Toronto

Cooking at Home with Chef’s Plate

The idea behind Chef’s Plate is smart.  They send a box right to your door filled with exactly what you need to cook a full meal with the recipe included.  Each week they offer six different meal options through their website which you can order as a two or four person plan.  The subscriptions are flexible and you can cancel at any time, so there isn’t the same commitment as something like a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box.  They also have a professional chef, Jason Rosso, planning the meals, which means you’re getting restaurant quality dinners planned for you by a chef.  Everything about Chef’s Plate seems like a good idea, so I was very excited to try it.

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I had the opportunity of selecting two different meals from the six weekly options.  I chose steak fajitas and vegetarian bibimbap, both rated at a medium difficulty level.  Each plate costs $10.95, which makes both boxes that feed two cost $49.80 with taxes included.  The boxes were delivered right to my doorstep on Monday, packed in a cooler bag so that everything stayed fresh while I was at work.  It felt nice to know that I didn’t have to go buy any groceries or think abut what I was about to cook.Food1

The first Chef’s Plate meal I prepared was the steak fajitas.  I thought this meal would be a challenge as I had never cooked myself steak, but the instructions were easy to understand and it came together really well.  The box came with a good-sized top round steak, avocado, cilantro, garlic, green and red bell peppers, lime, red onion, a spice blend, tortillas, and sour cream, along with a recipe card that had step by step instructions with pictures.  The Chef’s Plate website claims that everything will come together within 30 minutes, however I think of myself as a pretty good home cook and it took an hour to do everything to make the fajitas.  In the end I was pretty pleased with myself, and had leftovers which was great.

The second meal didn’t go so smoothly as the first.  I had the idea in my head that the bibimbap would be quick and easy.  The box came with rice, cucumber, shiitake mushrooms, eggs, kimchi, mung bean sprouts, and a sauce.  The prep for this box was really easy, but the execution did not go as planned.  Why?  The rice.  The recipe gives a very vague explanation for how to cook rice, and in the end I was left with something comparable to congee.  Initially when I thought about these pre-measured meals, I thought they could be great for someone learning how to cook, but not everyone knows how to cook great rice and throwing rice into boiling water for 15 minutes is certainly not the way.

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Ultimately, Chef’s Plate can be a good way to get cooking.  The boxes make you use everything that you get so there is no waste afterwards, an if you are a person who lives a busy life it cuts out the grocery shopping and the potential of ordering a lot of take out.

That being said, I do think you need a certain level of chef’s intuition with the boxes.  If I would have just cooked the rice in my rice cooker, it would have gone over swimmingly.  The other issue I can see is that for $10.95 per plate, you could be ordering in or eating out for the same about of ease.  If you are someone who is looking to cook more for yourself and need something convenient, Chef’s Plate is for you.

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