Meal delivery service The Dinner Ladies come to Wollongong

The Dinner Ladies Katherine Westwood and Sophie Gillatt. Picture: JANIE BARRETT
The Dinner Ladies Katherine Westwood and Sophie Gillatt. Picture: JANIE BARRETT

A home dinner service that prepares food for busy people is starting to deliver meals in Wollongong this week. And one of its founders has a long family history in the seaside city.

The Dinner Ladies was started in Sydney a decade ago by two mums who met at the school gate and decided to prepare food together for their time-poor families and friends. 

They quickly realised there were time-poor people all over Sydney that could use such a service and their business expanded from a backyard shed to a large kitchen and a fleet of delivery vehicles.

Meals for time-poor: Sophie Gilliatt and Katherine Westwood, of The Dinner Ladies, are now putting meals on the tables of busy people in Wollongong.

Meals for time-poor: Sophie Gilliatt and Katherine Westwood, of The Dinner Ladies, are now putting meals on the tables of busy people in Wollongong.

Now Katherine Westwood and Sophie Gilliatt are expanding The Dinner Ladies so time-poor people in Canberra, Southern Highlands, Goulburn, Newcastle, the Central Coast and Wollongong can order meals online and make their lives a little less busy.

The arrival of the Dinner Ladies in Wollongong on Monday was extra special for Mrs Gilliatt. Her great-grandfather, Walter Lance, arrived in Australia in 1884 with 65 suitcases of French and British costumes and materials and opened Walter Lance and Co Clothing Store on Crown Street. It stood for over 70 years and became a landmark hub for purchasing clothing, bedding, crockery and furniture.

Walter Lance went on to serve one term as Mayor in 1914. His son and Mrs Gilliatt’s grandfather, Waldo, took over the business in 1928, running it successfully until 1966 when it was sold to David Jones.

While Mrs Gilliatt was born in Sydney she still regularly visits Wollongong to spend time with her son Fred who is a University of Wollongong student and loves living in the town where his family has such a strong local family connection.

In a case of simple ideas are often the best she said The Dinner Ladies concept was fairly easy to explain. Time-poor people can just go online and order meals in advance to have delivered on a set day and time.

“Most people order a few weeks worth at a time. The menu changes every week but we also have our favourites. Some people buy them as a gift for new parents or for people they know who are going through tough times,” Mrs Gilliat said.