Recently, my Seattle Foodie Podcast co-host Nelson Lau and I visited the Gourmondo headquarters in South Park. We had a chance to tour the facility, meet workers, try food, and interview founder/CEO Alissa Leinonen.
Gourmondo began as a small café in Pike Place Market nearly 20 years ago. They expanded to offer full-service event catering, a retail line of salad dressings, and 10 corporate cafés in the area. It is the longest running, locally owned boxed lunch company in Seattle.
Gourmondo regularly partners with local non-profits to support the needs of the community. An example of this is The Giving Box where a portion of the proceeds from each lunch is given to Lunchdebt.org to ensure all students in Washington can afford school meals. The Chef’s Special in the box is the turkey bacon sandwich – roasted turkey, smoked cheddar, bacon, lettuce, and chipotle mayo on rustic sourdough. Along with the sandwich, you get a drink, chips, dessert, and mixed green salad with dried cherries and balsamic vinaigrette. All of the dressings at Gourmondo are made in house!!!
On the tour, we got to meet and see workers in action. Alissa believes in work-life balance and workers are home in time to pick their kids up from school. Each day, staff stop production and have a family meal together. While we were there, we saw some leftover balloons and decorations from a party a few days before. There was so much energy!
Gourmondo is about details. I’m a huge fan of their cutlery boxes and coffee service boxes. They transport easily and open up into very practical trays where people can grab what they need. That’s quite a contrast to a paper bag full of forks that I turn upside down in a coffee cup for people to grab. Gourmondo offers selections of pastries, desserts, breakfast bites and more!
The catering options are delicious! The sweet corn risotto cakes with shiitake mushrooms was one of my favorites! The risotto had a bit of a crust to it and I’m a huge mushroom fan – it fulfills my most savory impulses! It is a great size and easy to eat!
The roasted potatoes stuffed with manchego cheese was comforting. It reminded me of a tiny, elevated baked potato. They had a bit of bacon and herbs on them as well. I could have eaten many more of these! Some other things we tried include sweet pepper glazed pork belly skewers and rice cakes topped with seasoned tofu.
Gourmondo offers sandwiches as a boxed lunch option but they also offer dreamy salads and other entrees. My favorite salad is the northwest tabbouleh – parsley, mint, bulgur wheat, cucumbers, dried cranberries, butternut squash, walnuts, citrus zest and a lemony dressing. This was very refreshing and had many interesting flavors and textures. Often, salads bore me but I loved this!!!
One of my favorite sandwich options is a simple parisan. It’s a baguette filled with double creme brie cheese and crisp green apple. It’s easy to eat and lighter so I don’t get sluggish from eating a huge sandwich.
In terms of entrees, the mesquite salmon is a great choice! I would love to get a boxed lunch like this at my next event!!!
I appreciate the opportunity to visit Gourmondo and chat with Alissa Leinonen. Check them out for your meeting and catering needs. To hear our podcast interview with her, click here.