Home Chef Food Delivery Review
Home Chef is a food delivery service that is based in Chicago, Illinois. The company produces weekly meal kits delivered to your home. The subscriptions based service included kits contain pre-portioned ingredients and recipe cards. The kits are delivered weekly to most of the United States. Founder and CEO, Pat Vihtelic started Home Chef in June 2013.
The company was founded in 2013 by founder and CEO Pat Vihtelic. It was one of the first food delivery services. The goal of the company is to provide everything you need to bring more delicious meals and moments to the table, no matter how busy you are. According to their website, simplicity is their mantra, and preparing and enjoying a home-cooked meal should be a simply delicious experience.
Home Chef claims to be a chef-centered service that “design delicious, easy-to-follow recipes” and their “team has grown to include several chefs, and more than 700 employees across production, marketing, technology, product, design, and customer service”. They reportedly delivered over 10 million meals and expanded our delivery to cover more than 97% of the U.S. population. They claim to have the advantage of saving time, reducing food waste, and bringing people together for a home-cooked meal.
I decided to try Home Chef after receiving a coupon for $20 off a box of their food. I had already tried Blue Apron and decided to try more of the food delivery services. I ordered my first box in February, and I decided to write this article to review my experience. I have ordered 12 boxes over the last eight months. This article is an honest review of the Home Chef meals and delivery. I have not received any payment from Home Chef outside of the discount on my first box that they give every new customer.
Summary of my review
|Quality Of Ingredients|
|Organization of Ingredients|
|Price / Value|
|Ease of Cooking|
|Taste / Deliciousness|
- Simplicity – When learning to cook, it is essential that the recipes come with the food and they are detailed so you can learn to cook. The recipes are easy to understand and follow as you learn to cook.
- Less meal planning – You will be able to reduce planning by letting Home Chef do it for you.
- Less shopping – Less shopping is my favorite thing about Home Chef and meal delivery services in general. I have the meals shipped to me so I can avoid most of the grocery stores. I buy only a few essential items and water. Out in less than 30 minutes.
- Organized Ingredients – Each meal, except the meat, is in a separate ziplock bag. This method is ultra-convenient and allows you to cut up the ingredients on weekends and cook them at a later time. I often cut on Sunday and put them in sandwich bags and reseal them in the original baggies to maintain organization.
- Portion control and less food waste – Portion sizes of vegetables and seasoning lead to less waste and better portion control. Portion control will lead to weight loss if you do not snack between meals.
- Recipe Variety – The recipe options are a low carbohydrate, low calorie, vegetarian, and non-vegetarian recipes that will create a more diverse list of options than Blue Apron. There are also smoothies and fruit selections each week and special additions around the holidays such as pumpkin pie.
- Quick to make – Home Chef’s recipes are all made in 30 minutes or less.
- Smaller ice packs – The ice packs are more usable in size, and the gel is flushable. I tend to reuse them.
- Nutritional Information – The nutritional information is readily available online. My only beef is that the online nutritional information often does not include fiber content.
- Website – Home Chef has the easiest website to use, and the best part is you can pause or cancel your account with the push of a button on your mouse. It is easy to change your mind and restart also.
- Mobile app – Home Chef has a mobile app that is easy to use.
- Limited paleo and gluten-free options – Gluten-free or Paleo are very limited to non-existent.
- Some meals are time-intensive – Washing and cutting up all the ingredients and cooking them can take some folks a lot of time depending on the skill of the cook. I wanted to learn to cook so more time is required to achieve this knowledge. You may find it less attractive.
- Portion sizes are small – If you are trying to lose weight, they might be ideal for some people who are active and require more calories. I found this ideal for my weight loss plans.
Packaging: Unboxing Home Chef
When I opened my first box of Home Chef, I was truly impressed with everything from the insulated packing to the organization to the ingredients. Except for the lack of the “knick-knack” pack, Home Chef at first appearance is superior to Blue Apron. I will continue to compare as I order from even more companies. A typical box is shown above in Figure 1. Although Figure 2 shows a typical box as depicted on the Home Chef website I have never seen one in that condition delivered to me.
In the box, you will find your recipe cards in the top of the box (see Figure 3). Only once did I get the recipes inside the side of the box and I called to explain their mistake since the cards were wet. The box is insulated with recyclable cotton insulation that is wrapped in plastic. I have used the insulation to make a throw
pillow. Once you fold back the insulation, you will notice that the ingredients are included in their own little ziplock baggie. Once you remove them, you will find medium-size ice packs with the meat in the bottom in a ziplock baggie to prevent leakage. The meat is kept cold by two layers of ice packs. Everything remained nice and cold during shipping as long as you get them on the day of delivery. Often, the meat remained frozen.
Quality of the Ingredients
On one occasion, the ingredients spoiled during transit (FedEx failed to deliver it within two days, and the summer heat took over). The quality of the cucumbers, squash, and zucchini was perfect. Arugula was in good condition as long as it was used in 6 days. Unlike Blue Apron, Home Chef only gives you a minimal amount of garlic so garlic lovers might need to add extra. I like garlic, so I typically added extra. Usually, the ingredients looked almost as good as the contents in the photo from their website (Figure 4). The vegetables were rarely bruised. The meat is top-quality cuts of meat with minimal gristle and fat (see Figure 5). The meat is often contained in a ziplock baggie to prevent liquids from meat from getting all over the box (see Figure 6).
Organization of the Ingredients
The ingredients are exceptionally organized. About halfway through my 20 recipes, Home Chef switched to zip baggies from plastic baggies. The old plastic bags version can be seen in Figure 6. Both worked, but I welcomed the change because the zip hags allowed me to reseal the ingredients after I sliced the ingredients. On a rare occasion, larger vegetables such as a head of cauliflower or broccoli would be left free in the box, but rarely were they damaged (see Figure 7). I often organized the ingredients in sandwich or snack bags within the larger baggie they shipped in after prepping them. The pre-prep of ingredients in baggies allowed me to speed up my weekday prep times by prepping some ahead of time on weekends. The only thing not included in the individual meal ziplock baggie is the meat. The ziplock bags are a great method of organizing the ingredients (see Figure 6). The meat is in the front bag, and the produce and spices are in the three bags to the rear.
Price / Value
- For two: $59.70 ($9.95 per serving) for three meals, six total servings with free shipping.
- Seasonal fruit: $9.90 (4.95 a serving).
- Smoothies: $9.90 ($4.95 a serving).
Ease of Cooking
Home Chef’s recipes come printed on card stock (see Figure 8). The recipes provide simple step-by-step instructions on how to make the meals. The recipes are fairly easy to follow as long as you pay attention to the directions, but there is a slight learning curve if you have never cooked before. If you are unsure of a certain step, there are YouTube videos to help if you search for them. Heck, the recipes even contain some helpful photos to guide you along.
Home Chef’s recipes are less adventurous and artsy than Blue Apron. I rarely found all of the recipes enjoyable and never had any difficulty picking 3 for each week. In fact, I was disappointed when I had to skip a week due to work. It was easy to skip the week.
Taste of Recipes
I really liked all of the recipes from Home Chef. I especially liked the steak recipes, shrimp scampi, and the chicken alfredo. Home Chef has helpful in diversifying my diet and teaching me to cook. I was much less likely to skip a week on Home Chef than Blue Apron because the recipes have fewer odd ingredients.
Home Chef has done a good job making sure there is a good mix of protein, starches, and vegetables. There are plenty of options for those that are health conscious. There is not a lot of choices for gluten free or paleo if that is your focus. The nutritional information is easily found on the website (see Figure 9). The recipes typically have 400-600 calories, so they fit in the weight loss plan for most. My only beef is the nutritional information for fiber content is hard to find.
The website and app are easy to use. It is easy to pick your recipes for each week and skip one if you need to leave town for a week. The best part is you can cancel your subscription online without calling.
Overall, the packaging is near perfect. The ice packs are a perfect size, so you will be able to reuse them (see Figure 12). The ice packs are approximately 4-5″ x 5-7″. I put them in a freezer bag and reuse them. The insulated bag made of plastic (see Figure 10) and contains recycled cotton from blue jeans (see Figure 11). The two insulation pads are folded in a C shape to insulate all six sides of the box. I have not found it leaking from the box unless the ice packs leak. Home Chef has a lot of plastic packaging, but it is recyclable. Unlike Blue Apron, the ingredients did not drift all over the box during shipping. Like Blue Apron, I really like is the fact that Home Chef put the meat in a zip-top baggie. This way if it does leak, it is not all over the inside of the box.
Home Chef has a lot of plastic packaging, but it is recyclable. Unlike Blue Apron, the ingredients did not drift all over the box during shipping. Like Blue Apron, I really like is the fact that Home Chef put the meat in a zip-top baggie. This way if it does leak, it is not all over the inside of the box.
Out of the 22 weeks that I have received meals, I had one delay in delivery that resulted in lost meals. If the meals do not arrive on the day of delivery, often the meal is too warm to eat. Some of the ingredients are usable, but the meat and dairy are not. I guess 95% is great. In school, that would get you an “A+.” Home Chef was quick to give me another week to in place of the spoiled box of food.
In general, customer service was perfect. I had a terrific experience with Home Chef. I have contacted them by email and phone. They respond to emails within 24 hours during the workweek. They are polite on the phone and quickly solve all problems. They gave me credit for the meal that failed to arrive in excellent condition.
The Bottom Line
Home Chef graded out with 51.5 out of 55 possible stars for an average of 4.7 stars. I continue to use Home Chef and my follow up article may happen at 50 or 100 boxes. I would recommend Home Chef to anyone who loves to cook or wants to learn to cook. I would suggest it over Blue Apron because the recipes are little less adventurous and I just like the flavor more (your taste may be different). A lot of folks reported that it was expensive, but I do not agree. You have to make a large amount to save money over the Home Chef prices. Home chef impressed me with organized packaging and clear cooking instructions. I am deeply indebted to both Blue Apron and Home Chef for helping me expand my food selection and teaching me how to cook. My wife and I now enjoy cooking together, and I have learned how to cook and prepare meals. Home Chef’s recipes could fit into your weight loss or maintenance plans if you chose wisely of adjusting the portion size. If the recipe is too calorie rich for my plans, I divided it into quarters or thirds or quarters.