Ooshma Garg is on an unstoppable mission to feed the busy families and single diners of Silicon Valley. An idea that started with a growling tummy has blossomed into a small empire, in an example of entrepreneurial zest that has made its founder front page news.
Garg, 24, is the founder of Gobble.com, a startup that pairs talented local gourmet chefs with customers by bypassing the restaurant model. Instead, chefs post available meals online, and diners order them for takeout or delivery.
If you are the kind of foodie who doesn’t mind spending from $13-30 per person for dinner, plus $3.95 for delivery, then Gobble is for you.
Typical meals might include wild balsamic grilled salmon with quinoa and summer corn and tomato succotash, served with a chocolate pot de crème dessert ($19.95); Cajun jambalaya with brown rice ($14.95); lemongrass Vietnamese fish cakes over vermicelli with mango and pomelo salad ($12.95); or Thai grilled beef ribs with organic fried onion rings and spring mix ($24.95).
“In college, and after I fell in love with the startup world, I realized that young professionals and families with two working parents wanted to eat healthily — but their eating habits went down the drain,” Garg — Gobble’s Chief Eating Officer — told India-West in a recent phone interview. “This company has been a long time coming.”
Garg has a B.S. in biomechanical engineering from Stanford; in 2008, as a junior, she launched a company called Anapata Inc., which is described as “the first online diversity-focused recruiting and networking platform for the legal profession.” Gobble was started in 2011 with $1.2 million from investors such as Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn. Since then, Garg has been featured in Inc. magazine as one of its “30 Under 30: America’s Coolest Entrepreneurs” and in numerous news articles.
Currently, delivery is available only in Atherton, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, and the Stanford University area; the company is based in Palo Alto, Calif.
Since each Gobble chef is responsible for complying with federal, state, county or local laws governing consumer food preparation and for acquiring the appropriate licenses and permits, the company stands behind the quality of its food.
Ingredients, too, are top-notch. “Many of our chefs have their own vegetable gardens. Other chefs have relationships with nearby farmers and producers to source local ingredients. Some chefs cook only with only organic fruits and vegetables or specialty meats,” reads the Web site.
The meals are not cooked in the chefs’ home kitchens: Gobble requires its meals to be cooked in a commercial or institutional kitchen. “I’m not a food inspector,” said Garg, “so the chefs have a food handler’s permit and work in certified kitchens.”
Although Garg declines to provide sales figures, she says the company is growing rapidly and adding customers (as well as company accounts) and hiring chefs every day.
The Indian American entrepreneur says it is the small scale of Gobble’s product that distinguishes it. “I was looking for a company to start, and I looked at scaleability,” she told India-West. “With this platform, we can scale it worldwide.”