A Fresh Take on Frozen Food

by | Oct 6, 2020 | EAT DRINK

Sous Casa’s frozen burritos aren’t just delicious and healthy — they’re also fighting food insecurity in Richmond.

Sous Casa, a new frozen burrito delivery service in Richmond, has been an idea in the minds of chef Jim Hamilton and his anonymous partner for years. It finally became a reality when the partners, who previously traveled for work, found themselves grounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This has been a pet peeve of a mine for over a decade,” said the anonymous partner. “Frozen burritos should be perfect for so many people, but a lot of people don’t look at frozen burritos as an option, because there aren’t any good options. We’re giving them one.” The business launched in June, offering a bright spot during the crisis.

Recognizing the prevalence of food insecurity in the community, particularly in the wake of the pandemic, the partners decided to build food donations into their business model. For each order placed, Sous Casa donates at least one frozen meal to a local non-profit organization, such as the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Richmond, Circles RVA, or YWCA of Richmond. To date, Sous Casa has donated more than 4,600 burritos to people in need. 

“There’s a ton of food insecurity in Richmond that many of us don’t see. We thought this would be a good way to bring it more to the forefront locally,” said the anonymous partner. “There are a lot of people that would benefit from getting free frozen burritos. We want to give as many as we can.”

Helping make people’s lives a little easier — whether for recipients of free burritos or paying customers — is at the forefront of Sous Casa’s mission. They aim to offer food that is convenient, affordable, and delicious. 

It can’t get more convenient than having food delivered right to your door. Sous Casa currently offers delivery on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with hopes of offering daily delivery in the future. Their general delivery boundaries are 288 to the west and 895/295 to the east. If you are slightly outside of those parameters, don’t fret. “We’re flexible,” said the anonymous partner. “We’re trying to figure out how to get as many freezers full of our food as possible.” 

Once you receive your order, it’s surprisingly easy to reheat — unlike the frozen burritos you buy at the grocery store that require complicated, multi-step processes. Sous Casa’s burritos are ready to eat after three minutes in the microwave. The packaging is streamlined and 100 percent biodegradable, to make cleanup easy as well. 

Meals are reasonably priced, with burritos and burrito bowls ranging from $3 to $4 each, and require a minimum of four items per order. The menu changes based on availability of ingredients, but some favorites remain constant — like the spicy frollo verde, frollo verde, and brrreakfast burritos — as well as vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Sous Casa has plans to expand the menu in the future. “There are lots of different things in the works,” said the anonymous partner. 

Jim Hamilton is a seasoned chef, so preparing restaurant-quality food for the freezer presented a fun challenge. Hamilton gained experience cooking at Richmond restaurants, including Millie’s, Proper Pie Co., and Kuba Kuba. For about 10 years, he has been a chef to the stars, preparing food for musicians and their road crews, including Jon Bon Jovi, Katy Perry, Beyonce, and Hugh Jackman. He was on the road with Phish until the pandemic brought touring to a halt.

“Jim is a phenomenal, highly talented chef,” said his anonymous partner. “He’s making great food that anybody would love to have on their plate at a restaurant. The only difference is we’re putting it in the freezer.” 

Intent on changing people’s minds about frozen food, Hamilton and his team of local chefs work tirelessly perfecting their recipes at Hatch Kitchen, a commercial kitchen in Manchester. They did months of testing before their official launch to ensure the meals would be flavorful even after being frozen and reheated. “Everything is fabulous. Jim is at the top of his game right now,” the anonymous partner said.

While frozen burritos found at the grocery store are produced primarily with shelf life in mind, “taste is our primary focus,” said the anonymous partner. Providing a well-balanced, nutritious meal is equally important. To that end, the Sous Casa chefs prepare food using the freshest ingredients, freeze the meals, and then deliver within about two days. 

In addition to expanding the menu and delivery frequency, Sous Casa also plans to grow its staff in response to their rising popularity. “We’re looking to put a lot of good Richmonders to work and to pay a fair wage — to build a team of superstars,” the anonymous partner said.

When asked what happens if one day Hamilton wants to get back to touring with bands, he said “We’ve got it covered. We are building this to last.” He added, “The goal is always to make a good frozen burrito.” 

Check out Sous Casa and see if they live up to their goal. View the menu and place an order at www.eatsouscasa.com. With each order, you are helping fight food insecurity in Richmond and the surrounding area. 

Laura Drummond

Laura Drummond

Laura Drummond is a freelance writer based in Charlottesville, VA. She has a B.A. in English from the University of Virginia. Her favorite things are taking pictures of flowers, experiencing live music, going on road trips, and spending time with her husband and two cats.

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