Correction: A previous version of this story stated the secone store location was 12,000 square feet and not the factual 1,200 square feet.
After working for years as the executive chef at major local employers like BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and Volkswagen, Tim Mulderink decided in 2011 to start his own business with his wife, Shelley, to offer healthy, easier meals for consumers to enjoy at home.
Six years after starting The Chef and His Wife— and a year and a half after opening the company's first storefront in Hixson — Mulderink opened a second store location Tuesday in a 1,200-square-foot storefront at 7315 Lee Highway to continue to grow his carryout business.
"We've seen a tremendous demand for healthy, comfort foods that people can pick up and prepare quickly to have a great meal at home," he said. "We see a lot of interest among seniors who can no longer cook, empty nesters who want a healthy choice to a fast-food restaurant, and busy families who often don't have the time for cook-from-scratch meals."
Mulderink said having the convenience of another storefront to serve Ooltewah, East Brainerd and Cleveland, Tenn., at the new storefront should boost his business. He is also looking for another site to serve the North Shore area.
From the start of their venture cooking meals for friends and neighbors out of their own kitchen, the Mulderinks initially moved their commissary into the church kitchen at Silverdale Cumberland Presbyterian Church on Bonny Oaks and later moved to their own commissary in Hixson at 6849 Prestige Lane.
"While our Hixson site is a tremendous production facility, we realized that in the process of moving, we lost a lot of our original footprint on this side of the river," Mulderink said. "This satellite store should help us serve another key part of our community."
Most of the food orders sold at The Chef and his Wife are picked up as people head home from work, although the company does provide delivery of food on Saturday for a $15 fee (or free for orders of more than $100).
"Our meals are all fully cooked from unprocessed ingredients and we don't deep fry — we bake, broil, steam or grill," Mulderink said. "So our foods are a healthier option."
Items from The Chef and His Wife are portioned into containers that include two sodium-controlled, 450-calorie-or-less servings, then frozen.
The Chef and His Wife was picked as the Best of the Best for carryout eatery in Chattanooga this year by readers of the Times Free Press. Mulderink developed his business plan through the Co. Starters class offered by the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga.
Mulderink said he and his staff of nearly a dozen full- and part-time workers typically prepare nearly 1,000 meals a week, including about 20 different entrees, including its signature chicken pot pie, and four flavors of take-and-bake pizza. Most of the entrees sell from $6.99 to $9.99 each.
The Chef and His Wife also prepares a variety of desserts, salads and a line of pimiento cheese, which the Mulderinks are also selling at 22 area Food City locations. The company sells both carryout meals and does catering for special events. Additionally, The Chef and His Wife often sell their food at the Chattanooga Market and other farmers' markets.
"We're trying to build our brand and business in a variety of ways and hope to continue to grow," Mulderink said.
Contact Dave Flessner at email@example.com or at 423-757-6340.