As small-scale farming and organic sectors become more important in our agro-food systems today, more and more attention is paid to the specific ingredients in the food we eat every day. Josephine, co-founded by Charley Wang and Tal Safran, provides home-cooked, fresh, authentic and affordable meals for people in our local community, from Downtown Berkeley to North Oakland. It also builds a marketplace for entrepreneurial cooks who want to share their cooking with their neighborhood. The cook community is a “diverse and eccentric group that love to give to and nourish those around them,” says co-owner Charley Wang.
Cooks at Josephine can decide exactly what to cook, where to source all the ingredients, the price point of their meal and the dates and times they present their meal to the public each day. I was craving a home-cooked meal and decided to try Terry’s coconut rice with pork and garlic bok choy, because she was located in West Berkeley and she promised to serve her meals with vegetables, ingredients based on seasonality and freshness and antibiotic-free meats.
Josephine is not a sit-down restaurant. It’s a service that is built for convenience, and their goal is to provide customers with a homemade meal to take to-go. Josephine pickup locations vary depending on the location of the cooks. When I entered my cook’s house, it was bustling with customers talking excitedly among themselves and waiting for their food to be packed. Most were regulars living around the neighborhood. Josephine encourages you to bring your own containers for your family meal, but it is not mandatory.
The coconut rice with pork had a delicious aroma to it — it was very difficult to not get my fork out and dig in right away. The ground pork was not only fresh and tasty, but it mixed well with the coconut rice, which had a delicious coconut-milk scent emanating from it. There was just the right amount of garlic bok choy to go with the ground pork and coconut rice, so the portions were clearly planned out. I also decided to get a homemade strawberry-mango lemonade in a mason jar on the side. It tasted cool and refreshing, and I loved the fact that the strawberries were organic.
Josephine does not have food scheduled every day, but if you visit their website at josephine.com, you can pick out the specific home-cooked meals you want to try and can see the location of the pickup. This is a great way to appreciate the fresh, authentic recipes of cooks who really enjoy serving healthy food to their communities. Josephine meals would appeal greatly to students who cook at home and can tell the difference between the small home-cooked meals you make from scratch and the meals made commercially in bulk. Happy eating!
Readers can get in touch with Josephine at [email protected].