Cooking can be either your best friend or your worst nightmare. For me, a college student with no prior experience making my meals, it was always the latter. Then, a box of HelloFresh popped up at my door. For those unaware, HelloFresh is a subscription meal service that delivers fresh ingredients to you based on a vast array of recipes and plans to fit your cooking needs. HelloFresh offers three unique functions: the Classic, Veggie, or Family Plans, as well as a diverse, rotating list of recipes that gets updated weekly. HelloFresh lets you choose what you want to eat, pay for the number of servings you will be making, and they offer free cancellation when, or if, you ever want to skip a week.
For what’s branded as a simple, delicious, and diverse subscription service offering the freshest ingredients and excellent dinner-time experiences, the presentation is indeed all there. The box is delivered with complete insulation and incorporated ice packs. That way, your food is guaranteed to stay fresh for when you pick it up at your door. Inside the box, you get your three meals, each distinctly labeled in brown, recyclable bags. These bags are layered atop the frozen meats for the main dishes, which for me included New York Strip Steak, Chicken Breast, and Pulled Pork. I even got a fancy apron with the logo included, which was an added surprise!
Looks can be deceiving, however, as I was under the impression that this was going to be a beginner’s guide to creating full course meals. I decided to open up the New York Strip Steak with Truffle Butter. It was a 40 minute estimated cook time, which instead took two college kids about 90 minutes to complete correctly. Each recipe includes an instruction card, but these can be a bit vague for those of us who do not know how big a “sprig of thyme” could be. I would recommend studying the recipe card altogether, and making sure everything is lined up correctly on the kitchen counter before beginning your prep. At times, instructions can be very demanding for premium meals such as this one.
Once we had a good grasp on the food we were making, there were little to no hiccups along the way to production. Note that not everything you need comes in the box, as the service expects you to have olive oil, butter, and even some cooking utensils on hand that not every kitchen may be stocked up with. Additionally, we ended up having to use two pots, two pans, and one baking sheet, which seemed overwhelming for two college kids making two servings of food.
Let me tell you, though; I would have never believed I could have created a meal as exquisitely good as I did that night. The truffle butter and Beef Demi-Glace sauce were phenomenal additions to overlay atop the perfectly fresh steak. The mashed potatoes were creamy and flavorful, and you could tell with each bite that the asparagus itself was picked and packaged to perfection. We were left gasping in awe at the quality of meal two amateur cooks had created, despite the lengthier-than-anticipated process.
So what’s the verdict? What does the “unseasoned chef” have to say about HelloFresh? It’s a must try at some point in your life, that’s for sure! While beginners might want to pick up a few more skills before subscribing, anyone with a suitable background in cooking can benefit from the classic spins HelloFresh puts on your favorite, familiar recipes. One thing I can say is that the high-resolution pictures included with the recipe cards helped a ton for beginners like me. Right now, no subscription kitchen service delivers the same quality that HelloFresh does. That doesn’t even cover their retail-packaged meals sold in nearly 600 grocery stores, their “Dinner 2 Lunch (™)” specialty recipes that are crafted to lead into your next-day leftovers, and a full wine subscription selection that pairs specifically to the meals you are prepping.
Now excuse me, I have my next meal to cook: Pulled Pork Mac ‘n Cheese!