As much as I love to venture into to the woods and survive on trail mix and beef jerky, I also admit I’m an unabashed foodie. I have a tattered Michelin restaurant guidebook with plenty of dog-eared pages, and can snob around the food scene with the best of them. When I learned of Good To-Go and the well-known chef behind the brand, I realized my love of wilderness and food didn’t have to live at odds with each other.
Founded in 2014 by Jennifer Scism, Good To-Go has filled a necessary gap in the dehydrated meal landscape. Her meals are not just nutritionally balanced to fuel an active outdoor traveler, they’re gluten-free, vegetarian, made of premium ingredients, and because of her reputation as an acclaimed chef—they’re damn tasty.
When Jen and her husband, David Koorits, launched their small-batch food business from their facility in Kittery, Maine, they offered just a few different meals. I remember the first time I had the Thai Curry. I was 5 days into a mountain bike ride across the interior of Iceland. I was genuinely bummed when I got to the last yummy bite. Today the Good To-Go menu consists of eight savory meals and two breakfasts.
The Good To-Go menu is the manifestation of Chef Jen’s personal and professional journey. An avid backpacker, she spent a year traveling the world in search of culinary inspiration prior to her professional cooking career. Last year I was honored to have the chance to visit their new facility in Maine and was a dinner guest at Jen and David’s beautiful home. Her version of Korean bibimbap that night contained dozens of complex flavors with a sprawling table of fresh and vibrant ingredients. When she mentioned her plans to add it to their selection of dehydrated meals, I couldn’t imagine it was possible, but she pulled it off.
Like all exceptional endeavors, passion drives the product. With Jen’s love of the outdoors, her proficiency in the kitchen, and a steadfast determination to make the best and most flavorful backcountry meals possible, Good To-Go has continued to win customers one bite at a time.
What sets Good To-Go apart from the competition is the process by which their meals are made. Whereas other brands dehydrate or freeze dry individual ingredients and then mix them in the pouch, a Good To-Go meal is made from scratch, then dehydrated and packaged as a finished product. The result is a more cohesive flavor profile. It’s also important to note their meals are not produced in a factory, they’re cooked in a kitchen. On any given day that kitchen is buzzing with activity as cooks prep veggies, mix spices, and tend to recipes carefully blended over the course of many rounds of tests.
Although relatively new to the backcountry food biz, Jen and David have created a recipe for success. Awards and accolades have been forthcoming, and I don’t see that trend slowing anytime soon. In the time since I discovered the brand, they have added an Indian vegetable korma, Mexican quinoa bowl, and of course the flavor-punch in a pouch—Korean bibimbap. I now start my backwood mornings with Good To-Go granola or oatmeal. All of the dinner meals are available in single or double-portion sizes.
One of the disadvantages to Good To-Go meals is the shelf life. Not because they won’t last, but it’s hard not to reach into my pantry and whip up one of their quick and delicious meals in the comfort of my home. I never had that problem with my previous dehydrated meals.