Battle of the Bite: Blue Apron vs. Plated

I am sitting here drinking a glass of Dry Riesling (from our amazing wine club, by the way) and digesting the amazing salmon I just had courtesy of Blue Apron.  What’s Blue Apron, you ask?  Well, let me tell you a story.

Those of you who know me “IRL” (in real life, Mom) know that I am somewhat resistant to new ideas that aren’t my own.  For example, when I love a product or service, I will recommend it to everyone I know – and sincerely hope they take my advice on it.  But when someone suggests something to me – especially if it involves any sum of money – I will almost always pooh-pooh it.  It’s like a reflex.  I’m not proud of it, but it happens.

Two of my clients and trusted friends suggested I try a recipe delivery service – in this case,  Plated or Blue Apron – and to both of them, I said “it sounds like a nice idea but I actually like to cook.”  To which they (in their obvious wisdom) responded, “then you are the PERFECT target audience!”

They were right.

The basic idea is this: with either service, you pay a delivery fee ($12-15 per plate for Plated; $60 per 6 plates for Blue Apron), you receive fresh, properly portioned, organic, whole ingredients to your doorstep (packed in individual, labeled packaging inside a cooler with ice), and you learn how to prepare it using a (detailed, full-color) recipe card.

Sounds like fun, right?  It is!

plated1 ba1We tried Blue Apron first, indicating that we were “omnivores” in our profile, and in the first week (all three meals get delivered on Tuesdays) we received Lamb Ragu, Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Kale Salad, and Rice-Cake Crusted Salmon.  The following week, with the same lack of dietary restrictions, we went head-to-head for comparison with Plated (two meals only), and received Redfish Roti and Asian Duck Tacos.

Before I reveal our winner, some points of note:

Blue Apron in Summary

  • More complicated recipes by far; mise-en-place took an average of 45 minutes
  • Creative ingredients – think preserved lemon, candy cane beets, or black garlic
  • Beautiful, full-color cookbook-worthy recipe cards, as well as a weekly letter explaining the origin/history of the meals and ingredients
  • Three meals (two plates each for us) costs $60 weekly

Plated in Summary

  • Easy recipes; mise-en-place took a maximum 30 minutes
  • Creative ingredients – we got duck as a protein which was a nice surprise
  • Very adaptable for dietary needs – can “deselect” nuts, dairy, spicy, soy, gluten, beef, chicken, fish, shellfish, pasta, or pork
  • Two meals (two plates each for us) costs $48 weekly, but you can order as many “plates” (for as many people) as you wish each week, a la carte

Let me say this – I am an experienced home cook, which means that I am always looking for a new challenge.  I love trying out ingredients that I’ve never worked with before, and I enjoy practicing my knife skills with different techniques (julienne, matchstick, etc.).  I am also a sucker for a beautiful presentation, cost is a consideration, and the people in my household have no dietary restrictions of any kind.  So in the end, we chose…

BLUE APRON! (applause)

What pushed it over the edge for me (besides price and recipe diversity) is that Blue Apron recently partnered with Top Chef, my favorite reality show, and offers a service wherein you can get the ingredients and recipe for the show’s winning recipe delivered to your doorstep two weeks after it airs.  How cool is that?

Now I feel like a baller whipping up the meals that pro chefs create – without the fear that I am messing up or wasting expensive ingredients.  It’s a win-win for amateur but creative cooks like myself.

Have you ever tried a recipe delivery service?  If you’re an avid home cook, where do you find new ideas for recipes/ingredients?

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