Chefs Plate Meal Kit Review
Chefs Plate is a Toronto-based meal kit company that was founded by Patrick Meyer and Jamie Shae in 2014. It is also a recently acquired division of HelloFresh meal kits. Their aim is to help you conquer the kitchen and simplify dinnertime by offering delicious and quick meal options delivered straight to your door.
Life with a toddler can be busy and we wanted to make our trips to the busy grocery stores less frequent. Chefs Plate seemed like the perfect solution to try. The subscription prices are also a lot cheaper than other meal kits, so we wanted to see how it compared and if the food quality was the same.
Pros and Cons
The Ordering Process
Chefs Plate has a very simple sign-up process which we really appreciated. There were three plans to choose from: Meat and Vegetables, Vegetarian and Family Friendly. We ended up choosing the Family Friendly plan for two people with three meals per week. The subscription plan is flexible, so if at any time we wanted to skip a week because we were going to be away or were short for cash, this is an easy fix. We are also given the option to change the amount of meals we receive each week. All alterations just need to be made the Wednesday before your delivery date.
Chefs Plate Meal Selections and Options
After signing up, we chose our meals for the week. The dashboard was very simple and easy to navigate. A calendar on the top menu allowed us to see the weekly menu options for past and upcoming meal kits.
Each week features 15 meal choices with four vegetarian options and two to three quick 15-minute meals which cost an additional two to four dollars per meal. There is also one premium meal choice with a more expensive protein or additional ingredients, which costs an additional $3.99 per serving. Similar to HelloFresh, Chefs Plate offers mostly American fare along with a few international options. We saw Mexican, Mediterranean and Thai inspired meal options in upcoming weeks and found between one to four meals per week were marked as spicy.
Chefs Plate Choices
Information about each of the menu options could be found when we clicked on the picture of each meal. Each ‘recipe card’ featured the overall prep and cooking time, nutritional values, ingredient list and cooking instructions. One thing we missed that has been included in other meal kits we have tried is the recipe difficulty. We are by no means experts in the kitchen, but by reading the cooking instructions we were able to decide if a meal was going to be difficult or not.
We didn’t notice any specifically labelled healthy meal options among our choices. To check the nutritional value of each meal we had to click on each recipe and view the dietary information. If we were looking to choose only healthy options, this would be a cumbersome task.
Luckily, we were in the mood for something filling and comforting when we ordered, so we chose two pasta dishes — Creamy Beef Stroganoff with penne and mushrooms, and a Roasted Veggie and Basil Pasta Bake with garlic ricotta. To spice things up, our last choice was a spicy Loaded Chipotle Bean Taco with rice, refried beans and lime crema.
Chefs Plate offers an app for on-the-go meal planning which would definitely be helpful for future box planning. For the initial sign up however, we used the desktop version.
Alternatives to Chefs Plate
Get Started with Chefs Plate
We chose a Tuesday delivery date and our box arrived at 11am, which was perfect timing! We were working from home and able to pick up the delivery right away. We were very happy that the delivery person brought our box to the back of the house where the entrance to our basement apartment is as per our delivery instructions. Most deliveries end up on the front porch of our upstairs neighbours.
All the ingredients were incredibly fresh and stayed cool because of the ice packs layered at the bottom of the insulated box. The beef for our stroganoff was directly on the ice while other ingredients for the dishes were separated into individual meal bags and placed on the top layer.
We were happy to note that, like HelloFresh, all the packaging was recyclable in some way except for smaller sauce satchels and the sticker with nutritional information placed on the individual meal bags.
The Cooking Process
Each meal kit came with a recipe card that featured a list of ingredients in our bag along with step-by-step instructions with pictures on how to make the meal. We noticed that the Chefs plate instructions are all written in a passive voice. We thought this could either be helpful or a hindrance depending on the type of reader you are.
For example, we cooked the Chipotle Bean Tacos and Pasta Bake with some family members to make a large lunch for four. Two of us had no difficulty following the instructions for the pasta while the other two struggled with the tacos. Their biggest problem was reading the recipe incorrectly and adding too much of an ingredient when they were supposed to save a portion for another taco element. In the end, this had little effect on the taste — both the tacos and the pastas were delicious, so don’t worry too much if you muck up the instructions!
Each of the individual meals tasted fresh and flavourful. We were a bit disappointed with the spice level of the Loaded Chipotle Bean Tacos. We love spicy food and have a high tolerance for it. These tacos — while delicious — tasted very mild. For someone who can’t handle spice well though, these are probably more on the low to medium spice level, so don’t be afraid to try them! Based on this recipe, we don’t think any of the other ‘spicy’ Chefs Plate meals are more than mild/medium.
The Bottom Line
All in all, we were very happy with these recipes. Out of the three recipes, we would probably order the tacos again. We loved how filling and satisfying they were and would love to try them again so we can make the recipe correctly next time! We might also add some extra hot sauce or spice to it so it better suits our spice level.
Cleaning up was also very easy, as other than some rinsing, most of the box and packaging went straight into the recycling bin.
This box is definitely comparable to its competitors and offers a decent choice of meals with quality ingredients. The price is also phenomenal considering the amount of food you get — we had enough for leftovers every time!