Tim Flick quick steps between the four stations as he cooks in the new commercial kitchen for his business, Fueled Strength Meals.
It’s a square dance between stirring steaming pots, flipping hot pans, slicing fresh mushrooms and grabbing spices from a converted Husky tool chest that also holds all of Flick’s accumulated culinary tools in its drawers. The dance is only interrupted with occasional trips to one of the commercial refrigerators lining the wall of the former man cave at his rural St. Anthony home.
The 53-year-old chef could take the steps blindfolded; he’s been cooking for a long time. As a ten-year-old, he was mesmerized by the magic his grandmothers, Caroline Merder and Ardella Flick, created in the kitchen.
“I just kinda felt like that was what I wanted to do,” Flick said. “I loved to hang out with my mom and my grandmas when they were cooking.”
By middle school, Flick was grilling and barbecuing as a side job. “Some kids made money washing cars; I was grilling food,” he said. “I just loved grilling.”
It was an easy progression to working for his parents, Tom and Ruth Flick, who owned Fiesta. The iconic restaurant and bar on Mill Street established in 1947 was purchased by the couple in 1976.
After attending Vincennes University for business on a tennis scholarship, Flick returned home to manage the Fiesta. While there, he began to learn more about cooking.
A chef he met through his restaurant network encouraged Flick to pursue becoming a chef, so he went back to Vincennes to complete a culinary degree. With seminars in France and coaching from his mentor Chef Bob Brewer, his culinary skills expanded and he became a chief executive chef.
With his greater understanding in food and the culinary arts, Flick purchased Fiesta in 2000 and a few years later, renovated and expanded it to a family-dining restaurant renamed The Millhouse. In 2006, he sold the business to BJoe and Kim Aull who still operate it today.
Since then, Flick has worked for various food distribution corporations on the road much of the time servicing his region. While home, he and Arnie Welp provided catering to a few customers on the side.
Recently, when the position he held with Gordon’s Food Service was phased out, Flick had a couple offers on the table to consider. They would require travel, and after ten years on the road away from his family, he was ready to stay home.
With some prodding from his wife Stephanie, Flick began exploring the creation of a new type of food business for Dubois County. Over the last three months, he’s been testing out some recipes and will likely launch the new business, Fueled Strength Meals, before the end of February.
Simply put, Fueled Strength Meals provides delicious, fresh food made with a scientific approach to nutrition delivered in ready-to-eat, single-serve meals weekly.
The idea came together for Flick through Stephanie’s connection to the international fitness company Beach Body. “We went to the conferences and learned so much about how people are working out and eating,” he explained.
The lessons struck home with the Jasper native. “I try to stay fit but being a chef, there are times when I have to dial back and eat healthier,” he said referring to the impact being around the food has on his waistline and overall health.
The two biggest culprits are sugar and gluten,” he explained.
Those nutrition lessons combined with his years of culinary experience will be used to create the delicious, healthy premade meals that will be available on his new website later this month.
Along with eliminating those two items from his meal options, Flick plans on complying with two dieting approaches for the meals; the Paleo Diet or Ketogenic Diet.
A Paleo Diet emphasizes eating meats, fish, nuts, leafy greens, regional vegetables and seeds. The name Paleo is derived from the term Paleolithic which in turn refers to the age before humans developed agriculture. The Paleolithic humans were hunter-gathers and ate what was available in the area they lived in hence the emphasis on these simple items.
A Ketogenic diet is designed to make the body burn fat for energy rather than carbohydrates. Paradoxically, the diet emphasizes eating fat over meat and vegetables. For Flick, this means he’s getting about 70 percent of his calories through fat from sources like nuts, virgin olive oil and high-quality butter. Without carbs, the body if forced to break down fat for energy.
Each week, the website will offer five to seven different meal options incorporating nutrition principles from the Paleo or Ketogenic diets.
Customers can pick between items like slow-roasted pot roast with carrots, gravy and a side of roasted broccoli seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper; pistachio-crusted chicken with lemon butter sauce; Italian roasted chicken with tomato fennel sauce; pulled pork carnitas; or spaghetti squash with tomato fennel sauce and Italian sausage. Everything made from scratch.
Is your mouth watering?
At an average of $8 per meal, anyone can get a healthy, delicious meal for about the same price as going out to a restaurant. Plus, you can avoid the hassle of preparing food ahead of time. Busy people wanting to eat healthily will have options to take to work or eat at home.
“Each meal will be dialed in between 350 to 450 calories,” Flick said. “You just pick which ones you want and how many you want.”
The meals are packaged in single-serving, microwave-safe trays. To maintain the freshest food possible, the food is cooked the day before delivery. Flick has arranged for customers to pick them up from 3 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Downtown Fitness & Running, 311 Mill St., Jasper.
For the past few months, Flick has been testing his menu on friends and family members garnering feedback. If you know his history, you know the meals are good. But what is exciting for Flick, is the impact the meals can have on people’s health whether they are an elite athlete or they are simply pursuing a healthier lifestyle.
“To help people is the motivation,” Flick said.
He’s seen some results already while testing the meals.
Flick won’t name names, but a friend contacted him as he was working on the menu. “He texted me saying he weighed 253 lbs., he couldn’t stand himself anymore and needed to lose weight,” Flick said. “I told him I’d been testing meals and I would set him and his wife up with meals to try.”
By the end of January, his friend had lost 14 lbs. through eating the meals and staying true to a good diet.
Besides hopefully impacting people’s lives with delicious food, Flick is looking forward to being home more with the couple’s sons, Eli and Owen, as well as being there for his wife to support her professional pursuits. “To take my kids to school every day, even if I didn’t make more money than my other jobs, will still make it worth it,” he said.
The website, fueledstrengthmeals.com will launch before the end of the month, but more information is available on the business’s Facebook Page here.
Updated: The meals are $8 and customers order them in advance for carryout at the newly launched website, FueledStrengthMeals.com.
Along with Fueled Strength Meals, Flick will also operate two other businesses from his new commercial kitchen.
Paying homage to the impact his grandmothers Caroline and Ardella had on his life, Flick will also offer catering under the name Carodella’s. He said he is exploring the option of providing the healthier meals with the catering, but for now, he will still offer the choices many have come to expect from his catering services.
The third business is Ruth’s Red Velvet Cakes through which he will offer made-to-order red velvet cakes based on his mother’s recipe.
“Flipping on the completely opposite end,” Flick said comparing it to the healthy part of the business. “My mom has done red velvets for 15, 20 years. She always does the Millhouse’s red velvets and she’s almost 75.”
Flick decided to take over his mom’s recipes and will provide the cakes through another online venue that will likely launch in March. “We just want to have fun with it,” he explained. “You’ll be able to go online and order 9-inch, 6-inch cakes and cake pops. She has an amazing product, and we want to keep that alive.”