Mindful Chef sends recipe boxes since 2014, is situated in Waterloo, London and is only available in the UK. 3 meals for 2 people currently cost £42. They specialise in recipes which follow the Paleo diet, i.e. it is “based on the foods ancient ancestors might likely have eaten” and is gluten-free.
The types of meal boxes are “Lean” and “The Naked Diet”. I don’t fully understand what the difference is, it looks like “The Naked Diet” is a bit stricter and “healthier”. They don’t have a vegetarian option yet but a “Plant Based” box is planned (“coming 2016”).
You cannot choose the recipes themselves as they are fixed every week. You can order 3 meals for either 1 or 2 people. That means they are only one of two services which provide boxes for singles.
- This is a subscription service but you can cancel any time via their website.
They deliver either on Sundays or Mondays between 5-9pm or Tuesdays between 9am-5pm. Those times should suit most households, except those who cannot cook within the week. That delivery is not tracked.
It looks like either most or all of the ingredients are organic, mostly coming from Devon.
Doing everything “mindfully” seems to be their philosophy, although using that word in that context doesn’t make any sense. (“Mindfulness” is a term from Buddhism and later psychology which describes the “practice of […] being aware moment-to-moment, of one’s subjective conscious experience”.) I guess what they mean is that they care about every step of the process, saying it in words that reaches a certain target audience. That includes lots of eco-friendly decisions.
The ingredients are packed per recipe (except what goes into the fridge) which is convenient on the one hand but not necessary and wasteful on the other. But most packaging is recyclable, and (in areas they deliver to themselves) they will take the wool liners back to re-use them.
They say on their website that traceability is “at the heart of [their] business”, i.e. they want to know where all the ingredients originate from. But unfortunately they hardly pass any of that information on to their customers.
Even information on each recipe is sparse, i.e. they list nutrients and allergens but nothing else (like ingredients or sub ingredients).
It seems like they plan to do the right thing but there is no way of telling if they do.
They also subscribe you to unsolicited reminder and news emails from which I couldn’t so far successfully unsubscribe.
- The Crab courgetti with cherry tomatoes, chilli & mint was a bit weird and I threw the other half away despite it not being enough and leaving me hungry. In order to be able to make the courgetti, they included a Julienne peeler with the box. I noticed that their boxes generally have spiralised food in them. That’s a nice way of getting introduced to the concept. The Flattened chicken with hearty honey carrots & cavalo nero was nice and simple (except for the greens) but also not enough. The Minced beef sweet potato hash with poached egg was okay but not very inspirational and had way too much potato. The amount the first two dishes were lacking, this third one had in abundance. I wish that had been more balanced.
- Mostly organic ingredients
- Gluten-free and other diets
- No vegetarian option (yet)
- Very unbalanced food amounts
- Mediocre taste
(Please note, this rating is obviously subjective and only based on 3 recipes.)
There seems to be a lot of good intentions and ideas but everything is too inconsistent, unbalanced and incomplete to be taken seriously. It might be that they are just too young and still need to find their way. So far I cannot recommend Mindful Chef yet but will gladly check back in a year or so to see how they might have improved.
But if you have any special dietary requirements, this service might be your only option.
Articles in this series
- Trialling recipe boxes: Introduction
- Trialling recipe boxes: The Original Supper Box
- Trialling recipe boxes: Riverford
- Trialling recipe boxes: Marley Spoon
- Trialling recipe boxes: Gousto
- Trialling recipe boxes: HelloFresh
- Trialling recipe boxes: Abel & Cole
- Trialling recipe boxes: Mindful Chef (this article)
- Trialling recipe boxes: Conclusion