LaForce Baker '10

issue 01 | spring 2015
Where Are They Now: LaForce Baker '10

In many ways, the real world is very different from college. There’s rent to pay, printer paper to buy, and friends scattered across the country, rather than living together right down the hall.

But there is one similarity between life on campus and off. When you’re up late and hard at work, hunger inevitably strikes. You could be at Fellows Hall or at an office building in Chicago, and the same thing rings true: There aren’t always satisfying and healthy food options past a certain hour. Sure, there might be a vending machine, but Snickers for dinner? It doesn’t really stop the hunger, and it’s hardly adequate nutritionally.

LaForce Baker was one of those late-night workers while he was employed in corporate marketing and brand strategy with global food companies like Kraft and Nestlé. “I used to stay late at least three nights a week in my downtown Chicago office,” says Baker, who was a communication major at Denison. “We  could order dinner, but the only options were pizza or bad Chinese food. I gained more than 15 pounds!” he recalls. His thickening waistline gave him an idea. “Why can’t there be tasty, nutrient-dense food that you can have delivered to your office late at night?”

Inspired by the possibilities, Baker founded Moon Meals in January of 2012, after partnering with Comisha Johnson, a chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu. Together they developed a menu that features largely organic meats, as well as vegan and gluten-free items such as lime-infused grilled chicken fajitas, kale salad, and a smokehouse turkey or veggie burger on a whole-wheat bun. Moon Meals uses locally sourced ingredients when it can, and even takes its social consciousness to the next level, delivering food via fuel-efficient cars until 2 a.m. every day.

Baker, who originally thought the late-night crowd would be Moon Meals’ bread and butter, has been surprised to find that lunchtime is actually the company’s busiest time of day. “Since we launched, corporate catering is up 125 percent,” says Baker, who cites global marketing companies and law and finance firms as repeat customers who often order nutritious lunches for their client meetings. The company has also successfully expanded into supplying its organic chicken wraps, organic turkey wraps, and vegan burritos wholesale to coffee shops, cafés, and independent stores that want high-quality “grab and go” options for their refrigerated shelves. 

Baker’s business was recognized recently as one of four semifinalists in GQ Magazine’s national $100,000 business idea competition. “They were looking for innovative businesses started by people with interesting stories,” Baker says. “I wish we’d won the grand prize, but I’m proud Moon Meals beat out so many businesses that have been in existence for a long time.”       

Published July 2015
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