CONCORD (CBS) – Benjamin Peacock was the executive chef at Lily P’s in Cambridge before the coronavirus forced the restaurant to shut down.
“We thought it was going to be a quick 2, 3 weeks max and then it really started to sink in that it was going to be a lot longer than that. I wasn’t personally scared for myself, but more so scared for my employees and other people I was working with,” he told WBZ-TV.
Peacock knew he needed to do something to make good use of his time, so he and former co-worker Kelsey Bradley started Peacock Market and Meals.
“We kind of did it out of necessity, of staying sane during these times. I’m used to working 12-15 hours a day and here I am finding myself with all of this time on my hands. I needed to find something to do. I’m good at cooking, I know I can do that. Food makes people happy and I knew it would be challenging for people to cook for themselves, so I decided along with Kelsey to start trying do some meals for a couple small families,” he said.
Peacock and Bradley did some trial runs with close friends and co-workers and things took off from there. The couple now does about 150 meals a week.
Chef Peacock cooks up restaurant-inspired plates which include dessert and wine pairings. In the market, customers can buy salad dressing, ice tea kits and the extremely popular Benny’s Buns. The duo also makes it a point to use local, organic ingredients in an effort to support local farmers.
“It’s a small market focused on Ben and I’s creations and the star is Benny’s Buns. We want to use the meals to get these other products in people’s hands to show them that we have this little market. We also want to use the market to eventually showcase other people in the area,” said Bradley.
Peacock recently learned he we will not be hired back as executive chef at Lilly P’s, and is hoping Peacock Market and Meals is here to stay, long after the pandemic is over.
“We want to be able to keep this going, I am not going back to my job. I’ve been in the restaurant industry my whole life, cooking forever. I almost feel like this is going to be the new way of food. For at least a little while, we need to adapt and change. It’s fun and exciting,” Peacock explained to WBZ.
“We’re having a lot of fun with this and were finding that people are really grateful and excited about it. We want it to be inspiring for other chefs who are going through what Ben is going through in the beginning and now not having a job to go back to. There are other options out there and people are excited to support you,” Bradley added.
To order meals or shop at the market visit Peacock Market and Meals website and enroll in the weekly menu where you can fill out an order form. Deliveries are available to the Greater Boston area or customers can pick-up in Concord.