We Tried ChefMade And Here’s What Happened

Find out if this company is worth the try.

Prepping lunch and dinner is a common problem for any working person. We love our food, and meals are not to be skipped. This is why we are often in the conundrum of either purchasing food outside or stressfully throwing together a mediocre meal. Problems: takeaway isn’t affordable and because we’re pressed for time, homemade meals don’t usually end up being healthy. Even worse, let’s face it, all plans to cook a well-balanced meal go out of the window when the stress and fatigue of the 9-to-5 workday gets to you. So unless you are blessed to still have mum or dad prepare meals for you, then we’re certain that the struggle is real!

Have no fear, though, ChefMade is attempting to solve all of your problems with a service that offers meal plan options for single persons or families. The weekly meal plan includes up to either 5 or 10 prepared meals that are delivered ready-to-eat. Your only job is to stick it in the microwave. They’re all natural, high-protein, balanced and free of refined sugars. Therefore, you get a healthy meal delivered to your home or workplace that can be prepared in two minutes flat. (Say what?!) This service ticked all our boxes and considering it’s the first of its kind, the Propa Eats team decided to test it out.

We ordered 5 out of the 8 meals they had to offer. (They have since expanded their options, though.) You can pick up to five of the same meal however, we ordered five different meals to taste their varied offerings. For five meals, we paid $300, which works out to $60 a meal. However, if you bought ten, then the price reduced by $5 per meal, meaning that you only pay $550. The only confusing element of the process was payment for the service. On the website we asked to pay for the meals via credit card but when the order was completed, the website informed us to pay with cash upon delivery. It seems as if your credit card is only used as insurance. We made this order on Monday and it was delivered on Wednesday, as promised within the brand’s timeline. (Plus, our delivery guy—whose name might be Michael?—was delightful to deal with.)

Before digging in, we all agreed on two things: 1. this is such a convenient service and 2. ChefMade’ s customer care is superb.

So does this sound too good to be true? 

Our team tasted each meal and gave their thoughts on the presentation, taste and value for money, so you’ll know what you’re getting yourself into if you decide to buy a round of meals.

Basmati Rice With Pink Salmon

Presentation

This was one of the more beautiful and conceptual presentations. The salsa sitting on top of the salmon added a nice pop of colour. The rice was flavoured with saffron, which gave it a beautiful yellow colour. The salmon was also perfectly pink. We definitely thought that this presentation was a winner!

Taste

The salmon still had its skin on which was smart of Chef-Made as it ensured that the fish stayed moist even through microwaving. As for flavour, one of our test-tasters thought the salmon needed a touch of lime and, like most Trinidadians prefer, a spoonful of pepper! However, the rice was spicy and compensated for that. Coconut milk added creaminess and tempered the slight spiciness of the rice. Originally, we thought the salsa wouldn’t survive the microwave, but much to our surprise, neither the freshness nor the flavour was compromised. And the acidity from the tomatoes complemented the salmon nicely. There weren’t any vegetables, though, and that we found a bit disappointing since these meals are marketed as well-balanced.

Value for Money

The general consensus was that the portion of the meal was very small. The lack of vegetables also made us question its worth. However, considering it is salmon and that we thoroughly enjoyed it, we forgave this and agreed that the price is fair.

What we thought:

“I would eat this and be happy.”
“Good size for a woman but it’s not man-sized!”
“All men I know would look at this and ask, ‘So it’s the appetiser?’

Rating: 9/10

Quinoa with Stuffed Spinach Chicken Breasts

Presentation

Our team decided that this was the most scrumptious-looking and beautifully-plated meal. The chicken was grilled to perfection and the carrots and green beans offered brightness with vibrant orange and green hues.

Taste

The quinoa was delicious and fluffy despite it being a little too acidic. However, the apple cider vinegar (we think?) added a refreshing and light touch to this heavy meal. The stuffed chicken breast was crisp on the outside and juicy inside, but the filling lacked spinach. Many taste-testers hardly even recognised it was there. The vegetables were crunchy and flavourful—there was a stir-fry-like smokiness to it.

Value for money

The meal was hearty and protein packed. Considering the price, the convenience of the product and the fact that quinoa, an expensive ingredient was featured, we believe that this meal is worthy of its price tag. Let’s not forget, it was pretty darn tasty.

What we thought:
“The cheese thing is a nice lil surprise.”
“First time I ever eat quinoa. I have to say, it was a nice first time.”
“I rel like this. I could get down with this.”

Rating: 8.5/10

Mushroom Risotto with Roasted Vegetables

Presentation

The presentation was unfortunately unappealing. The risotto, which we know to be loose and silky at Italian restaurants, was clumpy and overcooked. The vegetables had a grey undertone that didn’t look too appetising.

Taste

Though the appearance of the meal did not promise much, its flavour impressed some of us. Two out of the four tasters appreciated the flavour of the risotto as they tasted hints of white wine and Parmesan cheese. Half the test-tasters found the vegetables soggy, while the other half found them crunchy. It seems that the eggplant (melongene or baigan, whichever you prefer) was overcooked to mush but the zucchini was still spot on.

Value for Money

You are essentially paying $60 for rice and vegetables and though the rice was tasty its texture was off-putting. If you’re going to dish out $60 for rice and vegetables, we expect the portions to be bigger, prettier and tastier.

What we thought:
“Buckley’s effect—you know you’re going to lose weight if it tasting this terrible.”
“A lot needs to be worked on with timing.”
“Love the subtle hint of wine.”

Rating: 5/10

Seared Steak Tuna with Potatoes and Vegetables

Presentation

The fish was grey and though the website described it as “seared,” no heat marks were present. The potatoes looked burned and, generally, weren’t appealing. Overall, the presentation was not inviting.

Taste

The tuna was cooked rare, which is expected for this type of fish—however, not everyone prefers their steak rare and unfortunately there was no option to state how well you would like the meat done. The fish was salty as hell and needed more dimension. The tuna microwaved well and didn’t taste as though it was reheated, a big achievement by ChefMade. (I mean, have you ever reheated fish? That scenario doesn’t always have a happy ending.) Sadly, the potatoes were grainy and burnt. The green beans were the winner in this meal, though—they were crunchy and seasoned to perfection. 

Value for Money

This meal gains extra points considering the fact that tuna was the featured protein and reheated well. However, the potato’s poor potential to reheat and the lack of overall flavour throughout each bite casts doubt in the price. So, we’re back to ground zero. Overall, we would not purchase this meal for $60 again but we may do it for $45, only if that includes pepper sauce.

What we thought:
“Edible, not like I need to do this again.”
“Good crunch on green beans!”

Rating – 7.5/10

Steak & Creamy Spinach Vegetable Mock Hash

Presentation

The presentation lacked colour and everything was placed so poorly in the box. The sauce looked so thick that it was intimidating and the steak and mock hash had a droopy appearance.

Taste

The squash was very stringy and lacked salt, although it had a light sprinkling of cinnamon, which stole the cake. The potatoes were very grainy and had no real flavour. The steak had very mixed reviews from our team. We all agreed that it had a very ‘fresh’ taste, which may be accounted for by its lack of seasoning but we also excused this since it’s very difficult to make reheated meat taste good. ChefMade, however, scores points for maintaining the tenderness of the meat. The steak was cooked medium-well, which may be a bit too undercooked for some Trinidadians—again, there was no option to state your desired cooking temperature. Everyone thought it cut like butter, but the steak fell short on appearance and, most importantly, flavour.

No one commented on the creamy spinach because it was basically non-existent. There were flecks of spinach in a thick layer of curdled butter, which seemed pointless since it  tasted like nothing.

Value for Money

Steak is an expensive piece of meat, however both potatoes and squash are not highly-priced produce. Also, considering that the meal itself was not palatable to our team, we determined that it was not worth the $60 price tag.

What we thought:
“Tastes like when my mother candies things which I hate,” (referring to mock vegetable hash).
“I love cinnamon but not on this.”
“If I had the choice to pay for this, I wouldn’t.”

Rating – 6/10

FINAL VERDICT

Our team concluded that the concept around the service is well-thought out and unlike anything offered in Trinidad. The service itself is convenient and takes the headache out of planning, meal-prep and cooking. However, two people could actually feed themselves elsewhere for $60 combined. That’s just the cost of ONE ChefMade meal.

With that being said, you are also paying for the delivery and convenience of these meals. Additionally, they’re nutritious and individually-portioned—that’s not something readily-available at most local restaurants. So, it is ideal for those who suck at cooking, have a hectic schedule, want to lose weight and are able to afford lunch or dinner for $60 on a regular basis. But given the option to purchase this again, we would not. The quality of the meal is just not worth it.

 

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3 Comments
  1. I travel a lot and decided to try these ChefMade meals. I think the meals are well planned but the portions are way too small. I was expecting a lot more food in those boxes. There are nutrition programs to join in Trinidad where they deliver the meals once a week but they’re all pretty much the same. I wish I had the time to prep my own meals.

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