Rina Jones’ mother often traveled from Vermont to visit her daughter and Rina’s husband Brandon in Baltimore. On every trip, they would eat at Ekiben because Mom loved their tempura broccoli. She jokingly mentioned she wanted to eat it on her deathbed. But then Tina’s mom fell ill with cancer, and decided to decline treatment. Rina and Brandon prepared for the six-hour drive to Vermont, and wanted to take something that would make Mom happy.
How on earth could they make that tempura broccoli from Ekiben for her? Surely it would turn soggy on the drive.
Brandon, a 37-year-old engineer, emailed Ekiben’s owners and co-founders, Steve Chu and Ephrem Abebe, hoping they could offer some tips. He added one caveat: He’s not a great cook.
Reading his message, Chu thought to himself: “Well … you’re not cooking this.”
Chu wrote back with an offer. He and Abebe would meet them in Vermont. They would cook it themselves.
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