With staying in the new going out (or, so I tell myself…), something incredible has happened to our supermarket shelves; specifically in the frozen section.
The term ‘ready-meal’, once synonymous with an unhealthy diet, poor quality and tastelessness, has since been transformed into a quality, tasty, go-to dinner solution on a Friday or Saturday night. Sales of premium, slow-cooked (so you don’t have to), pre-prepared meals continue to soar, with advertising filled with so much appetite-appeal that you can almost taste it.
Oscar Mayer, the team behind the design and production of these luxury dine in ranges for the leading supermarkets, asked me to help them further entice their audience and promote brand loyalty by giving each of their dishes a product description story.
As we were targeting a consumer that was likely to be well-travelled and would like to enjoy the same quality recipes from the comfort of their own home, we decided to opt for a tone that included historical and cultural references to give each dish authenticity.
One dish at a time
Armed with ingredient lists, recipe books and manuals, I worked up a series of descriptions to help sell-in the dishes to the client and, eventually, the consumer.
Lasagne al forno
Feast on the finest layers of oven-baked ragù, creamy cheese sauce and delicious pasta.
Every famiglia has their own lasagne al forno recipe. Our tender, slow-cooked minced beef and pork in a rich, hearty tomato, Chianti and oregano ragù is layered between al dente, free-range egg pasta sheets and creamy béchamel sauce. Baked al forno and topped with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, our traditional lasagne is a recognisable taste we all know and love.
Pollo asado con patatas bravas
Experience a fiery fusion of paprika, garlic and chilli.
Influenced by one of Spain’s most popular tapa, our chefs have combined crispy cubes of potato with a paprika and chilli-fuelled tomato sauce. Teamed with tender chicken breast marinated in garlic and topped with creamy aioli, this dish will take you back to the familiarity and simplicity of the tapas bar.
Delve into this deluxe fish pie wrapped in a blanket of velvety mashed potato.
We’ve given this classic British comfort food an elegant upgrade with rich, hand-flaked salmon and juicy king prawns in a generous creamy white wine and farmhouse cheddar sauce. Covered in buttery mashed potato with a crunchy cheese crumb for the ultimate fish supper on cosy nights in.
Boeuf à la Bourguignonne
Indulge in hearty, tender chunks of beef drenched in a rich red wine jus.
This quintessential French casserole from the key wine region of Burgundy marries slow-cooked beef with a full-bodied red wine sauce. Our recipe is complemented with lardons of smoky bacon, roasted shallots and meaty button mushrooms to add a depth of flavour for the ultimate dine-in treat.
Spaghetti con i gamberi
Enjoy the tastes and textures of al dente spaghetti and succulent king prawns.
Inspired by the scrumptious seafood dishes found across the Italian Riviera, our spaghetti con i gamberi uses juicy king prawns flavoured in olive oil, garlic, chilli flakes and white wine. Once marinated, the prawns are wrapped in golden spaghetti, juicy sundried tomatoes, fresh, baby leaf spinach and tasty Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
One of the (many) things I loved about this project was how much I was able to research, taste-test and try out different text approaches. With only a certain amount of space for each story, it was important that every word counted.
I also learnt how to write buon appetito in a lot of major European languages, which makes me feel like I’m a bit more qualified to watch Masterchef.