Hello Fresh has become a go-to for time poor folks who simply cannot be arsed going to the shops, picking up ingredients and then cooking.

To be honest, who DOES enjoy that? While I love cooking, I’ve always hated the process of rolling down to the supermarket in my trackies, running into some ex, feeling disgusting, picking up ingredients and then having to go back home to cook. It’s tiresome and also humiliating!

More than ever, going to the shops is a burden. Coronavirus has turned a tedious task into a risky one, and for me it’s like every person in my local is a cesspit of illness. At least, that’s how I envision it as I avoid them like the (literal) plague.

So the idea of Hello Fresh became way more interesting to me. But to review it, I felt I needed to be more inclusive. I like cooking – what about people who hate it? Who are terrible at it? Is Hello Fresh something that works for everyone, or just for the cheffy types?

I recruited three other P.TV staffers to try three recipes. Here’s what we had to say.

1. Mel – Bit Arrogant About Her Kitchen Prowess

I like to think I’m a good cook, as I said before. But the part of cooking I’ve always hated has to be the cutting up of things. I was disappointed to find that no, Hello Fresh doesn’t just GIVE you veggies all cut up so you can just bung ’em all together. I suppose I get it – you’d lose a bit of the “fresh” part – but still! I’m a big baby, cut my things for me!

The first benefit for me were the recipe cards. They are SO easy to follow. A literal baby could do it, except they’d probably singe their hand off so don’t let a baby cook, ok? While I love cooking, complex recipes sometimes throw me. Hello Fresh has it all in PICTURES as well as instructions which is just a lovely touch, I feel.

see! pictures for the big baby!

My hands down favourite recipe from the three was the pork mince stir fry. Holy moly. I’ve made it a billion times since because a) it’s easy as shit and b) it’s tasty as hell. That’s one of the other parts I loved about Hello Fresh, even when you’ve moved on to a new recipe or box, you keep the recipe cards and discover new meals to make, because almost everything they give you recipe-wise is easy to do, even without the box.

The last thing I’ll say is what Hello Fresh tell you anyway – the biggest win is the fact you’re not left with all this excess food. It makes the amount it says it’ll make, and gives you the right amount of ingredients just for that. As someone who constantly finds old parsley/ginger/every herb in existence languishing in the back of her crisper, getting just ONE chilli and ONE small hunk of ginger made me feel less wasteful.

2. Zac – Reckons He Burns Cereal

When left to fend for myself, my diet consists of nachos and nut bars. Using Hello Fresh, I set out to make dinner for my family of four, but because the portions looked a bit on the smaller side, I opted to make two meals at once: Korean beef tacos and a ginger pork and green bean stir-fry.

I’ve got to admit, I got a bit spun out by the recipe. I thought all the ingredients came in the box until the recipe asked for vinegar? I almost felt insulted? Me? Having vinegar, just laying around, willy-nilly? Luckily my parents have plentiful amounts of vinegar in our kitchen. But when I was living out of home, vinegar was a foreign concept. Who TF am I, Heston Blumenthal?

That being said, the vinegar was put to great use by pickling onions. I love that I’m learning an actual skill. I’ve never picked anything before and it’s actually so easy!! I could honestly see myself pickling my little heart out to pass the time in iso.Wait no – turns out I pickled the onions in the wrong order. Probably should’ve read through the recipe once before actually beginning.

Can I salvage it? Maybe. Can I be bothered? We’ll see.All of a sudden, fuck! I cut my fucken finger! It was probably my fault. I have no idea what proper chilli-cutting technique is and I don’t plan on learning. Obviously that chilli did not end up in my meal. I needed to spite that dastardly chilli after my injury. Also, the recipe card said it was optional anyway!

When I finally plated up, the food turned out to be really good. Normally when I cook, my family gives me shit for weeks afterwards. This time, they were raving about how good it was before they were even done eating. It’s not the best meal I’ve ever had, and it’s not supper gourmet, but it’s undeniably tasty.

Me not fucking things up for once

I was actually impressed at how easy it was to cook two meals at once without even reading through the recipe beforehand. If I hadn’t cut my finger I’d say it’s idiot-proof. Because of my current living situation, I probably won’t sign up for Hello Fresh just because it’s not the most convenient way for me to get groceries. But I am definitely holding on to those recipe cards.

3. Courtney – Hot Fire On A Stove

As someone who’s quite confident in the kitchen, this was like this weird middle ground between cooking at home and having food delivered. It was really nice to have everything that I needed for a recipe, instead of my classic routine of buying everything, getting home and realising I’d forgotten to buy a key ingredient. Nope, it’s all there in the bag, baby!

I also found that my own finished dishes looked quite similar to the ones on the recipe cards. It’s something so small but having actually-attainable meal pictures make me feel like I’m doing something right.

The only downside for me was that two out of three of the meals called for garlic, and supplied me with one (1) clove. I’m extremely the kind of person who immediately doubles the garlic in any recipe, so I definitely strayed from the ingredients list there and chucked in a couple of extra cloves, just for my own happiness.

On the whole, Hello Fresh feels like a really no-thinking-necessary meal that’s good to pull together on those nights when you’ve fried your brain at work and you can’t think of what you want to eat. The decision has already been made for you, and you can just tune out of everything else and cook.

4. Vanna – Living On Mi Goreng Right Now

Hi, my name is Vanna and I cannot cook. I can make packet noodles and weed brownies (they pair nicely) and that’s it, that’s the whole menu.

I’ve never tried to cook because I’ve never been interested. I think it’s because I’m really just not a foodie. I’m just as happy crunching on a carrot, or eating hot chips with a carcinogenic amount of chicken salt as I am at a fine dining restaurant. Not to say I don’t love eating (it’s my favourite thing to do), I just usually don’t care what I’m eating.

So isolation for me has essentially been Super Size Me: Mi Goreng Edition. I have literally eaten nothing else for months and I fear my heart will soon burst into flames. So when work offered me a go at Hello Fresh I thought there’s no better time to start my cooking journey than now. I don’t have to go to Woolies, all the meals are proportioned for one, they print out the recipes for you, they pack the ingredients separately for each meal and most notably it will probably stop me from getting scurvy, which I feel that I’m on the brink of. They literally couldn’t make it any easier for me and of course they put it all on my doorstep, all I had to do was cook it.

I was so excited when it arrived I opened the box with the same enthusiasm as a lass would  opening a Nike Box of fresh Tn’s and it was everything I expected. Fresh af, neatly packaged, ready to go. I dusted off the cobwebs on my shelf of the sharehouse fridge and stacked it all in. My housemates were sceptical, but I told them they’d be eating their words as soon as I would be eating my Hello Fresh meals.

But here, my friends is where the trouble begins.

After all of that unpacking, I gave myself permission to rest that night. I would cook my first meal tomorrow. When tomorrow rolled around, I promised myself I would do it the next night. This went on until the third night, when after an extra big bong hit, I found myself with the munchies. I ripped into the first meal bag, and ate each ingredient one by one. This included a packet of soft tortillas which were so fresh and soft that I didn’t even need to microwave them to soften them, but yes I ate them all with nothing on them.

Long story short, I didn’t end up cooking one meal, but the Hello Fresh box fed me for many nights. All of the ingredients were fresh as fuck and lasted a long time. For what it’s worth the meals that they would have made looked great in the pictures and would have defs have been happy to cook them for dinner if I were a better person.

Key takeaway for you from this are: Hello Fresh is great, I am a mess.

Image: Hello Fresh