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Meet the Founder
What are your daily wellness non-negotiables?
I always start my day with a big glass of water and a hug from my two kids. Drinking water first thing in the morning is instantly energizing physically and mentally. After eating breakfast and dropping off my kids at school, I’ll go on a morning run or bike ride (sometimes to the Square Fare kitchen!) or squeeze in a pilates class later in the day.
As a French native, I’m all about food. While I enjoy decadent meals with friends, I don’t eat like that on a regular basis. Throughout the day, I make sure I eat food that gives me energy, focus, and makes me feel full and light on my feet. I’ll typically have a Square Fare meal for lunch and a family platter in the evening with my family. Everything is made fresh, utilizes high quality and flavorful ingredients and I love that my portions are based on my individual and my family needs. And it’s so easy: 2 mins in the microwave with no dishes to clean, which is convenient for our busy lives.
I go to bed before midnight, I need my sleep to be functional the next day!
Running your own business, especially a fresh food business, can be a 24/7 job. What are some ways that you make time for yourself? Do you have a favorite ritual or meal time?
Every day, I do something outside of work that makes me happy. It doesn’t need to be long or involved. It could be calling a friend, going out for dinner to check out a new spot, playing a game with the kids. If you’re doing something on your to-do list, it doesn’t count. It must be an activity that makes you plain happy. That keeps my batteries charged.
We try to have family dinner all together at least 4 times a week. Finding out about what everyone is up to, talking about what happened at school, etc. Those conversations are a welcome break and also an important connection time for the family. Growing up, that time was cherished. It was also an educational experience where I learned about what to eat, why and how. It taught me to appreciate the reasoning behind the dishes I was served even if I didn’t always like them at the time. It helped develop my palate. I’m trying to teach all of these things to my kids too.
Any advice for founders seeking to maintain a healthy lifestyle while going full steam ahead on building their companies? How do you find that balance?
Building a business is not easy. You go through highs, you go through lows. At the beginning, you may think it’s a race but, in reality, it’s a marathon. Surround yourself with people you can rely on and trust. Listen to your gut. Allow yourself a little bit of time off every day. Outsource whatever you can (unless doing these things brings you joy): your food, your laundry, etc. Stay focused on the things that will move the needle and that you only can handle. Laugh at least once a day (!).
Tell us about your ideal dinner.
As the founder of a food company, this is actually something I think about a lot. When I first started my company, I was solely focused on food as functional: whether healing, helping with weight loss, or whatever the case may be. But I quickly realized that’s not enough. Food is also about pleasure and connection and that helped shape what we do today. My ideal dinner is a meal that I enjoy and that also makes me feel good. From a flavor perspective, it’s about surprises, discovery, appreciating the individual ingredients and how they come together. It’s also a meal that is nourishing, well-balanced and after which I might want to take a stroll or simply wind down but without feeling weighed down or overly full. Finally, it’s about togetherness: it’s a moment with people you enjoy spending time with and with whom you share a culinary experience, fun conversations, a sense of belonging and ultimately memories that make you smile.
What are the kitchen staples that you would suggest to others?
My favorite kitchen staples are a nice extra virgin olive oil, lemons, limes, fresh herbs and a handful of spices. From there, you can make simple dishes burst with flavor. When I cook, I always cook from scratch. I will focus on getting high quality ingredients vs spending money on jarred containers or processed foods. You’ll taste the difference, it will be cheaper and you’ll feel better too (if only just by avoiding all the sugar, extra sodium and dubious ingredients that are often part of these products). At Square Fare, we make everything from scratch and like having fun when making our sauces. An interesting sauce or dressing makes all the difference in the dishes you create.
What's your favorite tool in the kitchen?
A good chef knife - hands down. It can get tedious to cut veggies or fruit. One good chef knife transforms that experience. When cutting veggies is almost effortless, it's a game changer. Cooking becomes more appealing, faster and safer. Chef knives are very versatile and can be used for cutting almost anything.
Square Fare & The Culinary World
How did you become interested in cooking, and how do you bring your food philosophy to life at Square Fare?
I worked in corporate environments my entire career (banking, startups, more traditional settings) and I had completely deprioritized my health. Nutrition was at the very bottom of my long list of to dos. Over time, I started paying for that: I was too thin, my nails were brittle, I felt bloated, I experienced fatigue, I was not regular. It got to a point where I passed out and doctors couldn’t tell me why - I was otherwise healthy. It’s not until covid hit and I made my own food that I felt a huge transformation: my energy levels were up, I got to a proper weight, my bloating was gone. When it was time to go back to the office, I started looking at food options that would be as good if not better than what I was doing for myself and couldn’t find anything I thought was reasonably priced, clean and high quality. That’s what prompted Square Fare. My first customers all had different needs, different starting points, different goals. That’s when I realized that nutrition should be personalized and that’s what I set out to do - while making food people would look forward to eating. Clients start off by taking our quiz or come through recommendations from their Registered Dietitian (we work a lot with The Lanby’s Wellness Advisors who are so knowledgeable and also a great advocate for members). We use that information to figure out what are the calories, macros, nutrients they might need, and what food preferences they have. From there, we work with a personal chef to create weekly menus which we customize for each client and then ultimately tailor each meal to their exact needs. The results are incredible: clients shed excess weight, their skin clears up, they report being in a better mood, having more focus and more.
How do you think about menu engineering at Square Fare in order to deliver high quality prepared foods with maximum personalization for your customers?
Our menu is crafted following a handful of rules: Our meals are plant-forward - not necessarily vegetarian but veggies do play a starring role -, rich in lean proteins and we take it easy on the starch. We’re not a diet fad. On the contrary, we're all about balance and making sure our meals give access to a wide array of nutrients. To achieve this, we change the menu weekly, showcase a variety of ingredients and flavors, and incorporate seasonal ingredients. We opt for locally-grown and organic produce whenever we can. Our goal is meals that make you feel good and are also a fun experience to savor.
So how do we personalize our meals for each client? Here’s our secret: each one of our meals has “meat” (whether animal or plant-based protein), veggies, a starch and a sauce. For each of our clients’ dishes, we calculate the exact grammage for each so that each client gets exactly what they need to transform their body. We then communicate these specs to our chef who will portion meals accordingly. We also communicate any substitutions / allergies / omissions needed (and account for these in our calculations too!).
What are the essential components in putting together a perfect meal prep recipe?
When I work on the menu with the chef, we always start with flavor profiles or an anchor ingredient. We might want to make a taco dish or to feature seasonal or interesting ingredients like fennel or mango. From there, we build out a meal with 4 components: “meat” (whether meat or plant-based), “veggies” (non starchy vegetables), starch (can be veggies like potatoes or a starch like pasta) and sauce. Our meals are typically veggies-heavy and low in starch because we make sure clients get enough fiber and don’t exceed the amount of carbs they need.
The healthy food space is constantly evolving. What do you see next for Square Fare?
I’m seeing more and more buzz on nutrition and that’s exciting. Nutrition is no longer a forgotten science, it’s coming to the forefront and its biohacking capabilities are astounding. As Square Fare grows, I’m excited to help educate people on what it means to eat healthy and how to do that. I’m also very interested in sponsoring advanced research in nutrition. I’m personally curious about functional medicine and to find ways to incorporate those learnings into our food.
If you could only choose one Square Fare menu item to eat every day, which would it be?
Ah, but our menu changes weekly! I would opt for the Square Fare lunch - whatever is on the menu that week. I know it’ll taste great, make me feel good and be ready in 2 mins. When handling a busy day, that’s exactly the kind of support I look for!
What’s the most gratifying feedback someone has given you about Square Fare?
“You guys are healing lives.” This is a text I got from one of my clients early on and it has meant the world to me. That we are headed on the right track, that we are having a positive impact, that our service is working and our clients can see it. My mission is for all of my clients to feel that way.
If you're curious to learn more about The Lanby, book a free consult call and we'll chat about how The Lanby can be your personalized long term health and wellness partner.
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