Secret Chef, LLC
Here’s a little update for Hoboken’s own Secret Chef!
In addition to Chef Ellen’s radically re-designed website (it’s really sweet, check it out!), she’s also offering a special October promotion:
Secret Chef October Promotion: Save 10%
10% all online orders for the month of October. People can order as many times as they want and the coupon code is: secret.
This is what Secret Chef offers:
- Meals Under 500 calories
- Vegetarian Meals
- Protein Meals
- Soups, Salads and Spreads
Customers order online and we deliver on Monday’s and Wednesday’s. We also do catering, but it’s not included in the promotion.
Read below for review of weekly food deliveries
Description: Personal Chef
Services: Weekly and monthly food deliveries, catering, special events
Address: Hoboken area
Are you aware of The Secret Chef service in Hoboken?
The Secret Chef is a very interesting start-up created by local Hoboken resident, Ellen Savastano. The main premise is to provide you with four healthy and well-balanced meals a week, delivered to your door. This is different than ordering take-out. The meals are pretty much set in advance, and you place your orders either weekly or by the month. Upcoming meal descriptions are available for viewing on the website.
In addition to the weekly or monthly meal plans, she can also cater your dinner or cocktail parties, bridal showers or other special events needing expert food attention. You can see what other services that are offered HERE.
I think the primary concept was designed to help busy professionals by eliminating hassle and providing a healthy and convenient service, while mixing up the mundane routines of continually eating the same foods at the same places.
While more costly than most take-out or delivery (not including any tips), you do get restaurant quality dishes that are prepared by a Culinary Institute of America graduate, and not some hired kitchen worker. Ellen has a strong passion for cooking and it’s evident by her starting The Secret Chef.
She prepares the dishes at a commercial kitchen, then delivers two meals on Monday and Wednesday (to ensure freshness). She packages them in re-sealable plastic containers and a brown bag stamped with her logo. If you choose not to eat one for dinner, you can always take it to work and eat it for lunch.
For my week I had the following dishes:
– Marinated chicken breast with roasted potatoes and asparagus
– Japanese pork and tofu over white rice and snap peas
– Tamales with side of vegetables
– Orecchiettie pasta with Italian sausage and broccoli rabe
She stopped by each day near the promised time and handed my bag of meals:
Each container was clearly labeled with the ingredients and heating instructions. You basically just have to nuke it.
On day one I sampled the Japanese pork dish. This was a simple, yet satisfying arrangement of pork, rice, tofu and shitake mushrooms. It was not too salty and had a very light taste.
Day two saw me munching on the marinated chicken breast with potatoes and asparagus. Now I’m not a big fan of asparagus, but this was very well done. The potatoes as well, cooked evenly and not mushy, even after microwaving. The chicken was plump and juicy, with a delicate, yet distinct aroma.
On Wendesday, I got my next two dishes:
Day three: Tamales. Inside each corn husk was a corn mix and chicken and spices. There was also a side of fresh tomato and corn salad. Although this was carefully prepared, being a fan of Latin American food, it tasted ok, but it just felt like it was missing something. I guess her quest to make it somewhat healthy meant not drenching it in any kind of chile con carne sauce? I’m not sure what region inspired this particular version of the tamale. Perhaps healthy and Latin American just don’t mix? I hope my suggestion will improve future versions of this dish. But regardless, it was still dinner.
Lastly, on day four, I ate the pasta dish, with Italian sausage and broccoli rabe. Now this initially scared me, because I’m a bit turned off by the bitterness of broccoli rabe. But this turned out to be the tastiest plate of them all. The broccoli rabe perfectly complemented a spicier and robust arrangement of ingredients. The pieces of sausage along with the medley of olive oil, garlic, onion and other spices was a hit. Not too oily or overwhelming in any respect. Just right.
At $17 per plate (or $15.75 a plate on the monthly plan), some folks may consider the cost on the high side. Especially with no small appetizer or dessert, I’d hope she’d consider adding a broader range per meal. Portion size was average, but I have a ferocious appetite, so I was left hanging a few times (which may sadly be telling me something about my dietary habits!!)
But my week eating what The Secret Chef had to offer was most certainly a different experience. It can definitely appeal to many people, especially if they’re very busy or are constantly making the wrong food choices and eating poorly. This also may be a great alternative to “eating out” all the time. The food is very clean, nutritious and well prepared. It can also be a fun way to make eating dinner more interesting and unpredictable, because her menu is continually changing.
Take a look at her menu offerings each week, you might want to give a week a shot and see for yourself.
Ellen has also indicated that she may possibly expand her line of offerings in the future, including calorie-limited and organic plans.