Jen Johnson and Serafina Palandech
Chicken fingers and Chez Panisse aren’t terms that are usually associated with one another. But Palandech and Johnson, the couple behind Hip Chick Farms, are bringing a sustainable ethic to the world of frozen chicken dinners. Johnson, a former Chez Panisse chef, develops the recipes, which include spicy wings, meatballs and nuggets, using ethically raised birds from a local Sonoma farm. “Frozen foods don’t tend to be superhot items in the marketplace, but we’re a premium product,” says Palandech. The chef-driven, sustainably sourced recipes are especially appealing at a moment when consumers and retailers alike are paying more attention to the quality of their food. In early 2015, Hip Chick was in 300 stores; by the end of the year, it will be in 1,200.