Meet the Northampton friends hoping to transform the takeaway food market with home-cooked meals

Platform connecting at-home chefs with hungry customers was born during the coronavirus pandemic

By Jack Duggan
Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 12:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 12:03 pm

Two friends from Northampton hope to transform the takeaway market with their new coronavirus-born platform connecting home cooks with hungry customers.

Dee Perera and Mehmet Kocaman have launched GRUBie for people who want a home-cooked meal delivered to their door at the press of a button.

They have had the idea of creating a JustEat-style service for the public to sell their food for a while but the pandemic gave them the push to turn it into a reality.

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A selection of food from home cooks on GRUBie: Irritating Goods (left), Sally Eats (top right) and Snoring Cat Cooks (bottom right)

Dee said: “GRUBie just makes perfect sense to us.

"The UK is such a melting pot of so many different cultures and backgrounds but, once you get out of the big cities, it isn’t represented in the food – especially takeaways – on offer.

"What’s more, the takeaways that are often available to you when travelling around the country are heavy on fried foods and unhealthy choices.

"When creating GRUBie, we wanted to provide a platform that would combat this and showcase not only how amazing different foods that are being cooked in home kitchens every day across the UK are, but give people a healthier choice when ordering food online."

The landing page of GRUBie's website

Dee and Mehmet, who met while working at the same company in the automotive industry, found it a struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle while working and travelling around the UK on business trips.

While most hotels provided a gym, the variety of takeaways available just did not fit into their diet plans - all they wanted was honest and simple home-cooked food.

When Dee lost his job because of Covid-19, he began to look into people’s changing behaviours when it came to food and the move towards home cooking and ‘treat’ deliveries.

The Sri Lankan-native saw that people were still spending money on food but in a new way as both the retail and hospitality landscapes changed.

With this new insight, coupled with a previous idea that Dee had begun to develop for meal deliveries to offices, the idea for a platform which would allow people to sell delicious home-cooked food was born.

To get some practical experience, Dee started his own home-cooked food business, Nandi’s Kitchen, so he could experience all the realities – both good and bad – that a potential provider would face.

Mehmet, whose family ran a takeaway business and has his own healthy dessert businesses, was brought in to found GRUBie, which originally started life as Home Grub.

From there, they have been building the app and the website and sourcing hundreds of 'home cooks from across the UK in order to give people access to healthy, home-cooked food as well as different cuisines they may not have experienced before.

Celebrating the diversity of the different cultures and cuisines in the UK, providers include Italian pizza and pasta, Sri Lankan dishes, vegan cooking, Mauritian and Caribbean fusion, and a taste of Nigeria, to name a few.

All 'home cooks' are required to be council-registered and, following the pandemic, meet a minimum Food Standards Authority rating of three stars to join.

GRUBie will be launching in mid-January 2021 and customers will be able to collect their orders or have them delivered by the cooks or a third-party delivery service.

Dee said: “We have been overwhelmed with the positive response from the GRUBie cooks who have signed up so far and are thrilled to be launching with so many incredible registered cooks across the UK.

"We can’t wait to give people a taste of what GRUBie has to offer.”