“All the momentous events in life revolve around food.” Or so says Wendy McGuire, a Coronado resident, foodie and retired colonel of the Army reserve. And to prove her point, she founded the local catering company known as Ganosh Gourmet to feed our community, making food one very memorable experience.
McGuire, a self-taught chef, started Ganosh Gourmet a little over a year ago, in January 2010. After spending 18 months in Kuwait as a colonel in the Army reserve, she was eager to cook food made from scratch.
“We were in this country with fabulous food, but we weren’t allowed to eat it,” said McGuire of her time overseas. “The food for the military was cooked here in the United States and frozen and shipped over there.”
Surprisingly enough, while the military promotes certain healthy habits, eating right isn’t one of them.
“It’s one of the few professions left that if you’re overweight, you’re kicked out,” McGuire said. “One of the little dirty secrets in the army that’s just now getting some spotlight shone on it is that there are horrible eating disorders as a result of these weight restrictions.”
McGuire said that, due to both convenience and lack of knowledge in healthy eating, soldiers went into the mess hall or took advantage of the fast food concessions that are on base.
That all changed when McGuire started making crockpot inventions, with everyone throwing in a little something. She also concocted her famous Moroccan carrot salad while deployed, made from fresh carrots (as the salad bar on base was the only available fresh fare) and spices her mother had shipped over to her—a popular item that remains on her catering menu today.
“People were so happy to have something made fresh,” McGuire said. “And that’s where I came up with my slogan [for Ganosh Gourmet] ‘Turning Hunger Into Happiness.’”
Knowing what it’s like to be a working mom with a family of five to feed, Mcguire wanted to have a place where people could go pick up the phone or send an email and with the push of a button, their food was ordered, paid for, and delivered for free.
“[I wanted to produce] food people would cook for themselves if they had the time and talent,” McGuire said. “And food that’s healthy for them. And by healthy, I mean made from scratch.”
McGuire cooks all of her food from a small kitchen she rents in El Cajon. She, along with three other cooks, produces meals for Nado natives three times per week—every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, a service she hopes to one day expand.
Everything is made from scratch, including their chicken broth. Local farmers and businesses, like our own , and Specialty Produce, contribute to Ganosh’s ingredients, as well as fresh and vegetables from McGuire’s own backyard.
Her company’s list of meals ranges from Thai green curry and Mediterranean pasta to Spanish-influenced tortillas and Italian-style kraut. McGuire doesn’t discriminate. Are you a vegetarian? More than half of her menu can accommodate you. Can’t stomach gluten? That’s OK, too!
“If we have someone who has a low-sodium diet, then they just tell me,” McGuire said. “I just don’t add salt to what I make for them. And we do have a gluten-free option, just not for everything.”
Aside from the options-for-all and made-from-scratch dishes that “nobody else in Coronado has,” McGuire believes in community involvement. The weekly deliveries for Ganosh are made by employees of Community Options, a non-profit organization that provides the necessary skills and opportunities to low-income adults with developmental disabilities to help them achieve personal goals and independence.
“They do deliveries on Mondays with their job coach,” McGuire said. “They bring the food to your home or office.”
McGuire has from Community Options do her deliveries every week. The organization is currently only in Southern California and Northern California, but has hopes of expansion.
Local resident Leslie Crawford helped bring Community Options to Coronado while McGuire was deployed overseas, and the non-profit company has been a part of the island ever since.
“They launched and they’re huge,” McGuire said. “They do all of this stuff, like document shredding and food deliveries, which is what I needed! It’s so marvelous.”
Unfortunately, because of tough times and a bad economy, this particular service has been hit hard. In an effort to help both our community and employees of Community Options, a is being held tonight at the .
“It really depends on people in the community to be aware and know of this organization,” said McGuire. “To say yeah, I could use some help folding my pizza boxes, or I could use help wrapping my silverware in napkins, or help shredding my documents. Anyone can hire them. They’re very versatile and their job coach, Meredith, is phenomenal.”
If you’re interested in helping out this organization, as well as supporting the people in our community, you can buy a ticket for the fundraising event called “Taste of Our Community” for $45.
A ticket will get you a tasting of over 10 local restaurants and breweries, including some samples from Ganosh Gourmet. There will also be silent auctions available to further help this good cause.
In the future, McGuire has big plans for further catering to our communities needs and desires. While she’s cautious about using the word “diet,” her food is healthy, local and freshly prepared. However, those who have special requests or would like a little extra support in weight loss or nutrition may be in luck.
“If somebody wants me to work with their meal plan, I’m happy to work with them,” Mcguire said. “I am going to be putting together an advisory board that will consist of nutritional consultants and people that can help guide me, as well as my clients, with those kinds of issues.
But for now, McGuire will continue pumping out accessible, affordable and great-tasting meals from her kitchen to yours. And after you try it, you just might conveniently find more and more “momentous” moments to enjoy her food.
“At some point, I would love to be classically trained,” McGuire said. “But right now, I’m just cooking food that I love.”
To order food from Ganosh Gourmet, visit here to place an online order or fax to 619-435-5606. You can contact Wendy McGuire at 619-823-4701 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- sells Ganosh Gourmet salads and soups—an easy (and delicious) way to “test the waters” of the catering company.
- No, she didn’t misspell ganache. Ganosh Gourmet got its name from the melding of two words—Ganesh, the Indian deity that brings success and removes obstacles, and nosh, the Yiddish word for snack. “I’m all about removing obstacles for people,” Mcguire said.
- Though the menu changes seasonally, favorites like corned beef, chicken pot pie and Thai chicken noodle salad are available year-round. To check out McGuire’s current menu, click here.
- Ganosh Gourmet is green as can be. They recycle bags and cut down on paper by having online and over-the-phone ordering. They also use hybrids, bicycles or walking to make deliveries. Read more about their sustainable ways here.
- is the red meat of choice for McGuire and can be found at our local market.
- McGuire, along with Marla English and Sharon Sherman, started the , which is a local vegetable exchange here in Coronado every month. Look out for it on Saturday, April 16!