Drop Chef: First Impressions of a Meal Box Delivery Service

Drop Chef, for those who have never heard of it, is a food subscription service that is similar (in fact practically identical) to Hello Fresh. And I am currently obsessed!! Here’s why.

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I really like to cook and find a bit of chopping therapeutic – “sacrifice a carrot, save a human” being my mantra. I try to avoid processed food and in a dystopian world, without coffee and wine, I may even be healthy.  I love to follow a recipe, as improvising in the kitchen is just not my thing.  I cook for two people at the most, often just one, depending on my husband’s shift schedule or whether there was bacon and cabbage in the staff canteen. No matter what I do I seem to waste produce – half a head of broccoli, most of the bag of coriander, the other four chillis in the packet or 98% of the bag of kale. I own an out of date jar of every spice and condiment imaginable, all minus the one teaspoon needed for that one recipe. I am not a picky eater but on a dull Wednesday evening, I can lack both creativity and motivation. And so it was a  combination of all of the above that made the Drop Chef model appeal to me. Fresh, well-sourced produce. Chef designed recipes. Perfectly portioned ingredients. A variety of meat, fish and veggie meals. Delivery to the door. And general novelty value. It was definitely the kind of thing I wanted to try.

So last week I bit the bullet and I am so glad I did. As I was heading to our holiday cottage, where we have little to no store cupboard ingredients, it seemed the perfect time to order a trial box, which was being offered at €19.95 for one person. The box contains three main meals and is delivered on Tuesday, targeting clearly midweek dinners. Ideal. I chose my meals – one meat, one seafood and one vegetarian and I was ready to get started.

Selection, delivery and payment were painless. The products were super fresh and of high quality when they arrived in their refrigerated box and the system was colour-coded and simple to follow.

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I started with the fish, feeling it was the product that would deteriorate quickest. Pan Fried Irish Hake with Kale Colcannon. Honestly it was a triumph. You see this is why I like Drop Chef…

In normal life I would never bother putting kale in my mash, truth be told I try to avoid putting kale in anything, but if I did relent and find a use for the most nutritious of the leafy greens, I would spend the rest of week watching the remainder of the industrial sized bag guilt tripping me from the fridge. Because I knew… and the kale knew…. that it was destined for landfill. Because really, what type of person eats a whole bag of kale??? But now I had kale with my meal – cue feelings of extreme virtuosity – and no kale got wasted. The dream!!!!

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Night 2 was my favourite of the three meals – but given that it was Seared Irish Steak with Sweet Potato Fries and Baked Mushroom – you can probably see why! It was scrumptious, due in no small measure to the homemade tarragon butter that was drizzled over the steak. No joke, this was restaurant quality food, and yet I had cooked it myself, with no endless list of ingredients to shop for and in under 30 minutes.

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Finally, I tried a veggie meal. To be honest, I felt that while I enjoyed this meal, the best value for money would be achieved by ordering mainly meat and fish dishes. Remember a food subscription is convenient, and while I feel it will be cost effective, it is not cheap. The ingredients for the Sweet Potato, Butter Bean and Broccoli Stew are going to be much less expensive than when you include salmon, steak or lamb and so I think from now on I will have meat free Mondays and Fridays and aim for red meat, poultry and fish in my ordered meals. That said I was making the veggie stew thinking, “this has to be bland”, but it was actually very tasty and was the only one of the three mains that allowed leftovers for the next day’s lunch.

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So all in I am a convert and have decided to try subscribing for the month of April to see how it goes. The price for 3 meals for 2 people is €47.70 per week which includes delivery. Subscriptions can be frozen or cancelled at any time. And if it got me out of my mid-week food rut and eliminated my food waste, it would definitely be worth it for our home. However, if I had a family to feed I think this approach to meals would quickly become a luxury. I am excited to see how it goes and I will post an update in a few weeks time. In the meantime I will be using my Instagram to track my progress so feel free to follow me there, @champagneinateacupblog, as I transform myself into a chef!!!! xo

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