Wearing a Chef’s Hat with CHEFS
Back in 2016, I Love Foodies was invited to experience this brand new concept called CHEFS. To recap my review from then, CHEFS wanted to do things a little different for lunch. With a daily menu of only a few items, CHEFS served (and still serves) gourmet food, super fast and super efficiently. Almost everything is made in house and from fresh ethically sourced ingredients. The key here is quality, not mass-produced quantity, and the food, although pricey, is very, very good.
Flash forward 3 years. CHEFS is still going strong and is also serving dinner. And now, drum roll please, they also expanded into the delivery of ‘ready to eat’ and ‘ready to cook’ meals. The ‘ready to eat’ food is literally ready to eat. It is freshly cooked at CHEFS and is delivered to you in a flash. The ‘ready to cook’ food is a little different. It is freshly prepped in the CHEFS kitchen, but allows you, the consumer, to complete the meal with a step or two of cooking and so making it ready to eat. It goes without saying that the same CHEFS quality you can expect at the restaurant is also delivered to your door.
Now, as anyone who knows me can attest, cooking and I are not friends. I struggle with aprons. I have no idea how to make most things. And my signature dish is plain old scrambled eggs. The fact that kitchens scare me doesn’t bug me much. It’s just who I am and I’ve managed to survive so far☺.
But I am also not a “deliver fast food to my door” sort of person. Healthy, good food is super important to me and I am always conscious of what goes in my body. This is why I like the idea of the ‘ready to cook’ concept. Eating good food at home that doesn’t risk me burning down the kitchen? Hell yes! I was definitely ready to attempt the ‘ready to cook’ adventure.
How To Order
Registering online is super easy. You literally go to www.chefscapetown.co.za and add your details. Navigating the site is also a breeze. One tab shows you what is available at the restaurant that day, complete with beautiful photos and a description. The other tab shows you, again with pretty pics, which items you can order for delivery. These include the ‘ready to eat’ and ‘ready to cook’ meals, as well as some staples like wood-roasted nuts, cheeses, and biltong.
Once you have added your items to the cart, you select a date and time for delivery. I placed my order at 1 pm for a 13:30 to 13:45 delivery. Payment is via credit/debit, instant EFT, or Snapscan. An email confirms your order and an SMS informs you when the driver is on his way. Delivery costs R15 for the City Bowl, R35 for the Atlantic Seaboard, and R55 for the Southern Suburbs. You can also order via UberEats.
Sirloin with Sweet Potato Salad
This ‘ready to cook’ (R120) dish arrived with a vacuum-sealed, seasoned raw 160g sirloin, a cute little herb butter, 250g sweet potato salad and dressing, and the recipe card. The instructions were so easy to follow and, except for a little bit of salt, I needed no further ingredients.
To show you how easy it was, here are the complete instructions:
- Heat a non-stick pan on high
- Season the sirloin on both sides with salt
- Sear the sirloin on either side for 2 minutes until caramelised
- Place the butter on top of the cooked beef and allow the steak to rest for 2 minutes. The butter will melt and make a sauce for the steak
- Serve with the dressed sweet potato salad.
That’s literally all I did. And it was perfect. This would be a good time to mention that I have never (!) made a sirloin steak before, and the fact that I managed to make it, and that it was good, shows how fool-proof this experience is.
I felt on top of the world as I ate my delicious steak and amazing salad. Oh, the salad wasn’t just a sweet potato salad. It also contained beetroot, beans, rocket, feta, and almonds – and was to die for!
Soy Ginger Chicken
Next up I tried the soy ginger chicken (R105), a free-range sous vide chicken leg and thigh with soy, lime and ginger basting, Asian slaw, and lime buttered corn. My delivery contained the vacuum-packed raw chicken, a container with the basting and another one with the mint dressing for the salad, the vacuum-packed, cooked and grilled corn, and the super pretty recipe card.
For this dish, I was instructed to pre-heat the oven and place the chicken on top of lemon slices in a roasting tray.
Here I got a little heart attack, lemon slices?! This has happened to me before with some “we’ll deliver all the ingredients for this perfect meal” services, where they just assume you have all the other ingredients in your kitchen. But you don’t!
Anyway, back to CHEFS. I turned the chicken over and saw that it was already perfectly perched on lemon slices. Of course, I realised, CHEFS would never just send you half the ingredients!
Into the roasting tray the chicken leg went. I then poured the basting sauce over it and popped it into the oven for 12 minutes. During that time, I dished up the salad and heated the corn in the microwave. This was only the second time I’ve made chicken in the oven, and it was a complete success. CHEFS was making me feel like a proper kitchen pro!
Rosemary Chicken Supreme
I had wanted to try out CHEFS ‘ready to cook’ delivery service again in the new week. Luckily with Monday morning came an email from CHEFS letting me know what they would have available this week. There was a three-cheese wood-fired flatbread (R95), prawns with chopped corn salad (R145), Greek-style lamb with pita (R135), and sirloin with a chopped green salad (R120).
But it was the rosemary chicken supreme (R110) that immediately caught my eye. I just love roast chicken, and this one came with that incredible sweet potato salad I had the week before.
So I placed my order, just as easy as the first time, selected the time and date, and received the confirmation. My delivery arrived perfectly on time and I was ready to cook!
Again, easy peasy. I literally drenched the chicken breast with the basting, popped it in the oven, dressed the salad, and I was ready to eat just a little while later. The chicken was soft and succulent, perfect with the rosemary and buttermilk basting, and the salad, oh that is one good salad. Such happiness.
Turns out I really, really enjoyed this experience. I loved that it was so easy to order and that I could chose an actual time for delivery! I loved that everything was perfectly prepped and easy to understand. And I loved that I could eat good food, hot from the oven, in my own home without it costing me the time it would take to prep and cook from scratch, or to go out for a meal.
When CHEFS opened they aimed to serve fine dining, great quality food fast. They have just done the same thing with the delivery option. The convenience of a great meal delivered straight to your door added with the fact that you are completing the cooking process yourself means that you are guaranteed a fresh hot meal that is just perfect. Oh, and for someone like me, you get a spring in your step for free. Chef Sabine is one very happy accidental foodie.
Try CHEFS Ready To Cook Meals
CHEFS “ready to cook’ meals are available via their website for delivery daily and via UberEats. Menu options change daily/weekly due to focus on sustainability and availability of ingredients.
Thank you to CHEFS for inviting us to try the ‘ready to cook’ experience and to Trevor for setting it all up.
Article Date: November 2019
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