Friends Roman Grogan, Sam O’Byrne and Ryan Scott met through their involvement in rowing, surfing and sailing while studying at DCU. Their shared love of the ocean and tasty, nutritious food eventually led to the founding of DropChef, a company that specialises in delivering healthy, good quality ingredients and corresponding recipe cards for preparing and cooking satisfying meals at home. We caught up with Ryan recently to talk about the development of DropChef and to learn more about the Cook-One-Feed-One initiative that lies at the heart of all they do.
Ryan, what initially sparked the idea for DropChef?
DropChef.com grew out of a previous food business my co-founder Roman Grogan started, helping artisan producers and local farms sell to consumers. One day a customer said; “This is great and all, but it would be better if I could create a dinner out of all the ingredients that are delivered to me”.
A light bulb went off in Roman’s head and less than three months later we were both working on the idea. We launched DropChef two and a half years ago, then a few months later our friend Sam O’Byrne joined us and from there things really started to take off.
When we first came up with the idea nearly four years ago we were checking internationally and something like this just didn’t exist. Eventually a couple of years on we heard there was a company in America called Blue Apron doing something similar.
They’ve grown incredibly quickly and could potentially have an billion dollar IPO this year, which is incredible. Obviously we’re not there yet!
So how does DropChef work?
We give you everything you need to cook a healthy dinner from scratch in exactly the right quantity in 20-30 minutes, along with an easy-to-follow recipe card. All you have to do is sign up and select your favourite dishes. There is no lock-in at all so customers can sign up and switch their account on and off hold as frequently as they wish.
The reason we use this sort of model is so that customers select their menu choice further in advance, which means we have little to no food wasted. Not only is that great for the environment, but it also results in a cost saving that we can pass on to customers in the form of our free nationwide delivery on all orders.
Tell us about the range of dishes you offer.
We offer a great selection of dishes, each of which have been designed by talented Irish chefs and are nutritionally balanced. There are six different options to choose from each week, and we try to make sure there’s as much variety as possible. Along with a selection of meat, fish and vegetables we also try to ensure that there’s a good choice of rice, pasta, noodle, quinoa and salad dishes as well.
For instance this week our meal options included a choice of Vegetarian Pad Thai with Fried Egg and Peanuts, Cajun Chicken Fajitas with Avocado and Fresh Salsa and Pan-fried Irish Hake with Thyme Roasted Wedges and a Tomato and Kale sauce. We completely overhaul our menu every week, and this way you get an incredible variety and don’t get bored of eating the same food.
How do you source your ingredients?
Initially when we started we were using mainly local vegetable growers and now we’re starting to use larger suppliers who can handle the kind of volume we’re working with.
We still try to work as much as possible with local producers, so our meat all comes from a craft butchers in Howth and our fish is supplied by Kish Fish. We also work with the Happy Pear and we try as much as possible to use local Irish suppliers like that.
What are the main challenges you’ve experienced?
I guess the greatest challenge can be getting people to try DropChef for the first time, but once they try it they realise just how helpful it is. Our success is in every new customer that tries us out, as we know we are making their life easier, healthier, tastier and helping someone else too!
Tell us about DropChef’s Cook-One-Feed-One initiative.
We get excited about a lot of things that we do, but what really gets us out of bed in the morning is knowing that we have the potential to make a difference and change the lives of children suffering from malnourishment. When we first started DropChef we made a promise that for every meal that someone eats through us we would donate one meal to somebody in need.
This means that if you’re cooking dinner for four people with DropChef tonight we will donate four meals; so a single customer or family can have a pretty significant impact fairly quickly. We work with Valid Nutrition, an Irish charity that makes a special life-saving food for children with Severe Acute Malnourishment (SAM) in Malawi. They create jobs and source their produce locally and in doing so have created a really sustainable model for treating SAM.
If even a fraction of those who read Totally Dublin cooked with DropChef we would be donating thousands more meals every month. With this in mind we are going to give readers of Totally Dublin €15 off their next DropChef order.
To avail of this offer just go to Dropchef.com and type in TotallyDublin when prompted for a coupon code at checkout.
For more information and to avail of this special reader offer visit
Words: Martina Murray
Main Image: Alice Ward
Food Images: Colin Judge