- Free delivery with most plans
- Some ingredients come precooked (with an extra fee)
- Consistent quality
- Reliable delivery service
- New recipes every week
- Recipes are often high on sodium and sugar
- Portion sizes tend to leave customers dissatisfied
- Too much packaging due to every ingredient being packaged separately
- Auto-renewal service typically results in surprise orders
- Not safe for those with serious dietary restrictions
- Only two serving size options
Meal kit services aren’t the most budget-friendly meal-time solution for Canadians. But along the spectrum of cost, Chefs Plate sits on the most affordable end. You can’t help but wonder if this is an indicator that the quality of the service/ingredients/recipes is lower as well.
Does one of Canada’s most affordable meal kit companies come with drawbacks that devalue its service?
Find out all the highlights and lowlights below. We have laid out everything you need to know before you sign up with Chefs Plate.
Recipe Quality and Taste
Chefs Plate goes the extra mile to create unique recipes for every palette. On their website, they share a video that breaks down their recipe development process. You can’t help but appreciate that level of transparency. The insight into their process shows just how much a customer is considered when creating recipes.
With 14 new recipes every week, there is no getting bored in the kitchen.
One week of recipes under the Classic plan featured the following flavours from around the world:
In that same week, the menu included all the standard protein options:
- Fish (Pollock)
- Plant protein (beans)
In comparison to other meal kits, that is a solid number of options to offer in a week.
But perhaps the most convincing element is that Canadian celebrity chefs Vikram Vij and Ned Bell have developed recipes for Chefs Plate. Collaborating with such well-respected chefs really speaks to the level of quality that Chefs Plate aims for in their recipes.
We do have a “heads up” for the health-conscious eaters, however. The food tends to be on the salty side and the sauces contain a significant amount of sugar. For instance, their Baked BBQ Chicken Tenders had 34 grams of sugar and the Smokey Bean and Cheese Quesadillas had 1830 mg of sodium per serving.
Quality of Ingredients
Although many meal kits claim that their ingredients are fresh, Chefs Plate actually backs it up. Their ingredients are sourced directly from Canadian farmers and suppliers.
And they only order exactly what is needed from their suppliers based on customers’ orders for the week. From a business perspective, bulk orders costs less which is why this is not common; their commitment to fresh ingredients is impressive. Bonus points for reducing food waste!
Their website lists their national partners and you can watch a video that explains how they source their ingredients. This level of transparency gives customers the ability to assess the quality of ingredients for themselves.
Finally, the low number of complaints about ingredients is proof that Chefs Plate customers are satisfied with the taste and quality. Overall, this is an area where Chefs Plate shines.
- Cooking Instructions: When you order, your delivery comes with easy-to-follow instructions that have accompanying pictures.
- Customer Support via Phone: You’re never waiting long when you phone in.
- Cooking Level: Every recipe on their menu indicates the difficulty level involved making it easy to select what you can handle. Cooking levels are true to what is indicated.
- Accurate Cooking Times: Cooking times are on point.
- Reliable Delivery: Chefs Plate has minimal delivery complaints. Ingredients are rarely missed and are just as fresh as they promise them to be.
- Set it and Forget it: For those who dream of not having to make any meal planning decisions whatsoever, the (default) auto-delivery feature allows you to do just that.
- Inconsistent Messaging: Upon signing up, you will be prompted to select, or opt-out of, “Dinner+Lunch”. There is no mention of that feature anywhere other than in their FAQ’s section. When we called in to get more information, the customer service representative didn’t know whether that was a current Chefs Plate offering and wasn’t able to confirm. This could potentially be a costly mistake for customers; it’s an extra $33.98 per week for those who opt-in. Even if Chefs Plate refunds that amount, it’s confusing and makes you wonder if they know what they’re doing.
- Online Customer Support: There is none—other than email support. Most companies offer customer service through online chat on their website or their social channels. Having said that, you’re never waiting long when you phone in.
- Cooking Instructions: Recipe cards are not available online. There is an opportunity to improve eco-friendly practices by making cooking instructions and other recipe information available online (or to download for offline use).
- Secret A La Carte Option: The a la carte option is only mentioned in the fine print. A large number of Chefs Plate’s customer complaints are about the auto-renewal charges. Customers will be even more irked to find out that it could have been avoided if they chose to pause their subscription and order a la carte instead.
- Weekly Dairy-free and Gluten-free Options are not Available: This is disappointing since both are increasingly common dietary preferences/needs.
- Small Portion Sizes: If you’re a big eater, you’ll be unimpressed with their portion sizes.
You can inform Chefs Plate of your taste preferences if you use the auto-delivery option. This way you can ensure that you receive recipes that don’t have certain ingredients such as pork, shellfish, beef, etc. However, Chefs Plate mentions that ingredients are exposed to allergens during processing in their facilities. So, if you have severe food allergies, Chefs Plate is not safe.
Dairy-free and gluten-free options are not available every week. Vegans won’t be able to use this service because all their vegetarian recipes contain cheese.
Generally, if you have specific dietary needs, this service won’t work for you. If your preferences extend beyond animal meat, you’re out of luck.
Chefs Plate subscription plans are organized into 3 categories: Family, Classic and Vegetarian. The sample prices below for the Family and Classic plan include servings for 4 people with 2 recipes per week. Since the Vegetarian plan only offers servings for 2 people, the price below includes 2 servings with 2 recipes per week.
The Family plan is the most cost-effective. This plan contains a smaller recipe selection than the Classic plan. However, it costs $1.00 less per serving in comparison. The Family plan promises meals that the whole family will enjoy; but only if your whole family consists of 4 people. You can only opt for 4 servings in one meal.
In a week there were three vegetarian dish options, one slow-cooker meal, four 15-minute dishes with ten recipes in total. The 15-minute dishes cost $1.96 extra per serving. Slow-cooker recipe costs an extra $3.49 per serving. Meat protein selection included pork, chicken and beef (no seafood).
Cost per serving: $8.99
Cost per week: $71.92
The Classic plan provides more variety. You have the widest selection of recipes and you can choose between 2 servings or 4 servings per meal. In a week there were four vegetarian options, four 15-minute dishes, one slow-cooker recipe with twelve recipes in total. Meat protein had the added fish recipe along with pork, chicken and beef. The 15-minute dishes cost $2.96 extra per serving. The slow-cooker recipe costs the same per serving as in the Family plan.
Choose this plan if you don’t mind paying more per serving for the added variety.
Cost per serving: $9.99
Cost per week: $79.92
The Vegetarian plan has the least variety with only four recipes to choose from in a week, only 2 servings per meal and just one 15-minute recipe which costs $2.96 extra per serving. Of the four recipes, two had beans as the plant-based protein sources. The other two recipes had no significant plant-based protein. All recipes contained cheese.
If you prefer to have 4 servings per meal, select the Classic plan as the cost per serving is the same in both plans.
Cost per serving: $9.99
Cost per week: $45.96
Delivery & Shipping
Chefs Plate delivers across Canada. They service Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Manitoba.
Your delivery arrives in an insulated box which means you don’t need to be at home when your order arrives. Ingredients stay fresh for hours. This is especially helpful since they don’t provide any specific delivery windows. You’ll find the ingredients in the exact portions that your recipes call for. If you opted for a 15-min recipe, you won’t even need to chop any veggies nor prepare any sauces as those come ready to use. They also include step-by-step recipe instructions with photos, which are helpful for visual learners.
Shipping is free unless you order the Classic plan (2 servings and 2 recipes per week). In that case, shipping costs $6.00.
If you need to give the delivery person special instructions (ie. place by the side door), you can always do that when placing your order online.
Turnaround times are between 4-7 days depending on when your selected delivery day is. Their delivery days are Sundays through Wednesdays. The cutoff day and time to make any changes to your order is by 11:59 pm on Wednesday the week before your delivery day.
Weekly recipes are randomly selected for you. They will follow your chosen plan but can select options that call for extra fees. A word of warning, if you don’t cancel or skip a week before the cutoff time, your subscription is automatically renewed weekly and orders will be delivered.
The number one complaint that Chefs Plate customers have is in regards to Chefs Plate’s excessive packaging. Although Chefs Plate’s packing is 100% recyclable, there needs to be more of an effort to reduce the amount of packaging altogether since recycling should be a last resort.
Relying on customers to recycle is not good enough. Chefs Plate could improve its sustainability practices by using packaging that can be returned and reused.
Having said that, Chefs Plate does make efforts to reduce food waste by ordering only the amount of ingredients required for that week’s delivery. They also support the local economy by working with local and Canadian farmers and suppliers.
Recap: Is Chefs Plate Worth It?
When it comes to taste, recipe creativity and quality, Chefs Plate is a strong contender for Canadians looking for a meal kit service. And you probably won’t find a cheaper meal kit company in Canada.
Chefs Plate is not an option for people with dietary restrictions, other than vegetarians.
It’s not great for families that don’t fit the typical 4-person family description.
Without any ready-to-eat options, this service doesn’t suit those who want to avoid cooking altogether.
With cooking times of 30 minutes or less, it is perfect for those who want to spend the least amount of time cooking. And if you’d rather not be involved in deciding which recipes to choose, you’ll appreciate that Chefs Plate does the recipe selection for you.
Chefs Plate is ideal for the experimental cook. You can advance your cooking skills by trying creative, new recipes every week. You can even attempt recipes at varying cooking levels to hone your cooking skills.
Would you try Chefs Plate? Make sure you leave your own review to let us know what you think of their meal kit service.
Specification: Chefs Plate
|Dietary Plans Available:||
Two (Couple), Four (Family)
|Price per Plate||
$10 to $15, $5 to $10
First 2 meals free
Ocean Wise, Sustainability