Fresh Prep is a Vancouver-based local meal delivery service. They send a cooler bag full of pre-measured ingredients to make healthy and unique recipes. I was sent two meals; A Crispy Baked Goat Cheese & Strawberry Spinach Salad, and Cod Tikka Masala with Cauliflower & Ginger Infused Rice. Here’s what I thought.
First of all, it’s difficult for me, personally, to not be completely and overly critical of a service such like this, given that I create new, unique, recipes almost on a daily basis. And I live with a 2-michelin star chef. We’re quite possibly the worst people to cook for – BUT that’s why I decided to go into this as a person with zero cooking experience. And what I found was that it’s not bad at all.
I’ll start with the things I loved.
Getting home from a long hard day at work, to find a Donald’s Market insulated bag sitting outside my front door, was pretty damn amazing. That feeling of “oh god, what do I make for dinner” was completely gone from my mind. It was right there for me. And I didn’t even need to stop at the grocery store. I mean, if that’s not enough of a perk for some, then I don’t know what is.
The packing job was fantastic. Each meal is contained within a brown paper bag or “lunch bag”. One you cook the night you receive your bag, and the other you toss in the fridge for the next night. Your dinner is already decided for you!
Now, onto the recipes. The Tikka Masala tasted fantastic. The spice paste that comes with the meal is out of this world, and truthfully I may even try and recreate that myself. The ginger infused rice was killer. I was skeptical at first but it was perfumed enough to actually shine, and was the perfect vehicle to soak up the yummy masala sauce. I would have that meal again and again.
Ok. So I know it seems like there are few positives, as I’m already going into my negatives, but remember that flavour and simplicity are king. The next things I’m going to say are completely my own neurotic mind that is really rooting for this company and their service, but think there may be a few things that should be addressed, and potentially done differently. And predominantly they have to do with the recipes.
First of all, I chose to order the salad for a strategic reason. Salad ingredients don’t travel well. And one of my biggest pet peeves is the aroma that comes off of slightly off lettuce/spinach leaves. To my surprise, the spinach wasn’t THAT bad. A few leaves had to come out of the mixture but it really wasn’t terrible. What was upsetting was 1) the recipe didn’t have any salt in the quinoa, and 2) my goat cheese/nut mixture burned…. and I followed the recipe TO A TEE.
This salt issue ended up being a trend, which upset me more. The next night while making the rice, there was NO SALT added to the cooking water. No salt in rice??? I couldn’t do it. So I broke my own rules (of following the recipes to a tee), and added a pinch of salt. Guess what though…. remember how I said the ginger-infused rice was one of my favourite things? I likely wouldn’t have said that if I didn’t add that salt.
And finally, the timing and heat level of the masala recipe ended up burning the sauce a little bit. Which was slightly disappointing.
I feel as though the negatives are easily fixed. Add salt to any starch – that’s literally Cooking 101 – and temperature needs to be adjusted through the cooking process. Goat cheese isn’t going to bake at 425F. It’s going to melt, and/or burn.
I really want this type of service to thrive, so in general, it was a great experience. I think, in light of the social world, and bloggers, and the like, most people are fortunate enough to know that adding salt to rice is kind of standard thing, so likely they will alter the recipes to suit their needs and wants. Right? Well, I hope so – because the convenience was superior to anything else I have said in this entire post.
Keep going Fresh Prep – there are PLENTY of Vancouverites that will use this service – just add salt to the recipes! And be careful of the salads. 🙂 And to all of the readers of this post, if you are that person who loves to cook, but just can’t find the time, or energy, to search for a recipe nor get your butt to a grocery store, then click the link here, and get 3 FREE plates from Fresh Prep. The second you order your meals, your stress level will decrease. And when does that ever happen when we spend money, or have to make dinner?
Our meal deliveries from Fresh Prep were complimentary but all opinions are my own.