In the era of drone-delivered pizzas and ubiquitous frozen slop, it’s comforting to know the time-poor can still get an array of fresh home-cooked dinner options delivered to their door.
Subscription boxes are everywhere right now, catering for the most fervent carnivore to the devout vegan. From ready-made meals to those with all the ingredients just waiting to be whipped up in a matter of minutes, there really are no excuses for nipping back to your local fish and chip shop, night after night.
To find out more about what the fuss is all about, we accepted the kind offer to try three dishes from the vegetarian menu of one of the newer players in the meal-kit market, the Sydney-based Chef’s Palate.
The brainchild of executive chef Alex James, whose passion for food was first ignited as a young boy, helping his grandmother tend to their small family farm in Southern Europe, Chef’s Palate spruiks its point of difference as having a paddock to plate freshness with a touch of chef-flair.
Really, they had us hooked with the ‘ready in under 20 minutes’ line.
Alex and his team package up the freshest ingredients and deliver them to your door with an idiot-proof recipe card that will turn you into an Oliver or Lawson in, well, less than 20 minutes.
Here’s what we tried (all meals serve two) – click here for pricing options and more menus. All you’ll need to get started are basic pots, pans, utensils, oil and seasoning.
Your end: We won’t bore you with the intricate details, other than to say if you can boil water, you’re on to winner. The eight-point recipe card (an added bonus if you want to try this again), spells out the process in a way that’s impossible to botch. The most technical part comes in the bonus ‘chef’s notes’, where Alex shares tips on how to turn up the chilli heat.
Verdict: This was my fave by far. Not as rich and heavy as the other two we tried, and a flavour-packed balance between proteins and carbs.
Roast Pumpkin & Gorgonzola Gnocchi
Gorgonzola cream sauce
Your end: If you’re really smashed for time, but are hoping to impress, this is the dish for you! Three steps and nine minutes later and you are rounding third base and sliding for home.
Verdict: This is the ultimate vegetarian comfort food, and a great option if you’re trying to wean yourself off meat. It’s a carb-monster at 91g per serve, but you deserve it after the day you’ve had.
Roast Pumpkin & Nutmeg Flavoured Linguine
Handmade pumpkin & nutmeg pasta
Homemade Pasta sauce
Your end: A four-step 14-minute process that makes cooking toast with vegemite look difficult. Even then, a thoughtful Alex is there to hold our hand with a handy note on how to cook the pasta to perfection.
Verdict: Packed with flavour and perfectly balanced. Yes, there are more carbs here too, but it’s also the lowest of the three dishes on the calorie-front at 422 (100 or so less than the others).