Pre-fab answers to the dreaded dinner question
KILILEO GARRETT and Cheyenne Forbes-Roberts are bringing a Dream Dinners
meal assembly franchise to Hawaii. Specifically to Niu Valley.
The Washington state-based company has appeared on the Food Network and in women's magazines, and it won an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for 2006.
Dream Dinners is for moms who cringe daily at the dreaded question. You know the one: "What's for dinner?"
It's also for dads who can't cook, busy working couples, empty-nesters -- and probably lots of other people.
Customers sign up with the company and choose entrees online, which will determine the price they pay, and then head off to Dream Dinners for an assembly session.
Knife skills are not necessary, as all the chopping and prepping is already done, Garrett said. "Cheyenne is a foodie. She's great in the kitchen ... where I never was a good cook."
Customers need only bring a cooler or other container in which to cart home their dinners.
Dream Dinner diners don aprons, receive their lists of entrees and step-by-step instructions. Disposable baking dishes, foil, plastic wrap and zip-top bags are included in the price. However, for those who want a more homey presentation, or to front that they made the dish themselves, customers can also bring their own baking dishes.
Stickers with heating instructions and serving suggestions are placed on the take-home meals.
Medium entrees hold three portions while the large size feeds six.
Dinners will cost about $4.50 per serving, depending on the entrees chosen, Garrett said.
A national distributor supplies the food to ensure consistency, but Garrett says that doesn't mean local grocery stores and farmers will lose customers.
A Kamehameha Schools graduate, she wants to promote local vendors and farmers with suggestion stickers that say "serve with Nalo Greens," for example.
Garrett used to work at Hawaiian Airlines and Forbes-Roberts worked in human resources, but they have been stay-at-home moms for the past few years and met through their sons, who are best friends. Personal investors helped get the business off the ground.
Hawaii's Dream Dinners will first offer five assembly sessions a week. "As the sessions start to fill up, we'll add more," Garrett said. The menu, calendar and pricing should be posted on the company's Web site next week.
The pair has been working to bring their Dream Dinners dream to fruition for about a year and a half, since they first heard about it from another girlfriend, Garrett said.
The grand opening is a month away, on Sept. 28.
Herb-crusted flank steaks will be given to the first 100 guests, and those who sign up for sessions will be entered in a freezer giveaway.
Hawaii's Dream Dinner is in the old Domino's Pizza space at Niu Valley Shopping Center at 549 Halemaumau St.
"The core idea of (Dream Dinners) is to get families around the dinner table three nights a week ... (when) you're going to have something ready to go without the hassle or the headache." Garrett said.
Unless families eat one meal every night.
"That's going to be my family," Garrett said. "We're going to be having Dream Dinners every night of the week, and why not, it's better than my cooking," she laughed.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com