The concept of ready-to-cook meal kits definitely isn’t new. Even before the pandemic, busy families were jumping on the Hello Fresh bandwagon. But, of course, the COVID-19 crisis has definitely sparked a surge in this area. With restaurants being forced to close under Government guidelines, keen cooks have had little choice but to try whipping up their own tasty restaurant-style meals at home.
Mindful Chef reported a 425% increase in customers between March and May 2020, while Gousto had to temporarily stop taking on new customers due to demand. And with restaurant closures, we’re now seeing more options than ever before. Big names like Cote, Nico, and Rick Stein are all venturing into the meal kit industry. The sector is expected to grow at an annual rate of nearly 13% up to 2027.
So, besides ingredients, what do you need to make restaurant-style dishes in your own kitchen?
Here’s our advice for making cooking a complete breeze…
Enough space to work
Don’t worry; this doesn’t mean that you need to have a huge kitchen! It just means that however big or small your kitchen is, you should ensure that you have as much room as possible to work your magic. If your surfaces are crowded with small appliances, find somewhere to store them temporarily. If you haven’t yet got around to putting the shopping away, get those tins and packets into a cupboard before you start. Depending on the type of meal kit you order, you could find you’ve got all sorts of meats and veggies to chop up and season. It’s definitely worth taking a little bit of time to give yourself enough space to spread out.
Good access to your equipment
Once you’ve made a space to work, you’re also going to want to make sure you have quick and easy access to your pots, pans, and utensils. So if, for example, the handles on your old kitchen doors are hanging on by a thread, it might be useful to order some replacement handles – or replacement doors if you fancy a change. You can even get handleless options that can prevent this from happening in the future. If you’ve got your chopping boards at one end of the kitchen, and your knives at the other, consider moving things around a bit so that you can reach everything you’re going to need from just one spot.
According to a recent survey, most people find the kitchen to be the most difficult room of the house to clean. But if you’ve just cooked up a big fancy restaurant-style meal for the family, there’s probably going to be some mess that needs attention. There always is! The secret to making cleaning the kitchen a not-so-dismal task is to ensure you’re working with easy-to-maintain surfaces and units. There are a few little changes you can make to help make cleaning easier. These include opting for matt kitchen doors that don’t easily show up smudges, or choosing newer mason’s mitre joints over older joining strips for worktops.
While these three handy tips won’t magically turn you into a master chef, they can make things a little easier, and help you to create mouthwatering restaurant-style meals for the whole family… at least until the pubs and restaurants are open again!