Fifteen-year-old Logan Guleff, winner of MasterChef Junior, cookbook author, one of Time magazine's Most Influential Teens, and a Southern Living Best New Southern Cook, has teamed up with Chef'd to create easy-to-make gourmet meals for the aspiring chef to try at home.
I am that aspiring chef.
Chef'd is a planned meal delivery service, much like Blue Apron, that focuses on recipes designed by over 650 distinguished chefs and food brands throughout the world.
The meals I opted for: Pimiento Mac and Cheese, Jerk Salmon and Charred Pineapple Slaw Burger, and Early Bird (breakfast) Nachos. Others include Sweet and Spicy Chicken and Waffles, Shrimp and Grits, and the Mushroom Monster Burger, featured at the James Beard House and on the Today show.
Chef'd doesn't require a monthly subscription, and members who have particular diets or restrictions — vegetarian, pescatarian, or gluten-free — can personalize their meals through the website. Members can also search for meals by category; among them: Quick and Easy, New Arrivals, Chef of the Month, and Refreshing Meal Inspirations.
Now that we know a little more about Chef'd, let's get cookin'. Chef'd sent me all of the ingredients I needed in order to cook the meals (minus olive and vegetable oils and various equipment). The first thing I cooked was the Salmon Burger. The salmon called for a jerk rub, and the coleslaw mix was combined with charred pineapple, Greek yogurt, hot sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, and celery. A side of sweet potato fries was added to the plate, and voila: a lighter version of a beef burger that mixed sweet and spicy flavors wonderfully. The sweet flavors of the slaw mix really complemented the spicy jerk seasoning on the salmon, and the sweet potato fries with a little bit of salt sprinkled on top only added to the harmonious flavors of the meal. Out of all of the meals I cooked, this one was the one my father and boyfriend preferred — although the sweet potato fries were a little burnt. Oops.
The next meal I prepared was the Early Bird Nachos. This recipe called for a bed of nacho chips topped with melted cheddar cheese, bacon, cilantro, eggs, and refried black beans with sour cream and ranchera sauce to go on the side. There were a few hiccups along the way; I had misplaced the tortilla chips and bacon. Luckily, it was an easy fix. I grabbed chips from the store around the corner and found an extra package of bacon in the freezer. Ironically, we had this plate for dinner. But breakfast is good at any time of day, right?
Third time's the charm. There were absolutely no problems with the third meal (Pimiento Mac and Cheese). This recipe necessitated five different cheeses (jack/cheddar cheese blend, mozzarella, gruyere, and monterey jack cheeses), garlic powder, paprika, milk, egg, and pimiento peppers mixed in with boiled macaroni noodles and a cornbread topping. This meal was so cheesy, cornbready, and sweet, and it was my personal favorite of all three.
According to Guleff, Chef'd wanted him to focus on Southern cooking. "They really wanted to showcase where I'm from ... I wanted to do shrimp and grits and pimiento mac and cheese — Southern classics that I could put a spin on," Guleff says.
One of the best things about Chef'd may be how much time it saves. With my busy schedule between work and school, it can be hard to find the time for grocery shopping. Using Chef'd cut out so much time by shipping the ingredients and recipes to my door. Guleff says, "What could be cooler than to have [a] line of food that you can deliver on demand?"
To order Guleff's and other renowned chefs' meals, go to Chefd.com.