Chef’s Plate Review

A few weeks back I was given a code (by a friend) for $75 off a delivery of Chef’s Plate. I figured since we were under isolation, now would be the best time to get and review it! Plus, I have always wanted to try a meal delivery service but could never wrap my head around the price. The normal cost for four meals for two people is around $80.00 CAD. I only ended up paying roughly $5.00 for four meals for two people using the discount code.

I tried to find some unbiased reviews of this meal delivery service however that was extremely hard! Most of them seemed like they were being paid to write a review and a lot said the same things: kid friendly, cost effective, great variety, husband approved, etc.

I’m not being paid to review this service and will do my best to be completely transparent. If you have a question that I don’t cover here, please leave it in the comments! This is going to be a long one, so grab a drink, maybe a snack, and let’s go! (If you’re a TL;DR type of person, skip to the bottom and read the summary).

Meal Selection: 

The variety of meal selection was good. They automatically pick four recipes for you that include meat, and they also have a few vegetarian options as well as options that include higher end meats (for an extra price, typically around an extra $3.00 – $4.00). I didn’t want to pay more, so I kept three of the meat options chosen for me and then swapped the fourth one for a vegetarian meal.

The meals I went with were:

Spicy Korean Beef Tacos

Turkey Enchilada Bake

Spicy Honey Sriracha Chicken Bowl

Baked Cauliflower Mac & Cheese (Vegetarian)

If you don’t want to pay extra, you can only choose from four meat meals and around four vegetarian meals. There are about four to five other meals you can also choose from if you are fine with paying extra. If you don’t mind paying extra, than the selection is pretty good. If you’re like me though, it limits your options especially if you’re a carnivore – if you don’t like the options provided and don’t want to pay more you’re basically stuck getting a vegetarian option.

Delivery and Packaging:

I was told that my shipment would come anytime before 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday. I see this being a problem for people who like me live in an apartment with no one home and no safe place to leave the shipment. Thankfully, most of us are home during this time so it wasn’t particularly a problem for me this time, but if I was working I don’t know how I would get my shipment.

My box arrived by 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday and the box was huge! It was well packed. The recipe cards were right on top, then four bags – one bag per recipe. Underneath those bags was a cardboard separator and then the meat, and under the meat were three large ice packs, which were a bit melted already. The only concern I would have is that if the box was left for you, and you didn’t get home until later at night, the ice would likely be melted.

I definitely think this limits the type of people who realistically can order this.

I did note on the recipe cards that it stated due to order volume, I may receive an ingredient substitute from the same family for the recipe, however to follow the recipe as normal.

Now for the actual recipes and food!

Spicy Korean Beef Tacos:

I was really looking forward to trying this one. It seemed pretty straight forward and says it will only take 25 minutes. Also, there were only five components to them: the tortilla, rice, slaw, beef and sauce comprising of the following ingredients:

  1. Ground Beef
  2. Flour Tortillas
  3. Jasmine Rice
  4. Carrot
  5. Mayonnaise
  6. Soy Sauce
  7. Seasoned Rice Vinegar
  8. Sriracha
  9. Shredded Green Cabbage
  10. Gochuchang
  11. Kimchi Spice Mix

However, as soon as I opened the bag and pulled out the ingredients, I realized there was a problem. Can you spot what’s missing from the images below?

That’s right everyone – there’s no rice! Rice is probably one of the most important parts of this recipe and what did they give me instead? Another bag of cabbage *face palm*. I don’t know about you, but I do not consider extra cabbage to be in the same family as rice. Thankfully, I had Basmati in my cupboard so I was able to use that in it’s place.

The recipe directs you to start the clock when the water started boiling. I did my best to follow the recipe to the letter to be true to the time. You definitely want to make sure you’re multitasking while preparing this recipe. Again, everything in this recipe is pretty simple: cook the rice, make the slaw, cook the beef, make the sauce and assemble.

I decided to keep the extra bag of cabbage to remake this slaw later in the week – it was so good.

To get all of the components together I would say it took longer than 25 minutes – probably closer to 35 – and that doesn’t include assembly. I mean, if you don’t mind running around like a chicken with its head cut off you could probably get it all done in 25 minutes.

I appreciated that I was able to control the amount of spice that went into the food. There was spice in the beef and sauce and since I can’t handle a lot of spice (thank you, acid reflux) I only used a little bit. This is also great if you have children who can’t handle their spicy foods yet too.

Once all assembled my husband and I settled onto the couch (it’s rough times, guys) and dug in.

This recipe I kept because it is definitely something I would make again! Now for the overall summary and score, which I am averaging from the following categories:

Ingredients: 

This category gets docked because they thought a good substitution for rice was cabbage – not cool guys! The other ingredients were fresh which saved it a bit, so I would give this category a 6/10.

Time:

This category is based on if I was able to make the recipe in the time suggested it would take – in this case 25 minutes. It definitely took me longer than 25 minutes. I would say probably closer to 35 – 40 minutes. So that makes time a 7/10.

Experience Level: 

I think the idea is that the recipes are supposed to be easy to follow, and this recipe was super easy to follow and was composed of simple ingredients. I would definitely consider this a beginner recipe and even if you have no experience I think this would be a good starting point. This recipe deserves a 10/10 – I think anyone can make this!

Portion Size:

I ordered meals for two people and these tacos could easily feed at least three people (or two adults and a child) if you only had two tacos each, and I think that would be plenty – they were so filling especially with the rice. 10/10.

Taste: 

This is the most important category in my opinion, because if it doesn’t taste good then why even bother? This recipe was super delicious and I will definitely be making it again. I had never had rice in a taco – a burrito, sure but that’s not the same thing. The texture and mouth feel from the rice, beef and slaw was perfect. The slaw gave a much needed crunch to support the softness of the tortilla and rice and everything was seasoned so well. Definitely a 10/10 for taste!

Overall, the Spicy Korean Beef Tacos get a 8.60/10.

Spicy Honey Sriracha Chicken Bowl:

This is the second recipe I made from this box. I was pretty apprehensive about this one for a couple of reasons – I can’t eat tomatoes and this recipe also included rice so I was worried there was going to be a repeat of what happened with the Spicy Korean Beef Tacos.

Well there was definitely a surprise when I opened the bag and took out all of my ingredients. According to the recipe card, the following ingredients were to be in the bag:

  1. Chicken tenders
  2. Green beans
  3. Rice
  4. Avocado
  5. Honey
  6. Sriracha
  7. Grape tomatoes
  8. Soy sauce
  9. Cornstarch
  10. Southwest spice mix

The ingredients I received are pictured below:

If you will notice, I was provided with an extra bag of rice! I couldn’t believe it – my previous bag was missing a bag of rice and this one has an extra bag of rice! I tossed the extra bag in the cupboard for later use.

I noticed that the green beans were very pale – not at all like the fresh green beans I am used to.

The avocado was perfectly ripe – which I was super happy about. It was also pretty decent in size. Grape tomatoes were fine as well.

This recipe also said it would take approximately 25 minutes and to start the clock when the water was boiling for the rice. This recipe was also straightforward but I did change one thing. The recipe says after the chicken is cooked to add the ingredients for the glaze one by one to the pan. I disagree – it’s not easy to mix and by the time I got all the little packs open it jut would mix well. So I mixed the glaze in a small bowl first and then added it to the chicken. Also the glaze calls for sriracha – as indicated above I can’t really handle a lot of spice so I only used a little. I think it could be left out totally as well.

Cooking the vegetables was easy, just toss is oil and seasoning and pop in the oven.

Guys, look at those beans. Those sad, sad beans. The directions also said to cut up the avocado right away. I did not do this since I didn’t want to risk it starting to brown before everything else was cooked so I did that last right before serving.

Overall it looked really good. However the taste was  a different story. I didn’t try the tomatoes because I can’t but my husband didn’t like them and the green beans were inedible. I literally could not eat them, they tasted so bad. Thankfully the chicken with rice and avocado was quite delicious so the whole meal wasn’t a waste.

Let’s summarize and score:

Ingredients:

Ingredients for this one were really hit and miss. The vegetables were a huge miss. Points were earned for packing a perfectly ripe avocado though, I know that isn’t easy. The rest of the ingredients were pretty standard. Total is 6/10 – I can’t forgive those green beans!

Time:

Again, this recipe took way longer than the stated time to make, probably by an extra 10-15 minutes. So another 7/10 for this category.

Experience Level: 

While this recipe was still pretty easy to follow, it was more complicated than the tacos. I think anyone who has experience cooking can follow this really easy but if you’re a complete novice there might be a couple of hiccups. 9/10

Portion Size: 

Unlike the tacos, this meal is only enough for two people – which is fine, that’s how many it’s supposed to feed! 10/10.

Taste: 

Now for the important part. Unfortunately, the vegetables really let me down on this one. The chicken was good and the glaze was awesome. I will probably make the chicken again at some point. Avocado and rice are, well, avocado and rice there isn’t much to say there. 7/10

Unfortunately overall this was just an okay dish. 7.80/10 for this one.

Turkey Enchilada Bake:

I have to say I was pretty excited for this one. It looked delicious in the pictures and I LOVE enchilada bakes. They are in my regular rotation of dinner options.

There weren’t a lot of ingredients for this dish for which was thankful – I like easy dishes.

This recipe included:

  1. Minced turkey
  2. Sour cream
  3. Shredded cheese
  4. Green onion
  5. Red bell pepper
  6. Crushed tomatoes
  7. Tortillas
  8. Chipotle Ancho sauce and
  9. Enchilada spice mix

There was one problem right off the bat with this one for me unfortunately: there is no getting around the tomatoes – they are needed for the enchilada sauce. Thankfully I for the amount of tomatoes used and the fact that it’s spread over six enchiladas I didn’t think it would be a huge problem, and I was right.

The red pepper was huge! I was surprised to see that. The green onion got a little beat up during transport but that’s understandable.

When I started cutting into the red pepper though I noticed that there were some dark spots so I cut around those. Definitely not Chef’s Plate’s fault – it is not evident from the outside.

This recipe was by far the easiest and the one that kept the best to the timeline provided. It consisted of cooking the red pepper and green onion whites, adding the ground turkey and seasoning, assembling the enchiladas, making the sauce, topping and popping in the oven!

They only take a few minutes in the oven – just enough to melt and brown the cheese slightly – then serve with the sour cream/enchilada sauce and green onion!

Let’s summarize and score:

Ingredients: 

There weren’t many ingredients – I think this one actually had the least amount of ingredients out of all of the recipes I had. The red pepper had a few bad spots on the inside, but like I said that isn’t really something I can hold against them and the green onion got a little beat up in transport. Overall, I’d give them a 9/10.

Time: 

This is the only recipe that stayed close to the original cooking time. I think it may have only been about 5 minutes longer than what was stated. 9/10.

Experience Level: 

These were super easy to make. Maybe even easier than the Spicy Korean Beef Tacos. I honestly think anyone with any level of cooking experience could make these. This recipe was a win for Chef’s Plate. 10/10.

Portion Size: 

Like the tacos, these could easily feed three people if you had two enchiladas each. I was so full after eating but they were so good there wasn’t any leftovers. 10/10.

Taste: 

These were SO good. I loved them and they were so simple! Usually when I make enchiladas I tend to over complicate them, so I will definitely try making them this way again. The sauce was perfect and really brought everything together. 10/10.

Overall, these scored an average of 9.60/10!

Baked Cauliflower Mac & Cheese (Vegetarian):

I was pretty excited for this one because I love mac and cheese. I’ve never made it with rigatoni or with cauliflower and spinach though so I was intrigued! I saved this recipe for last because I wanted to get all the one’s with meat cooked first.

This dish had the most ingredients and was slated to take the most amount of time at 30 minutes. Looking at the recipe I already knew there was no way this was going to be pulled together in that amount of time unless I rushed like crazy. I don’t know about you guys, but I enjoy cooking and like to take my time and that also saves you from making mistakes along the way!

Ingredients included:

  1. Rigatoni
  2. Cauliflower
  3. White Cheddar Cheese
  4. Hot Smoked Paprika
  5. Parmesan Cheese
  6. Yellow Onion
  7. Panko Breadcrumbs
  8. Cream
  9. Dijon Mustard
  10. Baby Spinach, and
  11. Mac and Cheese Spice Mix

This is easily the recipe that had the most ingredients.

At first peak I noticed a couple of things – the spinach was going bad and the cauliflower was starting to look a little suspicious. I beleive that’s due to the fact that it was the last meal I made, so it was in the fridge longer. I honestly don’t know how you would get around this – maybe they could recommend what recipes to make first based upon the ingredients provided and what would go bad first.

This recipe was also the most complicated one out of all four and by far had the most directions. This recipe apparently can be made in 30 minutes and it took probably closer to 45 – 50 minutes. There are a lot of individual steps and this dishes uses the most pots and dishes. Most of it needs to be prepped and cooked individually before being combined together.

I did end up losing about 1/3 of the spinach and a few of the cauliflower florets because they had gone bad. After cooking the pasta, toasting the breadcrumbs, cooking the onions and making the sauce, roasting the cauliflower it was finally time to combine everything in the pot!

After all of that work it was finally time to sit down and eat (yes, again on the couch) and it was delicious! I honestly believe it was well worth the wait and this is the second recipe card that I kept to use for future reference. The only thing I might change is I wish the noodles were smaller – the rigatoni was a bit much for this. Also this made a lot! I was able to have leftovers for lunch the next day and we still had a very generous dinner.

Let’s break it down:

Ingredients:

Unfortunately this category is getting a bit of a knock since the produce wasn’t still all good by the time I cooked it. I think if you’re being provided food for four meals, it should last at least four days before going bad and sadly not all of the spinach and cauliflower made it. 7/10.

Time: 

This recipe really failed on the time front – there is no way this could be made by a home cook in 30 minutes without rushing and scrambling to finish. 6/10.

Portion Size: 

This recipe was easily the most generous of the four meals received. I had enough for lunch the next day and my husband might have too, but it was so good he couldn’t help but eat it all and I don’t blame him! 10/10.

Experience Level: 

I think it is not beginner at all – you need to have some sort of experience in the kitchen to pull this together – including knowing when pasta is finished cooking and not burning your breadcrumbs (it can easily go from nicely toasted to burnt if you don’t pay attention). I believe this would be closer to an intermediate recipe. There were also a lot of instructions and I had to read them a few times to try and make sure I had it straight. 7/10.

Taste: 

This is where this recipe really takes the cake – this mac and cheese was so good and I will be making it again in the future! The breadcrumbs added a nice textural element and the sauce was really well seasoned! 10/10.

Overall, this dish averages out to a 8/10 – the flavour really helped this one because it was not time friendly.

Summary: 

Hello and welcome all of you TL;DR people! I know you all want to know – is this worth buying?

The long of the short for me is, no – this meal delivery service is not for me personally. While the recipes were overall not horrible, it wasn’t anything I really hadn’t made before (with the exception of the Spicy Korean Beef Tacos). I honestly just don’t think in general that this type of meal delivery service is for me – nothing about Chef’s Plate in particular. However, if there is a meal delivery service out there who wants to try and change my mind – send me an email!

I also don’t really think the price is worth it. For the same price, I can grocery shop for two people for all three meals of the day for 5 days minimum. A few flaws I find with meal delivery services in general are the cost, the uncertainty of delivery (will you be home in time? do you have a safe place for it to be left?) and the variety of the recipes. If I’m paying for a meal delivery service I want it to feature more recipes that I would never make for myself.

Also, the vegetables could have been fresher overall.

With all of that being said, this would be ideal for people who can afford it, who like not thinking about what’s for dinner or maybe someone who just isn’t that into cooking and wants to whip something up kinda quick – or people with children who just don’t have the time to meal plan and cook!

Have you tried a meal delivery service or Chef’s Plate? Have a question that I didn’t cover above? Let me know what you thought in the comments.

 

 

 

 

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