We sat down with Chef Jennifer Scism, former New York City restauranteur, Iron Chef winner and co-founder of Good To-Go dehydrated gourmet meals, to find out what her secret is to a good meal on the trail. The brand is expanding its production facility to meet demand after just two years on the market, and can currently be found in 350 outdoor shops nationwide.
Has your approach to backpacking food changed in the last year since you’ve experienced such strong growth?
We’re still creating and producing meals just the way I did when I made “Jen’s Dehydrated Food” for the multi-day hikes David (husband and Good To-Go co-founder) and I would go on.
I want everyone who tries our meals to be wowed. I want to beat their past expectations of trail food and make them ask “how could this come from a bag?” So my approach to great tasting food, wholesome ingredients, and quality has not changed one bit.
What has changed would be my approach to, how do I make so much food for so many people in a tiny yellow cape house in Kittery, Maine? The great thing about this approach is that we are now building an addition that should be finished in May. This will make it possible for us to increase our production and keep the quality under our watchful eyes. I’ve also been able to develop more recipes.
What’s in your backpacking kitchen? What products do you love to cook your meals with?
When I head out on the trail I think light. I hate carrying too much weight…thus, Good To-Go. I fell in love with Squishy bowls & cups several years back. And after breaking multiple plastic sporks, we invested in titanium sporks, best investment. They don’t break, they’re light and snazzy looking. Lastly, my Jetboil. I never leave home without it. I wish you could bring them on planes, I would be so psyched to have a bowl of hot Pad Thai flying cross country rather than a sad bag of pretzels.
As a chef approaching backpacking meals, what’s your greatest triumph? Your greatest frustration?
My greatest triumph is when I feel I’ve gotten as close to the actual recipe I’m working on that I possibly can. It’s tricky developing meals that are completely dehydrated, shelf stable and most importantly, taste like it could come from a restaurant kitchen. I’m proud that our meals are good for you without ingredients that you wouldn’t cook with at home.
My greatest frustration — not being able to dehydrate Chinese Soup Dumplings, sushi, sashimi, or a rare dry aged steak. I guess I’ll have to save those meals once I’ve finished my wilderness adventure!