Jess’s Underground Kitchen (JUK) started as a favour between friends, and quickly escalated to feeding hundreds of people every week. Nine years on, JUK is making and delivering thousands of home cooked dinners around New Zealand, and frozen meals to supermarkets here and overseas.

Jess’s journey echoes typical kiwi values: making quality, fresh food with humility and authenticity, and innovating to do things in ways that suit both her and her customers.

In this episode of Flying the Fern, host David Downs talks to Jess about:

  • How JUK grew from a casual thing to a real business 
  • Her motto - do less, better by sticking to your core business 
  • Building an authentic brand 
  • How the New Zealand Fernmark is a symbol for everything JUK’s about – hard work, humility and passionately believing in what you’re doing
  • What hasn’t worked; what she’s learned and what she’d do differently 
  • Expanding into Australia 


Disclaimer: this episode was recorded prior to their announcement of closing the cafes and focusing on their frozen meal range

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From cooking at home to an international business feeding thousands
Jess Daniell (Founder and Managing Director)
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Food and Beverage
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