Posted in Cooking

I tried one of those meal delivery companies…

here’s my experience.

About a month ago, I was riding in the car with Dear Brother.  Food was on my mind.  Specifically, how can I eat healthier, more nutritious meals as a busy single?

I had been thinking about those meal delivery companies. Perhaps the best-known is Blue Apron. I checked out Blue Apron, and, while it all looked and sounded appealing, I still was not ready to commit. So, during that car ride with Dear Brother, I asked his opinion.  He gave it the thumbs-up.  He added that many companies offer a discount just for trying them out.

After a few more days of contemplation, I went for it. But, I didn’t sign on with Blue Apron.  Instead, I dipped my big toe into the meal delivery company pond with Home Chef.  Like any good student, I did my research. What I discovered that, for an industry that is only about six years old, it is already quite crowded, with a variety of companies appealing to a range of tastes, dietary needs and budgets.  I chose Home Chef because of: the cost – meals are approximately $10.00 each, on average; the availability of carb-conscious and calorie-conscious options; and the $30.00 introductory discount. The fewest number of servings I was able to order was two. Which meant leftovers, and always a bonus for a busy single.

I ordered three meals: Greek Chicken Salad, with feta-oregano dressing;  Bone-In Chimichurri Pork Chop with roasted choyote and smoked almonds; and Classic Chicken Piccata with angel hair pasta and lemon-caper sauce. I placed my orders on a Friday morning, and I arranged for delivery the following Wednesday. By the time I arrived home from school, which was after 4pm, my food was there. Upon opening the box, I found the food well-packaged, cold, and fresh.  Nothing was missing, and everything was organized and labeled by meal.  Along with the meals were recipe cards which contained detailed instructions, cooking tips and approximate preparation times for preparing each meal, a binder for the cards, and an overview guide.  The packaging suggested that the meals be cooked five to six days upon delivery, although I went four days over the six-day mark with the Chicken Piccata. Other than a spring of the parsley withering, the food maintained its freshness.  I also placed the chicken in the freezer for two days.

The first meal I prepared was on Friday, and it was the Greek Chicken Salad. It was tasty, but, I thought the portions were huge, even for two people. I was able to get three servings from this meal. The next meal I prepared – the Chimichurri Pork Chop – was on Sunday. I had to research chimichurri and chayote, not having previous experience with either.  The last meal, on Saturday, was the Classic Chicken Picatta.

So, here are the perks of Home Chef:

  • Fresh food.
  • Well-packaged for travel.
  • Coordinated and packaged per meal.
  • Exposed me to new foods.
  • Exposed me to using fresh herbs, which I rarely used, and was a nice taste change.
  • Opportunity to eat nutritious food.
  • No shopping.
  • Menus planned for me.
  • Value – two servings at $10.00 per meal.
  • All of the packaging – including the bottles, ice packs, and insulation – 100% recyclable.

And, here are some of the drawbacks of Home Chef:

  • Prep: Lots of pre-prep, i.e. chopping, as well as multiple steps throughout the meal prep itself.
  • Portions: There was enough cooked angel hair pasta for four people, and enough salad for three. But, not significant enough to deter me from ordering again.
  • Mode of execution: Each meal required pan-frying, and one required pan-frying and oven-roasting. Which means one had to stay with the food, and keep it moving at a fairly past-pace, as opposed to a meal that cooks exclusively in the oven.

Would I order from Home Chef again? Yes.  How did I rate it? 7/10.  Recommend to family and friends? Yes.

I think for a busy single like me, I have neither the time, nor the energy, nor the inclination to cook prep-intensive meals Monday-Thursday. Therefore, in the future, I will arrange a Friday delivery, with the intent of cooking the meals Friday, Sunday, and Wednesday (Wednesday is an early-release day for my school).

Additionally, I would like for a meal delivery service to tap into the single person market.  We are people who like fresh, home-cooked, nutritious meals that don’t require a lot of pre-prep or steps to get it on the table.

In as much as I enjoyed Home Chef as my first meal delivery service experience, I did put future orders on hold. I think I may want to try other meal delivery services. A friend gave me $30.00 worth of meals for Blue Apron. So, I am looking forward to trying them out.

Have you tried a meal delivery service? What was your experience? Would you recommend to family and friends?