Austin Foodie Mama: Gourmet by Numbers

gourmet by numbers

What most families wouldn’t give to have a chef on staff! Or — okay, let’s be realistic — at least a sous chef. What if someone could chop all the vegetables, prep and measure all the ingredients, and deliver it to you with clear instructions so that you could dispense with all that tedious business and get in and out of the kitchen in 30 minutes, tops, to put a delicious and healthy meal on the table for your family?

Heather Amalaha, a native Austinite and the brains behind Gourmet by Numbers, is hoping that families will swoon over that idea — and put their money where their mouth is.

The idea is a simple one: Take a variety of chef-developed menus, put together all of the ingredients, and package them conveniently, with simple instructions, so you can get a meal on the table in no time flat.

“Each kit comes with all the ingredients you need, everything is prepped, all the vegetables and what-not are pre-washed and cut in the exact quantities you need, and it comes with an easy-to-follow recipe,” says Amalaha. “It just makes the whole process easy.”

As a mother of two small children herself, she understands how hard it can be for busy families to get a home-cooked meal on the table every night. The Gourmet by Numbers concept was one Amalaha came up with in college, as a student in Nutrition and Food Studies at NYU.

“After college, I got married and had kids, and really started to understand how difficult it was to get a good meal on the table, which is why I’m starting this now,” says Amalaha. “We can save people some time.”

Her favorite meal on the current menu is the Greek Lamb Sliders with Garlic-Oregano Oven Fries. “I don’t even like lamb,” smiles Amahala, “and my daughter, who is definitely competing for world’s pickiest eater — she loves it. Plus it all goes in the oven and there’s barely any clean-up.”

You can also send in your own recipe — whether it’s a family favorite or just something you’ve been wanting to try — and Gourmet by Numbers will prep it for you (though Amalaha says she can’t guarantee it’ll be ready in under 30 minutes; that depends on the recipe).

To get its start, Gourmet by Numbers is trying to raise $20,000 through an Indiegogo campaign, which would initially go toward building out its first retail location here in Austin. Business and Community Lenders of Texas helped plan and fund the campaign through its Keep Austin Funded  program, which is designed to coach entrepreneurs through a successful crowd-funding campaign.

“I chose to go the crowd-funding route because getting access to traditional capital through a small business loan or something like that is incredibly difficult, especially as a start-up,” says Amalaha. “And as people back the project, it provides social proof that this is a concept that people like, so that once the crowd-funding campaign is over, I can go through those more traditional financing routes and show that this is a concept I know will work.”

Gourmet by Numbers plans to give back to the Austin community by using locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible, and partnering with local non-profit organizations on events and fundraising campaigns. A portion of the funds raised in the crowd-funding campaign will go to Keep Austin Funded, and Amalaha has committed to donating a further portion of the proceeds to Austin Mobile Loaves and Fishes.

Gourmet by Numbers generously provided a meal for me and my family to try earlier this week. As it happened, the day my meal kit was delivered was day two of being home with a sick preschooler and a teething baby. I was exhausted, and there was practically no way I would’ve gotten a home-cooked dinner on the table that evening under normal circumstances. Delivered in tidy freezer bags with labels, numbers and clear instructions, this meal kit saved the day.

meal kit


We opted for the Herbed Baked Chicken Fingers, Three Cheese Macaroni and Cheese, and Sauteed Swiss Chard with Bell Peppers. Everything was clearly labeled and conveniently packaged, the instructions were very simple to follow, and the meal was, indeed, on the table in 30 minutes flat — I know because we were able to cook it all within a single episode of Super Why.

finished meal

The meal was a hit with everyone. My daughter, who must be competing for the same pickiest eater title as Amalaha’s daughter, surprised me by eschewing the mac and cheese, traditionally one of her favorite foods, for the chicken fingers, and happily put away a couple of them. She also liked the red peppers in the chard, once we assured her that the were “not spicy at all.” My husband gave the whole meal the thumbs up, and, as a vegetarian, I was quite satisfied with a larger helping of the mac and cheese plus the chard. Though there’s probably still some fine-tuning in order — for example, our macaroni and cheese was pretty cold by the time the rest of the meal was ready (but I am not ruling out user error, there) — Gourmet by Numbers is poised to be a savior for busy families in Austin and beyond.

“Gourmet by Numbers can help save time, so you don’t even have to plan the meal, esentially,” says Amalaha. “Once I have a brick-and mortar space here in Austin, you can decide you want to cook dinner tonight, and just pop by and see what the options are and grab a meal, and when you take it home, you’re done in under 30 minutes.”

Gourmet by Numbers plans to start deliveries next month via orders through their web site, and people can pre-order kits through the Indiegogo campaign.

The initial retail location will likely be in Central or Northwest Austin, but Amalaha has big plans — starting with multiple locations throughout Austin and Texas, and at some point she hopes to expand nationally.

For more information and details about Gourmet by Numbers’ crowd-funding campaign, visit

Disclosure: The writer received a free meal kit in exchange for this review. LiveMom did not receive compensation for this post, and the opinions here are the writer’s own.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info] Lauren Walz is a freelance writer and editor and mama of two little girls, ages 3 and brand new. While she’s quick to brag about being a fifth-generation Texan, Lauren spent 8 years in Silicon Valley practicing law, until she and her family were drawn back to Austin in 2012. She now splits her time between being home with her kids and writing. Lauren also blogs about cooking and parenthood on[/author_info] [/author]


Catherine Prystup
About Catherine Prystup 2157 Articles
Catherine Prystup founded out of a desire to build a better community for Austin-area moms. She has three children, ages seventeen, eight and three years old.

1 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Crowdfunding Campaign Update | gourmetbynumbers

Comments are closed.