How Cook! Founder, Nona Lim, Dishes Up Success

[caption id="attachment_311" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Nona invited me to a food, wine, and music event in Napa. I have the best friends!"][/caption]

Nona Lim started Cook!, as a home delivery service providing ready-to-cook organic meals and cleanse programs to the San Francisco Bay Area. Now she's got fresh soups in Whole Foods and other luxury grocery stores, and she's not stopping there! We met at Ladies Who Launch, and boy, has she! Here's the scoop on my delightful and dedicated friend:

SK: Your food is always so colorful and delicious! Do you pay attention to color as much as flavor when you cook?
Nona: Definitely. I think having as many senses stimulated as possible makes for a better culinary experience and a tastier meal. It is important to look at how the flavors go together, the colors, the smell, and even the texture.

SK: What are you favorite food colors?
Nona: I love green - reminds me I'm doing something good for my body. Other than that, it is all about having variety and as many colors as possible. Interestingly enough, the more colors there are, the healthier the food tends to be (and that’s assuming we are talking about all natural colors from the raw ingredients)

SK: Do you have a favorite food or dish right now?
Nona: Stuffed dolmas. I just came back from Istanbul and absolutely love the cuisine there. Lots of olive oil, and lots of great spices. I learned how to make dolmas (vine leaves with rice) and I just love them.

SK: What influences your cooking more- your travels or roots in your home country?
Nona: I'd say it's fairly equal but I am definitely a fan of all sorts of Asian cuisine. I'm traveling a lot these days and am always picking up new tips and ideas to bring back - it's always fun to create a new spin on something old. Our weekly Real Delicious menu is a good reflection of the diversity of flavors.

SK: Your background is in marketing and managing projects- how did you come to creating such an innovative company based on healthy meals?
Nona: I identified a need and created a business as the solution. When I came to the States, I didn't see many options for busy people who want to eat well but don't have time to cook. Eating out can't always be the answer when you don't have time to cook. I wanted to offer people the ability to have fresh ingredients and prepare delicious meals at home in not a lot of time.

SK: What would tell people who are thinking about starting their own business?
Nona: You just have to go for it. Take the first step and then the next one. Murphy’s law is almost a constant in any small business. As long as you have a good attitude about it, most problems can be solved. And if things don’t work, be responsive and make the right changes.

SK: What are you working on now?
Nona: I'm currently working on expanding the retail side of Cook! We have our soups now in Whole Foods (the refrigerator section) and many other great local stores such as Rainbow Grocery, and Berkeley Bowl.  It's proving to be the most challenge and exciting all at the same time. The biggest challenge is trying to make these soups on a larger scale without compromising the quality of the products – something that is almost unheard of in the food manufacturing space.

[caption id="attachment_316" align="alignleft" width="160" caption="Look for Nona's label at Whole Foods and other fine grocers, or get delivery details at"][/caption]

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