A lot has been written about the slow death of home cooked meals in America. A recent survey showed that only 6 out of every 10 meals these days are cooked at home. But, it isn’t because we don’t appreciate high-quality, freshly made food. Cooking show viewership continues to climb, with shows like The Chew, Hell’s Kitchen and Chopped bringing in millions of viewers every week. So, what’s causing the disconnect between people’s rising interest in good food but their falling motivation to make it?
Does Home Chef Help Bridge the Gap?
In many people’s cases, a lack of time is keeping them from cooking as often as they’d like. A home-cooked meal usually means dragging yourself to the supermarket after a long day at work. Then, you need to spend time chopping, measuring, searing and roasting. And, if you don’t cook often, all of the extra ingredients slowly rot in your refrigerator while you are busy with other things.
Other people don’t cook because they simply do not know how. If, like many Millennials and Gen-Xers, you grew up in a household where home-cooked meals were rare, chances are that you did not grow up learning cooking skills. Picking up a bag of onions and a whole chicken with no idea how to prepare them can be intimidating.
The promise of home meal delivery options like Home Chef is the opportunity to get all of the shopping done for you. You only get enough of your ingredients to make the meal, no extras to go bad unused. And, there’s no need to buy an entire expensive jar of dried oregano if you don’t know when you’ll use the rest; spices are included with the meal.
Novice chefs get the benefit of instructions and photographs of what the dish should look like. And, the time-pressed will be happy to know that the meals clock in at under 30 minutes of preparation.
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How Home Chef Works
You can register for delivered meals from Home Chef on their website. When you set up your account, you are offered a choice of dietary preferences that includes vegetables, meat and seafood. Next, you can pick out items that you’d like to avoid due to preferences or allergies, such as pork, soy, red meat, gluten or dairy. Finally, you can set preferences for low-calorie or low-carb meals.
*Learn more at the Official Home Chef website here
Each week, you can choose from up to 15 different meal options. Choices include vegetarian, soy-free, nut-free, low carb and gluten free menus. The wide array of dishes allow you to try out recipes that you may not otherwise have checked out. Past menu options include Sweet Potato, Goat Cheese and Bacon Skillet, San Francisco Shrimp Cioppino and Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Fennel-Honey Butter.
You can alter the number of meals you get each week or what meals you get. If you are going to be away for a week, you can pause the program until you get back.
Your meals are shipped once a week on a day that you specify. Make sure you pick a day when you will be home. Meals are served chilled with ice packs inside.
The package comes with everything you’ll need to make the meal except staples like cooking oil. All meats, vegetables, side dishes and spices are included. All items except for meat are sorted by recipe, then packed together in a larger plastic pack.
One of the perks of Home Chef is their eco-friendly packaging. the food comes packed in recyclable or biodegradable packaging. Liquid ingredients are shipped in reusable containers. Dry spices come in resealable packages so you can store them for later use if you do not use them all for the recipe. The items are cooked using water-soluble cool gel packs.
Pros and Cons of Home Chef
Home Chef has a lot of perks to recommend it, particularly for new or busy cooks. Pros include:
- Flexibility. Choose what meals you want delivered and how many you want per week.
- Free shipping. You can get items shipped for free as long as your total for the week is over $40.
- Easy recipes. All meals include step-by-step instructions with photos.
- Fast preparation. All meals can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.
- Small quantities. No need to buy an entire bunch of celery if you only need one stalk. In small and busy households, this can significantly cut down on waste.
- Wide variety of foods. Thirteen different meals are offered to you each week.
As with any home delivered meal program, there are also some cons:
- The dietary preferences could use more options. It’d be great to see meals that fit different nutritional needs or other restrictions, such as a heart-healthy or diabetes profile.
- The smallest meal size you can order is two servings. This can make it less convenient for people who live alone.
- The meals get expensive if you are serving four or more people. When you buy larger quantities from the grocery store, your price per unit goes down. Home Chef doesn’t offer this sort of scaling, which means that you’re paying nearly $60 to feed six people a single meal.
Home Chef Reviews and Testimonials
Most reviews online are overwhelmingly positive. Customers praise the wide range of options, the ease of preparation and the freshness of the ingredients. Many people really enjoy the fact that you only get as much food as is called for in the recipes, cutting down on waste. Novice cooks also like the fact that the recipes push them a little outside their comfort zones without being too foreign or too hard to prepare.
One common criticism regarded the portion sizes. In some cases, people felt that the portions were too small and that they were left hungry after the meal. People with big appetites might want to order an extra serving or make sure to serve an additional side dish when making a Home Chef meal.
In other cases, some reviewers questioned the value provided. While many meals seemed to come in somewhere between supermarket and restaurant costs, others seemed to provide products that were less valuable than the $9.95. price tag would call for.
One other criticism that came up in several reviews was issues with freshness of the produce. Some people found that, by the time they received their meal, the produce was wilted. This can probably be avoided by ensuring you are home to take delivery and preparing the most delicate items earliest in the week.
All in all, Home Chef seems like a good option for someone who does not cook often enough to keep a kitchen regularly stocked. If you are the type who likes to cook but doesn’t do it often, the occasional Home Chef meal can be just the thing to keep you in the kitchen and eating good food for less than the cost of a restaurant meal.
How to Buy from Home Chef
You can learn more or purchase by visiting Home Chef official website and registering for an account. Choose the day of the week you want meals to arrive, the number of people you are serving and how many meals you’d like per week.
Shipping is free on orders over $40 and $10 for smaller orders. It takes a week for your first meal to be delivered. You can skip a week or cancel at any time.
Have you tried Home Chef? We’d love to hear what you think of their service. We’d love to hear about your experience and help our readers make the best meal delivery and nutritional choices.
Feel free to comment below!