Cinch Gourmet Meal Market & Cooking Classes

Nancy Kleeger

Years ago, around the time The Brady Bunch was infiltrating almost every T.V. set in America, it was unlikely that your mom would have picked up dinner in lieu of cooking a homemade meal.  While it’s true that familiar words in your household at the time may have included Wendy’s, Burger King and Arby’s, you weren’t pulling up to the drive-in window to order healthy, gourmet food.  At home it may have been a casserole or a roast while mom always remained neatly coifed, and eating meals at the table as a family were normal.  

Fast - forward 40 years and life is a lot different. In our fast paced world today we often find ourselves in a pinch, pressed for enough time to prepare a well-balanced meal for our disappearing family dinners due to time constraints.  Enter Cinch, Fairfield’s newest “Gourmet Food Market.”  A market where you shop for high quality meals that you just heat and serve in your own home.  “Eat your heart out Carol Brady, let me tell you a little bit about the life of a 21st century family on the go.” 

Scoring Cinch’s prime piece of real estate and demographic as a bonus, right in the heart of Fairfield, is a huge coup for Cinch’s owner/founder, Chef Shawn Russell.  At the epicenter of Fairfield’s ever growing Sportsplex, Cinch’s coordinates of I-95, Post Road and Mill Plain Road, just beg people to be lured in.

Always a foodie, Shawn Russell left his business with the blessing of his supportive wife in 2009 (he and his brother owned a successful software and security company. Following his dreams of becoming a chef, he attended the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC where he graduated with highest honors.  He then freelanced for Food Network and worked in Rachel Ray’s test kitchen.  His vision for Cinch, a NY loft-style space with soaring ceilings and brick walls, was a market dedicated to homemade comfort food!

There are over 90 selections daily.  Large refrigerators dominate one side of the space and are filled with a selection of pot-pies, shepherd’s pies, chicken dishes, salads, meatballs, pasta dishes, soups, sauces and side dishes. There is a lot to choose from.  Shawn is particularly proud of their homemade pastas, which are housed in two refrigerators of their own, and has likened eating their ravioli to that of a religious experience!  

I should mention that they also make several gluten free options! I can testify that the gluten free chicken marsala was delicious and moist.   My kids ask regularly for their sweet and tangy Carolina pulled pork and dirty mashed potatoes…both excellent.  I buy the buns for the pulled pork and voila, dinner is served.  I have bought their Caesar salad several times and have also bought a curry chicken dish for my husband.  The portions are fair and everything is super fresh.  Here’s what I love about Cinch:  The space is super cool. Shawn and his helpers, all local Fairfield moms who cook with tremendous love, are right there in their open plan kitchen to chat with while you watch the cooking live.  What you won’t find are uncovered trays of food behind glass that have you wondering how long the food has been sitting out.  This is the big difference here!  Everything is cooked by the staff then put into it’s own tray or container for the taking!  Strapped for time, I have also brought my son in right before fencing and Shawn  heated up some food for him on the spot…this is a great option if you or your kids have an activity at the Sportsplex. 

And when you do have some free time, Cinch also holds some amazing cooking classes, a part of his business he is eager to expand!  Recently he held a surf ‘n’ turf class where participants made their own scallop appetizer, lobster mac and cheese and a rib eye steak! They also just had a class on how to make dumplings, taught by one of the food stylists from Food Network.  He can also arrange smaller private cooking classes for you as well.  Check out their website for their schedule of upcoming events, 

Off to a great start, the market has been a much-needed addition to the food scene that more people should definitely know about.  As Shawn puts it, “Heat, Eat,Love,” let Cinch put the gourmet back into your busy life…no reservations necessary!

Open Tuesday through Friday, 10am-7pm and Saturday 10am-2pm.

CINCH  85 Mill Plain Road, exit 21 on I-95, Fairfield