals as affordable as possible. The menu also works around the time of year, so at the moment the meals are winter inspired but as summer rolls around, that will begin to change.
Although fan favourites and best sellers change from day to day, Dan said there are some popular combinations that can’t be faulted. Their top three picks would be the whole braised lamb shoulder paired with roasted root vegetables and a grain salad, meatballs and pasta, and the teriyaki chicken paired with some brown rice.
“The reception has been really, really good so far; we’ve been really well supported and we’re all having great fun.”
“Everything has been really positive, not only feedback but also from our side of things. The team has been really happy; I suppose everyone’s happy to come to work and it’s just been a really good vibe right from the start,” Dan said.
Not only has Home Run Food Co been supplying great family meal packs to households but Dan said about twenty per cent of their business has come from people sending their loved ones care packages. The team write personalised, hand-written notes for each box that is being sent as a care package.
“You know the fact that people are caring about other people; although they can’t go and see them, they can send them a little box of food to brighten their day. So that’s been one of the highlights I’d say,” he said.
Even with the future as unpredictable as it is, Dan and Reece have big hopes for Home Run Food Co.
“We’re going strong,” Dan said. “Hopefully this will be our business moving forward. That’s the idea for us. We want to continue to build this and grow and extend our delivery area.”
Right now, Home Run Food Co delivers to the Mornington Peninsula, Frankston, Seaford and Langwarrin. And with recycling in mind, leave your empty containers in the box they deliver outside, and they will take them away and recycle them when they do the next delivery.
Serves 2 people
- 2 Free range chicken marylands (rib cage boned out)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
1. Heat oven to 180c
2. Toss everything together in a mixing bowl to coat evenly
3. Arrange skin side up on an oven tray and cook for about 45 minutes
4. Set aside and allow to rest for five minutes
5. Use the pan juice to finish chicken
For the lentils
- ½ brown onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 carrots
- 1 celery stalk
- ½ cup dried Puy lentils
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped cavalo nero
- ½ cup of mirin or white wine
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1 Lt boiling water mixed with 1 Tablespoon of Miso paste
- ½ tsp each of paprika and ground cumin
1. Blitz carrots, celery, onion and garlic in a food processor (you can grate or finely chop)
2. Heat olive oil to a medium heat in a deep saucepan and cook (adding the paprika and cumin) until soft, sweet and beginning to catch on the pan, then add the lentils
3. Deglaze the pan with mirin (or white wine)
3. Once most of the liquid has gone, add the miso liquid
4. When miso liquid has gone and the lentils are nearly cooked (but still firm), turn the heat off, add the chopped cavalo nero and stir through.
5. Season well and add the vinegar
- ½ Bunch cavalo nero roughly chopped
- 1 Bunch parsley
- 2 Tablespoons seeded mustard
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 cloves of garlic lightly fried in 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1. Wash parsley and cavalo nero in hot water then strain
2. Blend everything in a food processor or using a stick blender
3. Season with salt and pepper