I’m big on dishing up home cooked, nutritious meals for Millie – but that’s in an ideal world. I don’t always have the time to cook! Melbourne’s Gourmet Juniors has taken the stress out of dinner time with a toddler by offering tasty food made from organic produce and free-range meat. The new Gourmet Juniors heat and eat meals are the perfect solution for mums with too much on their plate.

Name & business: Alecia Whitelaw from Gourmet Juniors: Real Food For Kids.

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Alecia Whitelaw and her daughter. Pic: My Mini Edition

Where are you based? We are proud to be a local Bayside business. Our commercial kitchen is in Cheltenham and office in Port Melbourne.

Do you have children? Yes – one and one on the way! Our Miss Two was the inspiration for Gourmet Juniors actually!

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Gourmet Juniors uses organic produce in all its meals. Pic: My Mini Edition

What did you do before you started Gourmet Juniors? I had a great job in marketing and events. It was a fabulous role and I worked with some incredibly inspirational people but the hours weren’t very family friendly! Its also been a dream of mine to have my own small business again (I ran a nannying agency in a past life!!).

Why start a ready-made meals business? When I returned to work after having my daughter I quickly realised my desperate need for a convenient, but highly nutritious mealtime solution.
Time was tight between daycare pick-up and dinnertime and I wished I was able to go to our local grocer, pick up a ready-made meal filled with all of the goodness that I would cook at home (if I had the time) and have it on the table in a jiffy. Unable to do so I set out to fill this need and here we are today.

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The Gourmet Juniors Coconut Chicken Curry

The mini meals contain organic ingredients and free-range meat. Why do you think this the better choice? Growing little bodies and minds need the best nutrition possible, so our meals are handmade using local free-range meats & seasonal organic produce. We believe that a chemical-free wholesome diet filled with real foods provides the best start to life and best nourishes the child.
We choose organic vegetables to avoid exposing children to nasty pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers. And we also think they taste better, therefore developing the child’s appreciation for real food!
We use free range, antibiotic and hormone free meats for the same reason. Our meats are ethically produced too.

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There’s loads of hidden vegies in the Gourmet Juniors Chicken Nuggets

When can children start to enjoy Gourmet Juniors meals? Our meals are designed for little people from around 9 months. They are a perfect next step after purees when tastes have matured a little. Our mini-meals as are made to be chopped or pureed to your child’s desired consistency.

What dish are you most proud of? The Apricot Lamb Tagine is my favourite as it includes the superfood quinoa which is packed full of nutrients and protein. There are also loads of Vitamin C-filled vegetables which makes it a perfect dish at this time of year!

Where are the meals made? All Gourmet Juniors mini-meals are made in a HACCP certified commercial kitchen (the highest level of sanitation) in Cheltenham.

There are 6 meals on the menu, what’s in the pipeline for Gourmet Juniors? We plan to continue to increasing our menu to further entice and develop our little customers’ palettes. We are close to launching our new winter special, Beef Stew.
There will be seasonal additions to the menu but we always welcome suggestions from our loyal customers.

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Slow Cooked Lamb Stew by Gourmet Juniors

Where can Melbourne parents find Gourmet Juniors? We select our stocksists very carefully and will always be found in small, local grocers and food stores that share our values of supporting local food producers.
We are therefore proud to be on the shelves of The Leaf Store in Elwood, Organica Café in Hawksburn Village and in Frederick’s of Richmond. We also offer a home delivery service.

And lastly, what’s YOUR favourite adult meal? That’s a hard one! As I spend a lot of time in the kitchen I really relish being served anything at a restaurant! However, if I could pick one thing I am craving at the moment (maybe this is my pregnant craving) it would be deliciously fresh sushi and sashimi!

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