Imagine a world where you don’t have to be rich to have someone do your shopping for you.
I was at a party a while back and chatted with a woman about our shopping practices. The conversation started with her complimenting my attire. “Oh, I like your dress.” “Thanks, it’s from Forever 21.” I went on to ask where she got her heels. “Nordstrom. I hate to shop so I hire someone else to shop for me.” Yep. Not me. My shopping experiences entail persistence, sweating and several hours in the dressing room, only to be able to select two articles of clothing, due to my budget.
Some of you may be like me. You would LOVE to be catered to and hire a personal shopper, but you lack the cash. Although I do not have a resolution for clothes shopping, I do have one for grocery shopping! Enter Food Delivery Services.
Since 2012 Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and Plated have pampered their patrons with food delivered right to their doorstep. In 2013 Home Chef came onto the scene, offering similar services. Each of these companies sends their subscribers one box each week, filled with fresh ingredients needed to make chef-designed recipes. An exorbitant amount of time is saved each week, since these companies eliminate grocery shopping, finding new recipes, meal planning, and portioning.
Luckily for you, I have tried and reviewed (click names to read) Blue Apron, Plated, Hello Fresh, Peach Dish. Now I have the opportunity to review Home Chef and compare it to all of these companies, so that you can make an educated decision as to which one best serves your family’s needs.
- All Home Chef meals are priced at $9.95 per serving.
- Delivery is free for orders over $40, and they don’t charge sales tax. Shipping is $10 for orders less than $40.
- Select any number of dinner meals (offers 10) for 2, 4, or 6 people.
- Additional offers: one breakfast ($9.95/serving), one smoothie ($4.95/serving) or one fruit basket ($4.95/serving)
- They offer many promotions in magazines, on Facebook or search “Home Chef” promo codes online. I got my first box for $29.70 for two people with a 50% off coupon.
- Active subscribers have access to a referral program, where you can earn credit for every referral that signs up with Home Chef. Both you and your reference will receive a $30 credit.
- They currently deliver to 60% of the United States and do no specify exactly where.
- Sends weekly deliveries Tuesday through Friday.
- You can select the day of week that’s most convenient for you.
- Delivery day options will vary according to where you live.
- You can skip weeks according to your availability or interest in the menu.
- 10 dinner recipes offered, choose any that you want.
- They will offer suggestions based on your preferences but you can remove those from your cart very easily.
- Additional offers: one breakfast ($9.95/serving), one smoothie ($4.95/serving) or one fruit basket ($4.95/serving)
- Create a Diet Profile: Omnivore, Meat, Seafood, Pescatarian, Vegetarian and Vegan
- Identify dietary preferences: ingredients to avoid, low-calorie or low-carb meals
- Offers subscriptions for gluten-free and dairy-free also
More frequently asked questions: https://www.homechef.com/faq
The First Impression
A small square box arrived around 4:00 on a Wednesday night. The ingredients were organized in three separate bags, with labels identifying the recipe’s name. The meat was packaged in vacuumed sealed bags and remained separated from the recipe bags. Within each bag, the ingredients were pre-portioned and labeled in their own designated container or bag. The fresh fruit and vegetables were whole and preparation directions were outlined clearly on the recipe card. Above is an example of the Cuban-Style Pork Chop ingredients that were removed from their bag.
Each meal has a recipe card. The front of the recipe card has a final photo of the meal, along with an explanation of the dish’s flavor profile and a picture of the chef who created the dish.
On the back of the card, the top section has a written list of the ingredients, measurements, what you’ll need (like salt and pepper), preparation time, calories per serving and other dietary information. It also includes a drink pairing suggestion, which is unique to Home Chef only. The rest of the card is dedicated to teaching the home cook how to make the meal with step-by-step directions and photos. The last photo describes how to plate the dish.
The Taste Test
Thai Fish Cakes with Cilantro-Lime Slaw | This was an incredible low-calorie meal that was bursting with flavor. Fresh ginger, fish sauce, cilantro and chili powder took me on a journey to Thailand. The fillets of Tilapia were first roasted, then shredded and lastly pan-seared to create a crunchy exterior. The finishing sauce was Sriracha, for those of us who like it spicy! The Cilantro-Lime Slaw was crunchy and refreshing, complementing the tender fish cakes. After eating this dish, I immediately tucked away the recipe so that I could create it again. The ingredients such as panko, lime, mayonnaise and garlic are simple, but when combined, the punch of flavor will shock you. This recipe was only 521 calories per serving. Yet ours was less, as I substituted regular mayonnaise for low-fat mayo found in our refrigerator. Each of us had two huge fish cakes, which were appropriately filling. The drink pairing for this meal was chilled Thai beer, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.
Hearty Steak and Goat Cheese Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette and Pepitas | This was a substantial salad. The tender sirloin steaks, cooked to medium-rare, melted in our mouths. The goat cheese added a zing of creaminess, while the shallots offered a hit of garlicky flavor. The Champagne Vinaigrette was another recipe that you had to make yourself. For me, this was my favorite part because there is nothing like fresh homemade dressing. This dressing included Dijon mustard, champagne vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper. It was light and flavorful with a burst of acidity. At only 677 calories per serving, my husband and I were extremely full without the guilt. The drink pairing suggestions included Pinot Noir, Cabernet or Chilled Chardonnay.
Con: Yes, this is a salad that you can easily make on your own without the help of a food delivery service or recipe. It was one of many that I could choose from, but knowing that we wanted a low-carb meal, I chose according to our diets.
Cuban-Style Pork Chop with Ensalada de Aguacate and Citrus-Caramelized Onions | This was another hearty and healthy meal. The Cuban-Style Pork Chop was marinated in an orange juice and citrus blend that complimented the smoky sear from a prepared spice blend. Ensalada de Aguacate is Spanish for Avocado Salad. The baby arugula was delightful in this salad, as it added a peppery bite. Lastly, we enjoyed the caramelized onions because they were sauteed with the orange-citrus marinade that was also used for the pork. This meal was 501 calories per serving and its drink pairings include Cuban-style beer or rum cocktails.
Con: The salad only had a squeeze of lime to dress it, so I added extra virgin olive oil and reduced balsamic vinegar. In my opinion, they should have used the orange-citrus marinade to create a vinaigrette, as this salad was dry without it.
The Final Say
First things first, you probably want to know how all the prices of these companies compare. Blue Apron and Hello Fresh only allow you to choose three meals per week, whereas Plated and Home Chef let you choose as many meals as you want. Plated however, has a minimum of 4 plates. Home Chef has no minimum of meals, but you will pay $10.00 for shipping if you do not meet a $40.00 total. Below is a chart of prices for a box of three dinners for 2 people, avoiding all the minimums, shipping fees and choices, so that you can have a relative comparison.
|Company Name||Prices: Three meals for 2 people|
|Hello Fresh *
*Prices have been raised since June 2015 when this review was written. Prices were updated March 2016 *
Now for each of these, I used promotional codes that were offered to new subscribers. If you are interested in trying one or all of these companies, I would suggest liking them on Facebook to receive their promotions. Also you can search for these codes online. If you do not want to continue your service, remember to cancel your subscription so that your account is not charged each week. Each service allows you to skip weeks so that you are able to control what you are eating and how often a box arrives.
As far as calories go, Plated and Blue Apron boast meals in the range of 550-700 calories per serving. However, Hello Fresh had two of three meals in the 800-calorie range (click the blue name to see the meals) . From the Home Chef meals that I selected (see above photos), the range of calories was 510 to 677. Yet, when looking online at all the options, there were recipes in the 900-1000 calorie range.
Home Chef allows you to choose from 11 recipes, including one breakfast, and Plated has you choose from 8 recipes including an $18-$24 Chef’s Table special. With these two companies, you have more of a variety to choose from. Blue Apron offers 6 recipes for a 2-Person Plan and 4 for a Family Plan. Hello Fresh offers 5 recipes for the Classic Box and 3 for the Veggie Box.
Taste-wise, Hello Fresh and Home Chef were phenomenal. However, for Hello Fresh I chose Fried Won Tons and Swedish Meatballs, both unhealthy options. They were extremely flavorful and exciting to make, but as a health conscious foodie, I would not make those decisions every week. Furthermore, Home Chef allowed me to choose low-calorie meals that were delicious! We savored each bite and enjoyed the guilt-free meals. I was impressed at how flavorful the Thai Fish Cakes were, given that the meal was only 521 calories! When we ate our Blue Apron meals, we threw out the Rice and Beans and only ate half of the Jambalaya. They were flavorless. Still overall, Blue Apron had the most unique ingredients, which was a perk for a foodie like me. To see all the meals we cooked and tasted click on the company’s name: Plated, Blue Apron and Hello Fresh.
My final ruling is that Home Chef is a worthy contender to Blue Apron, Plated and Hello Fresh. Not only is it the most affordable of the four companies, Home Chef offers the most recipes and dietary options. Additionally, Home Chef includes a breakfast, smoothie and fruit basket option that no other company offers. Home Chef also offers gluten-free and dairy-free subscriptions. When I asked Blue Apron and Plated about this, both said that their ingredients are prepared in facility that stores and processes items containing gluten. They also said to use your best judgment when selecting meals. Hello Fresh did not reply. Overall, Home Chef’s meals were excellent and healthy. The runner up is Hello Fresh (click to read full review).
Now the choice is up to you. If you are in a good food mood and want to be pampered, let one of these food delivery services cater to your needs. Please post questions, pictures or comments, I love knowing about your experiences!
Read my Try the World review for an international foodie experience.
Watch my family prepare and review Home Chef’s Sweet Chilli Garlic Shrimp, and get $30 off of your first order of Home Chef here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UERllNJLEo&list=PLfiklpBmJhxR95V7AkrOREDZ2D-MTNTuy
Hello Maria. I just wanted to say your website if fabulous and your review sounds really good. However, I just want you to know what many customers are saying including myself about Home Chef in particular. Aside from what you shared…I hope you do publish this if you are truly wanting to give people an honest review. You cannot cancel your account once you begin delivery, your ability to reschedule your deliveries does not function. You are charged for canceled orders. You can pause your account but not cancel it even if you no longer want there service. I ordered for a family of 4 bi-weekly. You get tons of the same thing even when you have different meal plans like tons of Green beans, mushrooms, tomatoes. You get the same chicken, beef cuts, and ground turkey. Tons of lettuce, spinach and other highly perishable foods. Boxes are not packed well, they are mishandled and arrive torn or beat up. Meat has drained blood from temperature changes. I had a death in the family. I have called customer service 2 weeks prior to me leaving town to advise them that I had requested my order to be canceled until Jan. 31st. I still received my orders at my door, and CHARGED to my bank account. Which left me out of town unable to get a hotel room to stay close to the family while we mourned at the hospital. I had to find money to travel back home because they still charged me for my order. Now mind you… this was the second time they did this. So, I am at the point now that I had to give them notice. If they repeat this again, I am going to file a lawsuit against them. A good business ethics means, communicate with your customers, listen to their complaints and try to resolve them without having to have a legal authority involved. A good business allows customers the opportunity to easily cancel their account especially under emergency situations. I hope you are honest and post this comment because there are many people with similar complaints. I am disabled and on a very limited income. To pay almost $200 per delivery is huge for me. I thought since I don’t drive much that having the convenience of the delivery would be easier and now I regret it because I have been overcharged for food that ended up in the garbage.
I have been a Home Chef customer for almost a year and have had primarily good experiences. I have had no difficulty pausing the service when I was out of town.
Also I am a picky eater- no shellfish or pork-and I told them that when I signed up
if I missed their deadline I received food I could not eat- so I gave it to the cat that lives outside- and sometimes she would not eat it!
It took forever to cancel my subscription….and I did threaten to call my credit card company!
I would like someone to talk sous vide preparation. It seems too new for most but there is a reason that almost all 5-star restaurants in France and the US cook sous vide. Oh, and me too, since 2010. I like my food tender, and tasty and SV gives me that.
BTW, I am just a sous vide cook and not connected with any of the equipment makers.
Click the link to watch a video featuring the prep and taste testing of Home Chef’s Sicilian Shrimp Risotto! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4UPuD-DOKU&list=PLfiklpBmJhxR95V7AkrOREDZ2D-MTNTuy&index=4 And get a $30 off coupon for your first order of Home Chef!
We have tried both Blue Apron and Hello Fresh. My husband loved the Blue Apron meals, saying they tasted like they came from a restaurant. They were a little more detailed to prepare, but not difficult by any means. The recipes from Hello Fresh lacked the “special” factor. It tasted much like the stuff I prepare every day. I didn’t even see the need to save the recipe cards. And the choices on Hello Fresh were heaving on the pork side, with beef seeming to be a “premium” choice, more often than not.
Home Chef will continue to deliver/charge credit card when account has been paused (there is no cancellation option). Discovered again today that Home Chef has charged another meal delivery. Account profile will not let you remove credit card information so it continues to charge and deliver meals that you would never select. This Company’s operating practice of continuing to charge is unethical.
Just a common sense word to all the people having bad issues with Home Chef. Or any other company for that matter. Simply call your credit card company and have them BLOCK Home chef from charging your card!! It really is that simple and takes only 5 minutes. In this day and age with all the competition out there, absolutely STELLAR customer service is a MUST!! accept NOTHING LESS!! Are you really going to pay for food that arrived rotten? They are a food delivery service! If they cant do there end of the bargain than they need to step aside and let the competent company take over. Amazon is a great example of a GREAT COMPANY! We deserve that kind of greatness for our hard earned money!! In the end IMHO, Its just better to go to the store. Shopping is not so hard all the time. Sometimes its fun, sometimes you meet interesting people. Its a good reason to get out in the world! Good luck!
I am enjoying home chef. I have been able to go on the website and skip meals I dont want, and I only get the meals about once a month. I have never been charged for those meals I have skipped. I have not tried to cancel all together, but the blocking the company from charging your card idea sounds like a good one if you have the trouble. That said I dont know why some people are having such issues where I have not had any. Hopefully my luck continues.
I can’t figure out what a serving is. Is that an entire meal for one person, or just a single item for one person, which is what the term normally means? Like “a serving of mashed potatoes contains 126 calories.” $10/serving is way too expensive if they are using the term in the standard way, but it’s pretty reasonable for the meals shown. I wish they would just use the regular word or at least explain that a serving is not a serving but a meal, if that is the case. I do realize you are just using their word, but their website NEVER EXPLAINS what a serving is.
I have tried Home Chef, Blue Apron, Plated and Hello Fresh. We chose Home Chef to be the company we wanted our meals from. The variety is great and you can choose from Chicken, pork, fish, beef, salads, etc. each week. I have never had any problem with canceling my meals. I was gone 2 1/2 months and all meals were canceled and my credit card was not charged. The packaging is super great. They come in a solid box with a 1/2 inch pad and lots of ice packs. Our box has been on the porch sometimes for hours due to schedules and our food was always fresh. The meats are phenomenal with taste, quality, and freshness. I have never, ever seen dry blood and we have been ordering meals for over 2 years. The meats are vacuum packed so I don’t see where they could have dried blood on them. Also, when you choose your meals, you can see the ingredients, preparation with photo’s before ordering. The Recipe card is shown front and back. We have had the delight of using spices, flavorings, etc. that we probably wouldn’t have experience on our own. We tried duplicating some of the meals and found we spent a lot more money on the ingredients. You may only need a teaspoon of the ingredient but left with a whole bottle to store. Hands down to Home Chef. They currently have 11 meals to choose from each week, plus lunch meals and smoothies.