Renowned Auckland chefs Nic Watt and Darren Johnson team up to create gourmet food delivery box Cookalong

Cookalong meal delivery box
Chefs Darren Johnson (left) Nic Watt (right) have launched their new gourmet food delivery service. Photo credit: Supplied.

If the thought of tackling the weekly food shop or thinking up a week's worth of dinners is getting you down, this might be a very delicious answer. 

Auckland chefs Nic Watt and Darren Johnson have launched their new gourmet food delivery service Cookalong offering pre-prepared, restaurant-quality ingredients and meals. 

The chefs say the box's menus change weekly, with most of the hard work done in the restaurant. All meals require 30 minutes or less of preparation or cooking time - some are 'sautee and serve' while others are 'heat and eat'.

Each recipe card includes easy to follow instructions and also includes the full recipe, to 'Cookalong from scratch' again at home.

The company joins a growing market of more gourmet food box delivery services, including chef Gareth Stewart's Nourish Box, which contains meals inspired by his Nourish Group chain of restaurants. 

These tend to offer higher-end alternatives to the meals seen in more widely used delivery services like HelloFresh, My Food Bag and Woop. 

In Cookalong's case, that's down to the founders: Watt is the chef behind three Auckland restaurants including SkyCity's Masu, while Johnson is the co-owner and culinary director at Inca.

Accordion to Watt, the concept of having chefs do the food prep and having diners finish the meals in the comfort of their own homes originated pre-pandemic, but development was fast-tracked during lockdown.

"Not everyone can dine in and there are occasions where you want a no-fuss but delicious meal solution in your own home," he says.

"Darren and I will draw on our experiences both in the restaurant and through our travels to create and deliver dishes that we would be proud to serve our friends and family at home."

The three meal options available include:

  • The Four-Night Gourmet Dinner- sauté and serve chef-prepared dishes with restaurant sauces and prepared garnishes, such as a beef and pumpkin ragu with orecchiette and lemon gremolata or master stock braised pork belly with daikon, shiitake mushroom, rice and bok choy.
  • The Three-Night Family Heat and Eat - meals for customers to simply heat and eat, like the Chicken, mushroom and hidden vege pie with wood-roasted cauliflower almond salad or Beef cheeks and parsnip mash.
  • The Three-Course Date Night - with menus changing fortnightly, sauté and serve special chef-prepared dishes for special occasions, such as salmon tartare and ginger miso free-range chicken.