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F&W's Kate Krader gets the inside scoop on David Chang's new, awesome delivery service.
There I was, checking out Maple, the brand new meal delivery service that stars Momofuku’s David Chang as the chief culinary officer, when he made a bold prediction. “In 10 years, Food & Wine will have a Best New Chef from the food delivery service,” he said.
“Woah,” I said. And then, possibly, “truth.” There might not be a more exciting space in the food world than the dishes you don’t have to go out for—partly because people like Chang are focused on the world of meal delivery and bringing in an uber-talented team. Of course I've heard about UberEats. But, meet Soa Davies, the executive chef for Maple, who worked for Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin. Davies is designing terrific dishes you want to eat all the time (as opposed to the ones that make you think you’re still in college), like Pepper-Crusted Heritage Pork with Green Peppercorn Cream Sauce and Sautéed Kale, and Baked Arctic Char with Braised Leeks and Roasted Fennel. All the food is non-GMO, too. “They’re solving everyday problems; this is food you wish you had time to cook,” says my boss, F&W editor in chief Dana Cowin, approvingly. Chang has even more lofty goals. “I think Maple will be like what René [Redzepi] does at Noma,” he says. “There were so many ingredients he couldn’t get in Denmark, so he created a whole new world of cooking. We’re just going to work with food that’s deliverable. And we’ll break some rules.”
4 Things to Know About Maple
There are amazing people behind this project. Besides my hero Chang and Davies, the culinary board includes Brooks Headley and Mark Ladner from Del Posto and ex-ABC Kitchen’s Dan Kluger, who all advise on menu development.
The app is awesome. Created by some very smart individuals, the Maple app does a bunch of cool things. For one, it lets you swipe through the ingredients in the Green Chile Enchilada (a scary prospect for some food I’ve had delivered in my lifetime). It also gives you a time stamp that lets you know they're preparing your meal and will have it to you, hot meal and everything, in 30 minutes or less.
Maple prices are really reasonable. Lunch is $12 and dinner is $15, and that includes tax, tip and delivery. And yet the hardworking delivery guys are still getting paid a living wage.
For now, Maple is only in FiDi. At the moment, to control delivery time, Maple is only available in the Financial District below Chambers Street so the delivery guys can get there on their bikes (eco-friendly!) as fast as possible, within 30 minutes. They’re even working to troubleshoot addresses: If, from prior deliveries, they know your elevator is slow or your doorman is distracted, they factor that info into your next delivery.