January 13th, 2012
Awesome Food is happy to announce its fourth microgrant of $1,000 has been awarded to Randwiches, which provides handcrafted “surprise” sandwiches to patrons. The project is among the nearly 800 projects from around the world who have applied for grants from Awesome Food, a chapter of the Awesome Foundation which made its first micro-grant award in October.
Randwiches is a new venture by Jenn de la Vega and Jeff Stockton of Escoffiette, who aim to make boring sandwiches a thing of the past by delivering random sandwiches to patrons. While ordinary sandwich deliveries take specific orders about what kind of sandwich you want, and how you’d like it, Randwiches brings a surprise sandwich, handcrafted and full of unique flavors. The service delivered its first sandwich in New York City in October 2011, and so far have served up 360 sandwiches, with 2 or 3 delivery days per week.
“Part of what makes the Slow Food movement so successful is it’s ultra accessible entry points: conviviality, taste and provenance. Randwiches picks up on these,” said Barry A. Martin, an Awesome Food trustee and Principal at Hypenotic, a communications design firm based in Toronto. He describes Randwiches as “inherently social, delicious and made with a care for craft.”
“Randwiches introduce new food combinations by not giving people a choice in the matter,” De la Vega explained. “Randwiches provide a common ground despite the surprise. I’ve seen people that don’t know each other discussing their Randwiches over Twitter and experiencing lunch in a different way. I respect dietary restrictions while challenging friends to try new things.”
So far, Randwiches has delivered sandwiches with ingredients as interesting as meat bought from a mobster, lavender bechamel, homemade jalapeno mustard, homemade lemongrass strawberry jam, duck salami, and locally made maple oat bread — all just since October!
De la Vega is passionate about making lunch fun. She says, “NY delis tend to hover closely to the classics and most ingredients in bodegas have been sitting under glass for quite some time. Lunch, or rather, sandwiches in general can be so much more than that. On the flip side, better or artisanal ingredients tend to drive the price of a sandwich up to $12 to $15 dollars. Fresh, new food experiences should not be prohibitively priced.”
Randwiches are hand-delivered by de la Vega, but she accepts no tips, and asks only for some help with word-of-mouth advertising. Her customers are happy to oblige and have shared comments calling her sandwiches ‘delicious’, ‘fun’, and ‘amazing’, over and over again.
Repeat customer Diego Garcia, who works near Penn Station, says he’s hooked, and he’s gotten some of his “friends and coworkers hooked on Randwiches as well. There’s something exciting about ordering ahead of time and waiting for a day or two days, not knowing what you’re going to receive, and then getting a bag with the ingredients written on it. It’s fun to not know at all, and then to know everything that went into the meal.”
Future plans for Randwiches and the Awesome Food grant include food safety courses as well as temporary event permits for two people. De la Vega and Stockton have always wanted “a deli slicer for all of our home-cured bacon and meats” as well as greener packaging and maybe even commercial kitchen space. They’re excited about moving to other cities and continuing to make sandwiches more fun, while staying affordable. They’re committed to keeping things random. In the works is a random sandwich ingredient generator!