Passionate Austin foodie leverages travels to spice up meal delivery trend
Editor’s note: This is the inaugural year for CultureMap’s Top Texans Under 30, a program that celebrates the twentysomething power players making a difference in their industries and communities across the Lone Star State — and, in some cases, the world. The full list is here. For now, read all about Anne Gardner.
With a passion for world cuisine, Anne Gardner left her job in education to found meal delivery service Cilantro Lime. The 27-year-old Austin resident is as intelligent as she is accomplished — she has a master’s in biology and another in education — and put that intellect to good use when founding Cilantro Lime by putting a fresh spin on the ready-to-prepare meal delivery trend.
Fully customizable to your dietary needs, Cilantro Lime provides customers with light, vegetarian, gluten-free, high protein, or low-carb recipe options. Place your order by noon, and your fresh, nutrient-rich, locally sourced ingredients arrive the same day. Step-by-step recipe cards provide instruction for dishes — pumpkinseed-crusted chicken, albondigas in chipotle, pear and prosciutto salad, coq au vin, or miso salmon with spinach and edamame — inspired by Gardner’s travels.
We chatted with Gardner recently to find out more about her tastes.
CultureMap: What inspires you to do what you do?
Anne Gardner: I’ve had an appetite for authentic cuisine since I was a child. My parents made food from their native Mexico and Portugal to connect my sister and me with our roots. Since then, I’ve expanded my culinary palate with travel to more than 25 countries and an appetite for new flavors.
I’m constantly on the search for new flavors, techniques, and can’t wait to share my experiences with others.
CM: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to other Texans trying to make a difference by innovating?
AG: Find your niche and be patient. Don’t compromise quality or vision to appease everyone.
CM: Sum up Texas in three words.
AG: Independent. Proud. BBQ.
CM: What’s one thing that people might not know about you?
AG: I don’t like the term “vegetable.” It’s biologically incorrect, pointless, and misleading. Tomatoes are fruit, broccoli are flowers, lettuce are leaves, mushroom are fungi, asparagus are stems, carrots are roots, garlic are bulbs, and green beans are seeds.
CM: Finish the sentence: “It’s a good day when … ”
AG: I get to cook a new recipe for my family.
RSVP now for the CultureMap Social: Top Texans Under 30 Edition, October 25 at 800 Congress, to celebrate Gardner and her fellow Austin winners.