Ebony-Maria Levy… “This is really just about one family cooking for another.” Photo by Andrew Finch
WHEN you’ve just had a baby, the last thing you want to do is cook, says Ebony-Maria Levy, founder of Hungry Mama Bear.
The concept is simple – delicious, home-cooked comfort food hand-delivered for new mums, but what started in February as a service for postpartum mums has expanded to reach anyone in need of support, Ebony says.
“I’d say it’s about 50-50 new parents and people who need a bit of extra help for whatever reason,” she says.
“I’ve had mums redeem their vouchers when they’re transitioning back to work, people who are recovering from surgery, or their partner is working away for a few months, even real estate agents who want something baking for an open house.
“We also find that people redeem their vouchers a few months after having a baby, when the offers of help and flow of visitors are over.
“Our customers have taken it a different way than I expected and it just goes to show that when you need support, you need food.”
Ebony, 27, says the idea for the business came when she had her son Edward, two, and was visited by a friend who cooked for her.
“I was feeling terrible at the time, I had mastitis and having this feast made for me was the most amazing thing ever,” she says.
“Being cooked for is an indulgent treat but also gives practical assistance and benefits the whole family.”
Ebony says she also loved bringing lasagnes to friends who’d had babies and started to see a demand for home-cooked food.
“What we make is for the whole family, not just the mum, because that’s what really makes things easier – it’s one less practical thing to think of,” she says.
“It’s all delicious and luxurious – lasagnes, casseroles, cakes, chocolate-chip cookies – the kind of things you’d make if you had the time,” says Ebony.
“We’re not under any delusions, we know it’s not an essential service, but being looked after with a home-cooked meal can be so important to someone’s feeling of wellbeing and it also fits with our culture of gift giving.”
Ebony, who left her career in management consulting and international commercial law to start the business, says that while her family loves cooking, it wasn’t about the technicality of the food for her.
“We’re not chefs, we’re a family of cooks with an Austrian/German background and we enjoy food and eating together, but this is really just about one family cooking for another,” she says.
Next year Ebony, who is on the board of PANDSI, says she plans to extend her services to include Hungry Mama Bear At Home, providing postpartum care.
“It’s like having a grandmother check up on you, bring you dinner, make you a cup of tea, see what needs to be done in the house and gets on with it,” she says.
Ebony does the cooking with her mum, dad and grandmother at their property in Wallaroo.
“The message is, send food not flowers, I don’t think anyone needs a roomful of dying flowers at a time when they just need looking after.
“I have never had so much gratitude than in this role – I love it.”