Two significant events occurred in my life this past May. I finally learned how to cook a grilled cheese sandwich and delightedly welcomed my first child into the world. Realizing that my deficiencies in the kitchen put me at a major disadvantage in the world of child rearing, I was resolved to refine my culinary skills.
After a couple serviceable attempts in the kitchen—a decent veggie burger, a not-too-clumpy homemade alfredo sauce—I felt indifferent, uninspired, and still relatively pedestrian as a chef. But in a simple whisk of fate, Plated.com arrived at our office. Plated is a new start-up that allows you to pick and choose healthy recipes online, then sends all the ingredients right to your door complete with dummy-proof cooking instructions.
Plated features a weekly menu—everything from warm kale and quinoa salad to London broil—and gives you two different ways to order. The a la carte method allows you to order four to six plates at about $15 per plate. (A “plate” is a serving for one person.) There’s also a membership option wherein you pay $10 per month and save up to $4 per plate.
Plated thinks there is a gourmet chef in all of us, and their program is designed to take the inconvenience out of culinary pursuits. It also came highly recommended from fellow DIR staffer Lacy Jaye Hansen.
— Lacy Jaye Hansen (@lacyjhansen) June 6, 2013
Overjoyed at the thought of eliminating stressful trips to the grocery store with a fussy baby, I opted to start my Plated journey with Barbecue Chicken and Peanut Udon Noodles with a Cabbage slaw, placed my order, and received my package a week later. While all of the ingredients were labeled and proportioned in the exact quantities the recipe called for, I was dismayed when I realized the meat had spoiled because I hadn’t received a heads up on the shipping date and the box wasn’t labeled to refrigerate. Skeptical at the “ready in 30 minutes or less” claim, and intimidated by the fancy sounding recipe (remember, I was still churning out soggy grilled cheeses), I placed all necessary mixing bowls and utensils on the kitchen table and bit my lip.
I was flying all over the kitchen. My girlfriend and month old son watched in suspended disbelief, mouths agape. I was determined not to screw it up, and the step by step instructions were so dad-friendly that I probably couldn’t have if I tried. Fifteen minutes in, the chicken was smothered in BBQ sauce and baking, the udon noodles were cooked, and my peanut sauce and cabbage were prepared and patiently waiting to be, well, plated.
House not aflame, I removed the chicken and plated my food with an artistic command that would have made Julia Child weep. After we each shed a single tear, my girlfriend and I began to eat; and it was delicious. The chicken was juicy and tangy. The peanut noodles were creamy and tender. The cabbage slaw was citrusy and just bitter enough to complement the entire dish. Under my breath I whispered, “I am all that is man.” My girlfriend, impressed but still rooted in reality, told me “good job” and “you better clean this up.”
And therein lies my only complaint with Plated.com. They made everything so easy and accessible that I was left to ask, is sending someone to clean up the kitchen too much to ask?
DietsInReview.com received sample product from Plated.com and the brand is an advertising partner.