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BOX LUNCH

by Whitney Kenerly

New Chef at Apple Spice Junction Customizing Classic Recipes

| whitney@yesweekly.com

Six months ago, Jessica Arvidson was the manager of the Lucky Brand store at Tanger Outlets in Mebane. Now the 26-year-old vegetarian is the Commissary Director and chef at Apple Spice Junction, a box lunch delivery and catering service in Greensboro.

“It’s so fun,” said Arvidson. “I was an only child in a single parent household so I’ve been cooking for myself since I was nine years old.”

Although Apple Spice Junction requires some recipes to be made according to specific franchise instructions, Arvidson has been able to customize other items on the catering menu. To compliment the popular chicken and sour cream enchiladas, Arvidson created a vegetarian version using cream of mushroom soup.

The enchiladas were rich and satisfying with a density not usually found in vegetarian box lunch items. A generous portion of baked cheese on top of tortilla layers filled with onions, peppers and black beans demonstrated Arvidson’s understanding of a well-rounded meal. “Putting the protein back into vegetarian items is important to me,” said Arvidson. “Before I was here they didn’t know how to do vegetarian, vegan and glutenfree items.” Arvidson is also able to craft tasty recipes using poultry or beef using her olfactory senses. Her grandmother had been classically trained in Italy and passed down some of that knowledge. Arvidson said, “She taught me how to cook by smell.” The Chicken soup Arvidson created using this skill is another popular menu item.

After years of being a vegetarian, the only thing that Arvidson said she doesn’t like to handle in the kitchen is bloody red meat. Apple Spice Junction has been in Greensboro for nine years, and mostly caters to businesses. The company is based in Salt Lake City and the Greensboro location off of West Market Street is the only Apple Spice Junction store located in North Carolina. Because of this, Apple Spice Junction will deliver anywhere in the state “” from Asheville to Wilmington.

The store is only open Monday through Friday, but will cater an event during the weekend as long as the order is $250 or more.

According to Arvidson, business orders are typically for 12 to 20 people and popular items from the catering menu include the pot roast, the build-you-own salad bar, and breakfast bars. Apple Spice Junction requires catering orders to be made a day ahead of delivery, but box lunches can be ordered the day of an event or meeting.

Most orders from Apple Spice Junction include freshly baked cookies. The oatmeal raisin cookies have the familiar balance of chewy and crunchy textures with just enough raisins.

Arvidson originally came to work at Apple Spice Junction because she was looking for better hours.

Now she comes in at 5 a.m. to start making bread for the day and leaves around 2p.m. after the lunch rush.

Her hard work and creativity in the kitchen has led to her nickname, “The Jess of all trades.”

dill sauce. Arvidson also found a way to turn any sandwich She improved the salmon by making a lemon butter on the menu at Apple Spice Junction unto an “unwich” by using lettuce instead of bread.

When Arvidson is in a creative mood, she likes to consider the appearance of a dish. “Presentation is very important to me,” said Arvidson. An attempt at a new mushroom turnover recipe on Friday had left Arvidson disappointed at first, but she tried again using a different approach to folding the dough with better results. The Greensboro Apple Spice Junction makes an effort to infuse menu items with southern, local flavors. With summer approaching, they have started catering more barbeque lunches with grill masters cooking dishes to order on site. To make sure that everyone can enjoy the food, Arvidsion said, “I always remind the grill masters to bring veggie burgers!” !

WANNA go?

Apple Spice Junction is located off West Market Street at 104 Meadowood Street in Greensboro. Visit www. applespice.com for more information or call them at 336-852-8243.

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