What can I say, I’m a foodie! I usually try to start planning what I’m going to order for lunch around 10AM because I just never know what I want. With meal delivery services like Graze & Braise, I don’t even have to think about it. Ayaz provides healthy meals that are super filling and are great for anyone looking to make some changes to their eating habits. I’ve been loving the meals, and even our own ChicpeaJC team has enjoyed them!
If you’re like me and can’t always find the time to cook after work, Graze & Braise would be a great option. Just heat up a flavorful meal and you are good to go.
What’s your name?
What do you do?
I’m the owner and chef of Graze & Braise.
What’s Graze & Braise?
Graze & Braise is a gluten-free, all-paleo meal plan delivery to Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken, Union City, and West New York.
So school me – what is paleo?
Paleo is Paleolithic, which is basically a caveman diet. It’s a diet of a hunter and gatherer. It’s grass-fed meats, pasture-raised meats, poultry, pork. All proteins have to be grass-fed or pasture-raised, and free of antibiotics and hormones. As far as vegetables, it’s basically regularly harvested vegetables and we try to stay away from refined goods. There’s no rice, no flour, no beans or legumes, and no sugars – honey and maple syrup can be used as sweeteners – but it’s basically pure, honest whole foods.
How did you get into it?
I was always big on pure cooking, clean cooking, and using wholesome ingredients. I didn’t always cook paleo, but the way I cooked wasn’t too far off from paleo. There weren’t a lot of really good options that catered to the paleo community, the CrossFit community, the CKO community, or even people who want to eat casual paleo once in a while. I started tweaking recipes and trying to make foods that are paleo without compromising the taste of the food or quality of the ingredients. With tweaks here and there, I was able to come up with meals that were 100% paleo, 100% gluten-free, and that tasted just as good. I know it’s hard to compare cabbage noodles to actual spaghetti, or cabbage rice to actual rice! It’s a sacrifice you make when you choose to eat healthier, so as far as cutting back on carbs or potatoes, that’s a sacrifice. You can’t really replace the rice or pasta, but the proteins speak for themselves. I cook everything dairy-free. I do a chicken tikka masala that I think is just as good as the Indian version with yogurt and heavy cream.
And you feel better!
What about the convenience of these meals?
I know a lot of people have busy lives and don’t have time to sit at home and prepare their own meals, so I wanted people to have a convenient option for healthy meals. Basically, you order a meal plan that ranges from 5, 7, 10, or 14 meals. You can mix and match however you want with the options, and everything gets delivered to you all at once, all fresh. Whatever you don’t eat within two days, you pop in the freezer immediately and as you want to eat it throughout the week, you take it out the night before, put it in the refrigerator, let it thaw, and heat it in the microwave or on a stovetop. It’s super quick, super convenient, and the meals are nutrient-dense. We list every ingredient in every meal right on the box. It’s all on our website, too. We have the macros, the sugar, the carbs, the calories, everything.
What’s the average amount of calories?
We range from 300 to 400 per meal. We use ingredients like coconut cream, which have good fats.
And it’s filling!
Exactly. We also use avocado oil as our cooking oil instead of canola or vegetable oils. Even the high calorie stuff we use is all top quality stuff. More than focusing on calories and calorie counting, you should be focusing more on the ingredients going into our bodies. Our bodies process a calorie of carrot differently than it does a calorie of high fructose corn syrup. The calorie counts may be high, but you’re getting actual food your body will be able to digest and burn into energy.
When do people have to order the food?
Our delivery days are Sundays and Mondays. We have our cutoff on Fridays at 10PM. You can order anytime during the week, just order online from our website (grazeandbraise.com), select the meal plan, mix and match the foods, and select a time window that works for you – Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Monday morning, or Monday evening. It gets delivered to your door during the time you selected.
Awesome! So do you live in Jersey City?
I do live in Jersey City! I used to live in Bergen-Lafayette for about 6 years, and last year I moved up to the Heights on JFK. Even in that short time, I’ve seen Jersey City change and really like the food scene in Jersey City. I feel like it’s an opportunity for a lot of young aspiring chefs to get their meals and cuisines out there. I even think the way food is going is in a more delivery-based style as opposed to traditional sit-down restaurants. Now, with the convenience of deliveries, businesses don’t need storefronts to get their foods to a large audience in Hoboken and Jersey City.
What’s your favorite Jersey City hangout spot?
My go-to spot is Keyhole Bar. They have great drink prices, and it’s quiet in there. When I’m just going to meet a few friends, we just go to Keyhole. For football games, we go to HopScotch because that’s one of the only real sports bars in Jersey City. When we’re doing bar-hopping or eating, we cruise around, we’ll go to Talde for some food. I love Broa, it’s one of my favorites! We’ll just go from bar to bar, we’ll do Porta. They always have good music.
Nice! What’s next for you?
I’m focusing on growing Graze & Braise. I just want to get it out to as many people who can eat healthy as I can. As far as growing the business, I’d like to have stations in gyms where people can just grab frozen meals. Hopefully, I can grow and get them on store shelves. I do want to grow the business larger than what it is, but at this point, I’m just trying to get to as many customers as I can with my current model.
Are you going to stick to paleo foods?
I personally don’t only eat paleo, and I think you can eat healthy and still be able to eat rice, beans, flour, bread…
Exactly! There’s really good quality stuff, so it’s something I want to do. If I did that, I’d probably do it under a different brand, but it is something I’d do. Most of my customers aren’t paleo, they just want healthier options.
It’s convenient! I keep them in the fridge, grab it, and warm it up.
All of our meals are designed to hold this integrity through refrigeration. I recommend keeping them in the fridge for no more than 2 days, but they can last for a few days in the fridge. When the food goes bad, you’ll know!
Awesome! Anything else you’d like to say?
I’m just happy Jersey City and the people here are aware of what they’re eating and are into supporting small businesses. Jersey City and Hoboken are great examples of that. They’re the educated consumers, they want to know what they’re putting into their bodies, and I think we provide that so everything is basically guilt-free.