A few months back, I wrote about our experiences with Home Chef, a weekly meal delivery service. It’s time for a fuller review.
One of the things that I think make anyone a better cook is technique. If someone gives both Eric Ripert and myself the same ingredients and kitchen, his food will always be superior because his technique would be superior. Home Chef does a good job with its picture recipes. Thankfully, there are also videos on their website, if you search for them, on how to do things.
We have had a few incidents with packaging. Sometimes stuff is not completely tightened causing leaks. One week we got our meal delivered on Thursday. One Saturday, I went to cook steak sandwiches that had cheese. The cheese was moldy, so we took a picture and sent it to them. Even though the response was “I’m sorry to hear that the cheese you received arrived less than fresh in your delivery this week” which seemed like odd wording, they did issue us a $10 dollar refund. There customer service did respond within 72 hours. I would have liked that to be a little quicker, but it’s not horrible.
My biggest issue with Home Chef is also the thing I like the most about it. What drew us to Home Chef was that each ingredient was pre-portioned. This is brilliant because I don’t need a huge bottle of truffle oil or a whole pack of hamburger buns. However, a lot of the packaging comes in small plastic containers, some much larger than what is inside causing more waste then is necessary. Yet, it is way more cost effective for me to order this than to waste both packaging and food.
One website we read before we ordered said that each recipe card had wine and beer suggestions. I didn’t go through all of them, but I looked at two just now and didn’t see that at all.
So, is home chef worth it? Yes, but it might also allow you to ween your self from it. The recipes are mostly easy to follow. If they don’t have special ingredients that are waste of money to buy from stores in large amounts, then they can easily be recreated in your kitchen. For instance, I made an artichoke au gratin this weekend to go with some ribs I smoked on the Big Green Egg. In fact, when it comes to most sides, I’ve recreated quite a few of them because it was just as cost effective to do it at home. Again, when it comes to recipes that require bread, demi-glace, specialty oils, it makes sense to do Home Chef. Those items in any quantity more than what can be used in one meal is normally thrown away. Being a family of two, I’m not sure we have ever finished a loaf of bread or pack of hamburger buns before they would go bad. And the aforementioned Big Green Egg compels me to buy meats to smoke when cheap filling up my freezer so that isn’t an option either.
Some of our favorite meals so far:
- Nashville Hot Fried Chicken: spicy buttermilk chicken…simple but fantastic.
- Brown Sugar and Pecan Crusted Pork Tenderloin Medallions: Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple made this recipe while I was on a business trip. Since she rarely cooks (her chicken cacciatore proves she can cook), this was a good test of how easy it was to follow a Home Chef recipe. It was delicious.
- Huli Huli Chicken Thighs: great sauce put this meal over the top.
- Coffee Rubbed Steak and Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes: I never actually tried coffee rubbed steaks before, preferring just salt and pepper. I will be having them again.
- Fettuccine Alfredo: pine nuts and crushed croutons gave his pasta dish some much welcomed crunch
- BBQ Chicken with Fried Pickles: I don’t like fried pickles, but Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple does. However, cooking them was easier than I expected.
- Double-Double Crispy Ranch Chicken Sandwich: ranch is a flavor that I never really warm up to until I tried it as a seasoning on chicken. It’s excellent. \
- Bone-In Pork Chop with Honey Mustard Cream: Actually all pork chop with a sauce recipes have been stellar. Pork chops can be dry and boring, but having the sauce elevates it.
- Fig-Glazed Pork Tenderloin: Pork tenderloins are going to be a huge part of cooking from now on.
We have had a few smoothies and they have all been delicious. We haven’t tried the breakfasts yet, but there is a buttery chicken and waffles coming up soon so we might order that one.
Home Chef has made our lives easier and healthier. We eat out less often because we do have something to cook. The meals are pre-portioned so we have also lost about 10 lbs just from this change to our diet. We might not get our whole week from Home Chef but I foresee us getting at least three meals a week from them for a long time.