Melbourne-based chef Tobie Puttock has packed a lot into his 30-plus years in the food industry: a stint cooking at London’s River Café; numerous collaborations with Jamie Oliver; the authoring of a lazy five cookbooks.
Now, he’s packing all that experience and culinary nous into a line of delicious ready meals that you can heat and eat at home, at the office, and wherever good times (and microwaves) are had. Here’s Puttock on what makes Made by Tobie a leading candidate for your next lunch.
Who are you and what are you all about?
Made by Tobie is a Melbourne-based meal delivery business that provides top-quality frozen meals made with local produce and free-range and organic proteins, with a focus on sustainability and zero-waste kitchen practices.
I’ve been cooking in restaurants and working in the food industry for over 30 years, and I was looking for a way where I could cook and be creative whilst staying true to my ethics around food production and waste. Our food system is really complex and totally out of whack. Any time I take a night off cooking and order takeaway, I’m always appalled at all the plastic bags, cutlery and containers. I wanted to address these problems by finding solutions that would make eating good food as easy as possible.
Give us the elevator pitch, what is Made by Tobie?
If you like good food and you’re a busy person, Made by Tobie is for you. There is nothing better than knowing that something wholesome and delicious awaits you when it’s time to eat. The fact that the range is environmentally friendly, from the packaging and ingredients to the cooking methods, is a bonus.
Explain like we’re five, how do you make it?
I cook and package every meal at our commercial kitchen in Alphington using produce from amazing local suppliers. Once packed and labelled our meals are snap-frozen. I think freezing food has had a bad rep because of the types of junky foods traditionally found in the supermarket freezer, but not only is freezing great for convenience, the process actually preserves nutrients and flavour. It’s also a solution to food wastage which is currently one of the world’s biggest climate and social issues.
What excites you about this project?
I’m having the time of my life building Made by Tobie. I get to use my skills and experience to put something positive out into the world that makes a difference to the planet and people’s lives. I love being in my kitchen, listening to music, making good food, and researching new techniques. Our customers are really loyal, excellent people, and keeping an open dialogue with them enables me to make changes and introduce new recipes as we go. I really can’t imagine anything I’d rather be doing right now.
What are the perfect conditions to enjoy Made by Tobie?
The beauty of Made by Tobie is the convenience. You can enjoy a delicious meal any time, any place, provided you have a fork and access to a microwave or stove. My wife takes one to work for lunch every day and loves having good food waiting for her in the freezer that’s ready to eat when I’m not around to cook. Some of our customers have different dietary requirements to their loved ones and don’t want to cook two separate meals. Some live solo and don’t want to cook proper meals every night. They are fabulous as they come and if you want to add a little extra we provide pro-tips for each meal, such as “add some fresh grated parmesan and a drizzle of EVOO” or “lashings of sriracha will turn up the heat on this dish”.
Is it here for a good time or a long time?
Hopefully a very long time! I started working on Made by Tobie during one of Melbourne’s COVID lockdowns, testing the delivered meals concept on friends and family. Everyone was so enthusiastic about it, it sort of took on a life of its own. Now we have our own commercial kitchen, and we’re constantly expanding the range, with larger protein meals on the cards in the next few months.
Where can I buy it?
Made by Tobie can be purchased exclusively at madebytobie.com, and orders are delivered weekly within a 30km radius of our Alphington kitchen.