With passions for both food and fitness, chef Dennis Peckham knew he had to design a business that would make sense for his lifestyle. Along with his wife, Dariya, they created Fraiche Sheet Foods, an on-demand and health-focused meal delivery service based in Vancouver.
Armed with years of fine dining experience in esteemed kitchens in Vancouver like at the storied Lumiere, and in the U.S., including Napa’s iconic French Laundry, Peckham is well-versed in high-level technique, flavour profiles, and working with the best ingredients.
But so much of what Peckham was cooking was bogged down in big calorie counts, lots of “deglaze with white wine, mount with butter,” recipes, as he recalls via telephone.
Peckham had evolved in his off-duty life to embrace competitive fitness, but he wanted to fuel his body and his training with foods he could still be excited to eat. “I can’t do just plain food,” he explains.
So Peckham turned to creating healthy, fresh, delicious dishes that were still interesting, melding the two passions for health and fitness and cooking together. “This is the kind of food that I want to do,” he emphasizes.
Working with whole foods, healthy fats, select carbs, vegetables, and plant-based or animal proteins, Peckham creates meals that offer a mix of components based on individual goals and body types. Vibrant Albacore tuna poke bowls are studded with fresh mango and edamame, glazed chicken and fresh veggies nestle on rice noodles, or seared tempeh teams up with chickpeas and avocado
Those meals are tailored to each client as needed, for example gluten-free or vegan, and one branch of the business focuses on meals for athletes and trainers. All of the orders are done online, and because Fraiche Sheet takes the orders in advance, there’s no wasted product as ingredients are sourced based on demand.
Peckham himself does almost all the cooking, while Dariya steps in to help plate and to handle the administrative duties. Accustomed to working in efficient and orderly high-end kitchens, Peckham says he’s happiest cooking quietly and on his own in the commissary space at YVR Prep in Burnaby, doing so often late into the night, while during the day he gets orders out to clients, and fits in his workouts–he’s getting ready to go back into training for competition.
A third branch of Fraiche Sheet focuses on catering and special events, all customizable and often a lot of fun to cook and eat. They can do breakfast, lunch, boxed lunches, cocktail party canapes, and dinners, from Protein Pancakes to juicy fully-loaded cheeseburgers.
This is where you’ll see more indulgent foods coming out of their kitchen for clients, though don’t discount Peckham finding a way to make an appealing healthy burger-inspired meal for day-to-day offerings.
His “cheat day” eats often involve Peckham’s favourite food: ice cream. That’s not on the menu at Fraiche Sheet, but you’ll still find fun and creative dishes packed with nutrients and colours–all of which have nutritional information loaded into the MyFitnessPal app, for those tracking their intake. Soon, too, you may find their foods pre-packaged and available for purchase through office building mobile marketplaces and possibly even grocery stores, all part of the plan to grow Fraiche Sheet Foods in the coming months and years.
It’s a business that Peckham takes really personally; he and Dariya take pride in having not borrowed any money to launch the business, and they own all the equipment, names, vehicles they use to run Fraiche Sheet.
The mission of Fraiche Sheet is also one Peckham takes to heart. Because he knows firsthand the benefits of eating well, both mentally and physically, he hopes to be able to help others in Vancouver find that well-being for themselves. He loves meeting his clients when he does deliveries, and engaging with them, offering a unique personal touch to the biz.
“We talked for so long about doing our own thing,” explains Peckham, noting that it was a tragic accident with the family dog that really had the couple thinking “life is too short” to not be doing what they want to be doing. “We’re having fun with it, and having fun with the food.”