By Annika Tomlin | May 27, 2021
As a child, Stacey Weber cooked with her grandmother. Little did she know, her passion for cooking would spawn an almost 15-year culinary career. That includes her dining service, Eat, in Phoenix.
“I never went to culinary school. I always just had a passion for food,” Weber says. “My family was always very food-oriented.
“I just have the most vivid memories with my grandmother baking these elaborate desserts, making homemade dinner every night and making homemade pasta. It just resonated with me, unknowing at the time.”
Eat focuses on approachable comfort food with a healthy flare using local, organic and seasonal ingredients. Weber offers prepared meals, catering and personal chef services.
Weber’s deadline for prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner meals is 8 a.m. Thursdays for pickup or delivery Sundays or Mondays.
One of the top-selling items on the menu is “Stacey’s Famous” chicken and rice enchiladas ($15).
“I jokingly named them Stacey’s Famous chicken enchiladas,” Weber says. “I would never put my name on something and call something famous. It was literally a joke.”
Additional entrees include dairy-free/gluten-free turkey veggie meatballs with spaghetti ($13), carnitas keto bowl ($15) and vegan and gluten-free four-cheese ravioli ($12).
“We have these peanut butter power balls ($5) that are just the best snack,” Weber adds. “I know you see them all over the place, but somehow — you know, obviously, my opinion is slightly biased — but I think they are the best ones that I have ever had.”
Weber adds that some returning customers buy 10 to 12 boxes of peanut butter power balls at a time.
“Our chicken noodle soup is a second top seller,” Weber adds.
“We put gluten-free noodles in it, so I feel like people just love it. We make all of our stock from scratch. We save all of our vegetable scraps from the kitchen when we make other things, and we get chicken bones, so it’s a really nice broth.”
How it all started
Weber majored in communications and marketing at Boise State University and worked in sales before realizing it didn’t fulfill her creative needs.
“Everyone was always telling me to get into sales because you know ‘your personality type would do so well,’” Weber says. “I did get a couple jobs in sales and hated it so much. Turns out I’m really bad at asking people to buy things.”
By late 2006, Weber created a business plan involving cooking. She became an in-home chef for families “who needed healthy and accessible meals.”
“I worked in a really upscale boutique, and I had a feeling that, by working, I would get introduced to the clientele who would want a chef in their home,” Weber says. “It worked out and I found a couple clients just naturally, and I worked part time doing it.”
As her clientele list grew, she added catering. The next step was to find a building.
“Our catering was getting busy, and no longer did it make sense prepping and working out of our clients’ homes,” she says.
Eat opened as a grab-and-go for Weber’s healthy items, and it grew like “wildfire,” according to Weber.
“Two years ago, we were so busy catering on Christmas that I had to make the decision to transition from our grab-and-go to an online preorder because we were literally busting at the seams in the kitchen,” Weber says.
“Honestly, I was spending so much money on good, quality food to not know what people were going to buy day in and day out. It was just a waste and not in line with my sort of philosophies. I would say I’m a granola or hippie at heart, and between the use of plastic and containers it just didn’t align. I decided to transition to this online preorder meal service. COVID happened and everything went to (takeout meals), so it was perfect timing.”
She bolstered her business by connecting with the Arizona Cardinals and created their nutritional services department.
“I developed a culinary staff and menu for the team, the players and the corporate staff,” Weber says. “It was something I never would have expected at this point in time in my story. It was really rewarding to do that for them.”
For her preorder service, Weber adds weekly specials online and updates the menu with seasonal fruits and vegetables. In addition, Weber creates menus for holidays like Mother’s Day.
“Obviously for mothers, it’s a really nice gift to either order the food or to create a beautiful spread that you don’t really have to work that hard for,” Weber says.
“I’ve had kids come in and buy meals for their mom. It’s just a fun and cool way to celebrate with family and friends without slaving away in the kitchen the whole time. Seriously, I’m just a girl who really likes to cook and works her butt off. I turned a hobby and a love for food into a really cool business.”
Eat by Stacey Weber
4740 E. Shea Boulevard, Suite 109, Phoenix