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By LEANNE BATTELLE , IJ Correspondent

November 10, 2020

I recently had a few days’ worth of neatly packaged, chef-made meals delivered to my doorstep, all snugly embedded between reusable chilled ice pods in a snappy, soft-sided cooler branded with a Jessie and Laurent logo. The San Rafael-based gourmet heat-and-eat meal delivery service has been around for close to 40 years, but for the unindoctrinated like me, the pandemic has been a prime time for discovery.

The substantial menu featuring “comforting California cuisine based on French standards” changes weekly. Meals arrive in portions for one to up to seven people and can be tailored to meet dietary restrictions and preferences.

I gravitated to the salmon teriyaki bowl with miso ginger quinoa; lemon turkey meatballs with piccata sauce; and polenta cakes with mushroom leek sauce. More recently, the menu included Irish Niman Ranch beef brisket stew with vegetables and Korean red devil prawns with garlic noodles.

You’ll also find a few brunch items like poached eggs with seasonal vegetable hash, and desserts, including petite chocolate cakes with buttercream frosting, rustic apple tartelettes and a cookie dough of the week.

For Thanksgiving, Jessie and Laurent has partnered with Diestel Family Ranch to offer whole or half organic oven-roasted turkeys. Other options include honey- smoked pit ham; glazed Cornish hens with cranberry stuffing; whipped potatoes; roasted root vegetables; winter chicory salad; local artisan charcuterie and cheese platters; apple and pear chutney; and much more.

The company also offers sundries from local partners such as coffee beans from San Rafael’s Addictive Coffee Roasters and cold-pressed juices from Pressed Juicery with a local location at Marin Country Mart in Larkspur.

For founders Jessie and Laurent Boucher, a passion for food and cooking further blossomed after meeting in France. They launched their Bay Area catering company in 1981 and are one of the originals in the current prepared meal delivery service trend.

The company was acquired by SGS Hospitality in early 2019 and is now managed by a Marin-based quartet — managing partner Rick Graves (Café Z and Patxi’s Pizza); Alex and Lisa Stricker (Stateroom Brewery and the Flatiron); and Corte Madera attorney John Scheuring.

Find weekly menus, holiday ordering deadlines and information on gifted meal delivery for friends, family, business associates or locals in need at