Mick Tonna and Hesh Sandi humour me as I try and suggest other names for their business. Great Meals Delivered, Gourmet Meals Delicious, Give Me Dinner.
GMD actually stands for Gym Meals Direct, the pair started the business six years ago with the fitness crowd at the front and centre of their thinking but the business has grown and diversified so much in recent years that the word gym’s not used much anymore and the motto has become “food to fuel every lifestyle”.
“Our customers are a diverse bunch of people,” says Honna. “We’ve got everyone from elite athletes to people in nursing homes, busy families, people eating a particular diet such as keto or low-carb, we try to cater to everyone. Our focus now is on providing everyone we can with healthy meals.”
GMD is the nutritional partner of the Canberra Raiders, supplying players with meals (what, Josh Papalii isn’t racing home to whip up dinner after a game?) and once the move into the centre of excellence in Braddon is complete, post COVID restrictions, they’ll provide on-site catering as well.
GMD also supplies meals to the Red Cross Roadhouse in the City and gives OzHarvest more than 100 meals a week.
They were supplying Meals on Wheels with fresh meals as well but restrictions have meant Meals on Wheels is presently delivering frozen meals but they are optimistic the situation will change.
Indeed, that’s the best thing about GMD meals, everything is fresh, sourced locally and made right in their onsite kitchen in Fyshwick. All aspects of the business are done onsite as well, from the website, to the packing, to the administration. It truly is a local business.
“Canberrans are great at supporting local businesses,” says Sandi. “And you know with our meals they haven’t been on a truck for two days or something, coming from Brisbane or Melbourne.”
GMD will deliver meals straight to your door, or you can fly by Fyshwick yourself on a Sunday afternoon and pick them up directly.
They’ve been in the Fyshwick premises for about three years now. The idea started in the kitchen of the Banana Leaf restaurant in Kingston, which was owned by Sandi’s family, before moving to a commercial kitchen in Turner.
They offer one of the largest ranges of meals in the country for businesses of this type, with close to 50 main meal options as well as breakfasts and healthy snacks such as peanut butter bars and choc-hazelnut bliss balls.
Main meals might be homestyle lamb, which looks like a little roast dinner; or a Thai chilli basil chicken with mixed Asian vegetables and rice; or beetroot and feta lamb, a lamb backstrap fillet, spiced and oven roasted, served with beetroot, chickpeas quinoa and feta cheese.
There’s also a chef’s special each week, a new meal developed by the kitchen team, and customers get to vote whether it stays or goes.
“We like to get a lot of feedback from our customers,” Honna says. “It’s really important to us to keep the customer at the front of everything we do. We’re happy for them to suggest recipes, or if they’re on a particular diet such as vegan, to let us know and we’ll work on recipes for them.”
There’s also a collaboration with Parlour restaurant who have some more gourmet options on the menu such as sweet fusion beef, chicken bechamel lasagne and a chicken risotto.
Their range boasts nut-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options, as well as specific meal plans, like keto, low carb and low calorie. All of the meals are also available in either small or large sizes. And the serving sizes are well portioned.
“We pride ourselves on that,” says Sandi. “Doing everything in-house enables us to be quite generous in our portion size.”
I was lucky enough to sample a couple of meals and keep an eye out for an upcoming story where we’ll set The Canberra Times tasting team loose on a few ready-to-eat options.
We’re confident our Canberra team at GMD will deliver the goods.