We all sometimes binge-watch cooking shows on Netflix over the weekend whilst eating sloppy takeaways on the couch. We all wish we had the Jamie Oliver factor, the Nigella seduction or the Gordon Ramsay ferocity in the kitchen, but with zero motivation to read a recipe. Our attempts at plating inspiring food on a mid-week night is average and only allows for a sprinkle of parsley as garnish at most. If you lack a bit of zhoosh when it comes to dinner prep, let me introduce you to your new, sexy sous-chef: Like a Chef meal kit dinners.
Jolin Judd from Like a Chef got in contact with me a few weeks ago and very generously offered to send me one of her four-person “Foodie” meal kit dinner boxes to review. I’ve heard and read a lot about similar concepts, but I must admit: I had my doubts about the freshness of ingredients, and about how much additional work and items I would have to contribute outside of the box’s contents. Also, I had some concerns about the cost of the boxes and the sustainability of this way of eating for a middle-class family. Spoiler alert: all my fears were completely misplaced and debunked.
Having said that, I was more than happy to give it a go, purely because Jolin is such a lovely, energetic and enthusiastic person, and, as you all know by now, I’m instantly attracted and infected by contagious energy and passion! Also, I had a couple of friends visiting me over the same period, and I thought this would be the perfect time to guinea-pig the boxes on their palates.
The meal kit subscription service concept is pretty straight forward: Like a Chef works with incredibly inspiring, innovative and uber-modern chefs to create delicious, nutritious and well-balanced recipes. They box up these recipes, ready for your indulgence, and with a simple few clicks on their website, you select which box you would like for the next week. You can choose from a two- or four-person box, depending on your family size and budget. Then you sit back and wait.
In the meantime, Like a Chef is zhooshing around Cape Town, selecting only the freshest, most beautiful and where possible, organic ingredients for your meal kit boxes. They do the shopping, they run the errands, they package and label and measure all the little bits and pieces that suck up all your precious family time in the kitchen. Don’t feel like chopping garlic? Don’t worry! Like a Chef sends you a sachet of garlic already diced. Too lazy to measure spices, or unsure about how much to use? Don’t worry! Like a Chef pre-measures your spices to absolute perfection. Forgot to buy the parmesan for the risotto? Simply don’t worry – Like a Chef even includes the garnishes and final touches to your meals in their boxes. You see where I’m going with this.
Once your box is pre-portioned and packed, they deliver for free to your door on a Monday, all in an insulated ice box. This means the ingredients can stay in the box for up to eight hours, no worries!
And lastly, you get to feel like a chef in your own kitchen, because let me tell you, you are going to love the new-found freedom you will experience behind the stove-top with your new sous-chef BFF! And the best part about this? All meals take less than 45 minutes to prepare, from unboxing to serving. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!
Here are the meals I got in my delicious box:
- Chicken and Tahini Green Curry
- Trout and Asparagus with a honey mustard dressing
- Bacon Barley Risotto
- Enchiladas with a tomato salsa
I only needed a bit of olive oil, butter, salt and pepper from my pantry, plus the pots, pans and utensils needed to prepare the meals.
Each meal comes with a laminated, easy to read recipe card, so you can follow step by step, whether it’s a two- or four person box. It gives you handy information, like preparation times and the spiciness of the dish. Each recipe card also contains handy hints and tips from the chef, so that you can maximise your cooking experience.
Chicken and Tahini Green Curry
I’m a complete sucker for Thai food; especially when it’s a fragrant green curry. Even my flexitarian friend was super excited about the offering, and together we chop-chop cooked a fresh green curry from scratch. It was so much fun to get my hands on unusual products like lemon grass and tahini, which I normally wouldn’t buy or cook with. And don’t think for a minute that the curry came in powder form – it was a freshly ground curry paste, as authentic as can be. Even a can of coconut milk and a sachet of chicken stock was included to round off your meal perfectly. They really think of everything.
Trout and Asparagus with a honey mustard dressing
I was most certainly not expecting four beautifully generous fillets of super fresh of trout in my box. To be honest, at the price of the box I wouldn’t even have expected fish to be included at all. The trout was served with a decadent, ready-to-use honey-mustard dressing, a tomato and dill relish and roasted asparagus. This meal was incredibly tasty and well-balanced, and left me feeling refreshed and healthy (we all know that feeling where you have one good meal and all of a sudden you’re living the healthy life!). The flavour combinations are tried and tested by their talented chefs, so there’s no guessing when it comes to the combination of ingredients. All you have to do is follow the recipe and sit back to a gorgeous plate of food.
Bacon Barley Risotto
This was my personal favourite dish. It was comforting, more-ish and creamy, but at the same time, loaded with fresh vegetables and greens. When you think of risotto, you think of rice being the base of this dish, but in this case, Like a Chef used barley as a wholesome, complex carb alternative instead. The combination of mushrooms, baby spinach and crunchy green beans perfectly complimented the creaminess of the barley and the smokiness of the bacon. Topped with a sprinkle of parmesan and fresh parsley, and this was a meal fit for royalty! Light enough for summer, indulgent enough for winter.
Enchiladas with a tomato salsa
I mean, who doesn’t like Mexican food? And a meat-free version is brilliant for introducing “meat-free” Mondays to the household without sending everyone running to the closest fried chicken takeaway shop. These enchiladas didn’t even need meat; they were decadently stuffed with a mix of rice, baby marrow, baby spinach, onion, sour cream and spices. Topped with a tomato salsa and cheddar cheese, these enchiladas are a sure crowd-pleaser for young and old. Very generous portions and plenty to go around, again and again!
Why Like a Chef?
Going back to my original concerns raised in the introduction, I must admit that I spoke out of ignorance. These meal boxes are convenient, incredible value for money and efficient in saving time and energy. They also provide you with a hassle-free way of ensuring that your family gets a balanced diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and exactly the right portion sizes. It takes the stress out of meal planning and allows you extra precious moments with your family in these rushed lives we live. The last thing you need to worry about is food.
What I particularly like is that there is zero food wastage. Not a single piece of herb or vegetable gets thrown away unnecessarily. You pay for what you use, and that makes me feel like a champion. And if you need any more reason to feel like a champion, you can rest easily knowing that you are doing your bit to support local and organic farmers around the Cape.
The biggest bonus for me, and I’m speaking out of experience, is the fact that I’m eliminating those quick, unplanned visits to the shops after work to scavenge for food. These trips often cause you to spend unnecessary money out of hunger, and you end up throwing away a lot of your impromptu ingredient purchases. I absolutely hate food wastage, and this is a sure-fire way to make sure that you consume what you purchase.
A few logistics
In terms of practicalities: even if you’re not at home, the delivery person will leave your box where you want it, according to your delivery preferences. Products can be stored in the fridge for a maximum of 4 days unless otherwise specified on individual packaging. You can set your account on active and receive a box every week, or you can put your account on pause and only order for the week(s) where you want a delivery. All you need to do is to finalise your order for the coming Monday by the previous Wednesday. There are no hidden costs or cancellation terms. What you see is what you get, and that is a pretty sweet deal.
The team at Like a Chef constantly strives for customer satisfaction, so they’re always growing and changing with your needs. Most recently, they have reduced the number of recipes in a box from four recipes to three recipes, which translates into a price reduction per box to accommodate all budgets. They have also introduced a pork-free box, which allows more families to enjoy the convenience of meal kit dinner boxes.
Like a Chef’s gift to you
If you go onto the Like a Chef‘s website right now, you will automatically receive a R100 off your first box order! And, if that’s not enough – here’s another little incentive. Use my unique voucher code for a further R150 off – that is a total of R250 off your first box – what a steal! The voucher code is tlh150 and it’s valid until 15 January 2019.
Like a Chef meal kit dinners are rapidly becoming a fun, innovative and exciting alternative to traditional shopping and meal preparation. It invites the whole family to participate in making dinner, turning the mundane task of making food into a fun family ritual. I am sure I will be ordering my boxes in the weeks to come, purely because I’m such a foodie, but also because I’m a complete supporter of good time management and efficient practices. And of saving the world from food waste and boring meals, of course. So, zhoosh up your week-nights with the help of your friendly sous-chef, and it will never be end of the month Salticrax again!
The Little Hedonist has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, I do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, menu changes, opening times, and contact details.
Disclaimer: This product formed part of a press-drop. There was no expectation for platform coverage in the form of a blog, or social media posts. This is my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.