THERE was long the dream simmering away for Georgina Gunn and Johnny Seng to start their own healthy food business for busy people.
When the pandemic hit, completely shaking up the region's hospitality industry, they finally found a way to take their start-up idea into a reality with an unexpected twist.
Former Miss World Australia finalist Ms Gunn and her partner Mr Seng, a long-time personal trainer and health advocate, knew what they wanted in their business.
In their work they had both found it hard to balance good, wholesome and delicious meals with their busy lifestyles. They just needed to find the right place and help to get started in creating the healthy pre-prepared meals.
The pair approached Mercure Ballarat with the idea to access their under-used commercial kitchens, launch the start-up, Good 4 U Meals, and evolve from there.
Mercure Ballarat chefs stepped up to help create and develop the menu to make the meals tastier, more interesting and restaurant quality.
"We didn't ever expect it from them. Our idea needed some advice and Mercure staff have been great business mentors too. We're a young couple trying to make a business and we're very lucky to have them," Ms Gunn said.
"It's been a unique experience working alongside people at the Mercureas a business and it will be interesting to also see how they run a business when COVID's not around. It's been very different to what we had thought; marketing's all different, all online, and we can't go out and collect food ourselves."
The pair wanted to create packaged fresh meals, rather than frozen, so people could order up to a week's worth of meals and eat something different every day. Good 4 U has about 30 dishes on the menu and soups.
There are options for people who aim to gain muscle or to lose weight but Ms Gunn said the focus was on healthy, balanced meals that were filling portions.
Ms Gunn and Mr Seng hoped to change the conversation around healthy eating, to show it can be fun, tasty and accessible - especially in such uncertain times.
"There's a lot of stigma about losing your 'iso weight' from that whole thing that because you'e home you can sit on your couch and just eat lots of chocolate - and that's okay too," Ms Gunn said.
"It's so important to not be putting pressure on yourself, especially in times like these. That's why we hope to make healthy meal options easy, fun and tasty."
Meals are must be ordered for contactless pick-up from The Mercure or home delivery twice a week.
While Ms Gunn and Mr Seng are starting out in Ballarat, they hope there will be a growing taste to one day take their business national.
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