Roasted salmon with apples and maple sauce; stuffed peppers with rice, pine nuts, parsley, mint and basil; and wild rice and quinoa are just some of the items on the menu at new Greenpoint eatery, Food to Stay, where chef Matan Ben Zvi is cooking up Indian/Pakistani, Middle Eastern, Seafood, Soul Food, Vegan and Vegetarian dishes, while leaving the ambience to his customers.
A recent transplant from Israel, with nearly a decade in the restaurant industry – from managing restaurants and bars, to working as a personal chef to catering large events, Ben Zvi developed the idea for a home-cooked meal delivery service two years ago, but it wasn’t until moving to Greenpoint – with its influx of new young families, and long-hour working entrepreneurs – that he was able to bring his idea to life.
“I really enjoy eating at home and I know a lot of other people here do as well,” said Ben Zvi. “It’s nice to go out from time to time, but for me the best experience is always eating with the people you love. And it’s not like I make an industrial amount of food, so there’s always a personal touch with my food. It’s healthy and organic.”
Ben Zvi moved to Greenpoint when his girlfriend decided to pursue her studies in the City. He’d been following his twin interests in music and food, when upon the encouragement of a neighbor, he launched Food to Stay.
Ben Zvi makes up for a lack of formal cooking training, relying on the lessons of a long heritage of talented chefs, including his grandmother, mother and stepmother, each of whom infused him with a taste from her unique regional background, whether Eastern European or Mediterranean, and all of whom informed his taste and instilled a love for cooking and serving food.
At present, Ben Zvi receives orders – soup, salad, main, side dish and salad, from three to four clients each week. Most feed a family of four for three meals. All the food is prepared at his Greenpoint apartment.
For now, Ben Zvi says he’s happy to have started an independent business in a neighborhood that thrives on individual creativity and isn’t in a rush to think about the future just yet.
“It’s not like Seamless where you don’t know who is making your food,” said Ben Zvi. “I enjoy the fact that you get to make a personal connection with people. I believe in constant slow work in order to reach bigger goals, and I’m in no hurry just yet.”
For a taste of Food to Stay, visit http://www.foodtostay.net/ Ben Zvi will also provide a taste of his food at the PS 84 Fundraiser, Saturday, March 21, 7-10 p.m., at Warsaw, 261 Driggs Avenue.