I've tried a lot of recipe boxes, and Mindful Chef is the best | The Sun

IN the last few years, the market for recipe boxes and meal delivery services has absolutely exploded.

There seems to be a meal delivery service for every purpose now; whether you're a gym bunny, vegan, or love a bit of Vietnamese food, there's a recipe box for you.

Over the last couple of months, I've been doing a Mindful Chef review; it's one of the more mass-market services out there, with a fairly vanilla mission statement to create delicious, healthy recipes that emphasise high-quality produce.

It's not exactly a groundbreaking idea, but spoiler alert: Mindful Chef is doing the meal-delivery thing better than anyone else, as far as I'm concerned.

  • Get 25% off your first four Mindful Chef boxes – here


  • Great-quality ingredients
  • Interesting, seasonal and wide-ranging recipe selection that introduces you to new dishes and cuisines
  • Portion for two ACTUALLY serves two
  • B-Corp certified


  • Expensive, even compared to other meal delivery services

Rating: 4.5/5

Mindful Chef review: quick summary

Over the course of the last few months, me and the rest of the Sun Reviews team have been testing out a fair few recipe boxes as part of our roundup of the best meal delivery services.

I'm an enthusiastic home chef, and spend a good portion of my free time turning my kitchen into a complete bomb site in the pursuit of creating nice food.

However, I don't always have the time to whip up something from scratch, and meal delivery services are a great way of making sure you're getting a good meal without resorting to Deliveroo.

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The issue I often run into is that I can eat a portion for two people from most services without breaking a sweat. Occasionally I can stretch it to a dinner portion and a meagre lunch portion for the next day, but if I cook it for me and another person, chances are I'm going to bed hungry.

Mindful Chef is the first service I've tried that sends enough ingredients for two big portions. One of the first meals they sent me was a Valentine's Day steak dinner, and the beautiful slab of Ribeye they sent over left both me and my girlfriend absolutely stuffed.

Meanwhile, a portion of tofu for two includes a full 280g block of Tofoo Naked Tofu; a portion of salmon for two is 300g. I was nothing short of astounded by the generosity of the portions.

The quality of the meat — and the rest of the ingredients — is also extremely high, and Mindful Chef's recipes make use of them in creative, exciting ways that make you a better chef without forcing you to go to too much effort.

However, there is a catch, and that's the price. There's no such thing as a cheap meal delivery service, and that's especially true of Mindful Chef. It's also true that its introductory offer doesn't quite stack up with those of its competitors.

  • Get 25% off your first four Mindful Chef boxes – here


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What is Mindful Chef?

The idea for Mindful Chef isn't an unusual one, and it isn't the first of its kind, either; it's a meal delivery service that focuses on sending customers well-sourced, healthy ingredients that combine to create tasty meals.

It was founded in 2015, so while it's not exactly a latecomer to the market, it's not exactly a pioneer of it either; it was founded three years after Gousto and four years after Hello Fresh, the two brands that are probably considered its main competitors.

As well as sending the recipe boxes that we're focusing on in this review, the brand sells a Ready To Go Range, which comprises microwaveable meals, smoothies, soups and snacks.

As you'd expect, the Ready To Go Range is slightly cheaper than the standard recipe boxes, with a range of bundles and individual meals that start from £4.50.

Who founded Mindful Chef?

Mindful Chef was founded by school friends Giles Humphries, Myles Hopper and Robert Grieg-Gran who reportedly came up with the idea of a recipe box emphasising quality local produce while fishing off the Exe estuary in Devon. Early investors in the brand included Sir Andy Murray and Victoria Pendleton.

In 2020, five years after the brand was founded, Nestlé, the biggest food company in the world, acquired a majority stake in the company, but the three founders are still shareholders.

  • Get 25% off your first four Mindful Chef boxes – here

How does Mindful Chef work?

Mindful Chef works largely in the same way as other recipe boxes; you go onto the website, select the meals you'd like to eat that week (and the number of people you're feeding), choose a day for delivery, and enjoy your food.

Each week, Mindful Chef gives you 20 or so recipes to choose from, which is admittedly a lot fewer than its main two competitors; at the time of writing, Gousto has 86 available recipes, while Hello Fresh has over 60 (although it bulks these out by tweaking main recipes and calling them "custom recipes").

However, I would posit that Mindful Chef's recipe selection focuses more on quality than quantity; each recipe is extremely well thought through and makes use of seasonal ingredients. Some on the menu this week (in early July) include:

  • Chicken Salad with Mango, Lentils and Tikka Drizzle
  • Chicken and "Bloody Mary" Tomato Salad
  • Pineapple Roasted Salmon and Coconut Lime Rice
  • Provencal Duck and Parmentier Potatoes
  • Denver Steak with Potato Salad
  • Hazelnut-crusted Sockeye Salmon with Fennel Puttanesca

Of course, Hello Fresh and Gousto also have some delicious-sounding recipes, but the big number of weekly recipes is inflated by a regular roster of less upmarket numbers like Chicken Curry, Shepherds Pie, and Mac & Cheese.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with this at all, but I do have more respect for Mindful Chef's smaller, more thoughtful weekly menu; it makes it feel like you're looking at a menu in a really nice bistro, rather than a chain restaurant.

Once you've placed an order, you'll be enrolled into a weekly subscription, which can be cancelled at any time.

Is Mindful Chef good?

In order to do my Mindful Chef review I was delivered two random recipe boxes, each one containing a meat, a fish and a veg recipe.

On both occasions, I was taken aback by three things: the quality of the ingredients, the inventiveness of the recipes and the generosity of the portions.

Pretty much every recipe I sent was extremely healthy, but none of them were boring; a standout was the Salmon Okonomiyaki, which is a Japanese savoury pancake made with batter and cabbage. It's not something I'd made before, but it's something I'll definitely be making again. And as you can see, the amount of salmon Mindful Chef sent to top the pancake was liberal (that's half of the two-person portion).

Likewise, while tofu is something that I've enjoyed eating for years after working in Chinese and Japanese restaurants as a student, it's not something I've cooked much at home until now; since I got it in my Mindful Chef delivery, it's something I've included in every weekly shop.

And when you do fancy treating yourself, Mindful Chef is happy to indulge you; for Valentine's Day, they sent a gigantic sharing ribeye, which I cooked in a liberal amount of butter.

So in answer to the question, yes — Mindful Chef is very good.

  • Get 25% off your first four Mindful Chef boxes – here

How much is Mindful Chef?

While Mindful Chef is excellent, it comes with a hefty price tag.

Unlike Hello Fresh and Gousto, which charge the same amount for all dishes (although Gousto has a cheaper "Save and Savour" range), the prices of Mindful Chef dishes differ dramatically, depending on the ingredients.

Veggie meals, which contain cheaper ingredients, start from around £6.25 per portion. Cheaper meat meals containing chicken, turkey, pork or mince usually cost somewhere between £7.50 and £8, and if you want steak or fish, you're looking at up to £9.50 per person.

Without discounts, if you get five recipes per week made up of all three price points, you're looking at a weekly cost of somewhere around £80.

Comparatively, you can get five meals for around £47 from Gousto, and it's about the same for Hello Fresh.

However, it is still cheaper than getting a takeaway or going out for dinner, and you are paying for quality (and bigger portions than Hello Fresh or Gousto).

Like most recipe boxes, there is an introductory offer that makes it cheaper: you can get 25% off your first four recipe boxes.

That does take the sting out of the price, but it's also not blowing its competitors out of the water: Hello Fresh offers 60% off your first box and 25% off the two following boxes, while Gousto does a similar deal; 60% off your first box and 20% off the two following boxes.

  • Get 25% off your first four Mindful Chef boxes – here

How often does Mindful Chef change recipes?

Like many recipe boxes, and in keeping with its mantra of using seasonal ingredients, Mindful Chef changes its recipes every week.

This helps keep things exciting, and you'll find some surprising and delicious-sounding meals on every weekly menu.

Mindful Chef also maintains a free-to-access library of over 800 of its previous recipes, which is really helpful if you come across a dish you love but lose the recipe card.

How to cancel Mindful Chef

If you're heading on holiday for a week, you can pause your Mindful Chef subscription, and if you simply need less food, you can change the regularity of your deliveries so that they arrive every two, three or four weeks.

If you want to cut ties completely, then it's also very easy: you just go to "preferences" in your account, scroll to the bottom, click "amend subscription", and follow the easy steps.

Slightly annoyingly, if you want to cancel after receiving fewer than four deliveries (i.e. the number of discounted boxes you're entitled to), then you'll have to call customer service on 020 3950 0455.

The verdict: is Mindful Chef worth it?

Simply put, yes; Mindful Chef is worth it. The price difference between the brand and its competitors is unavoidable, but this is also a much more thoughtful and high-quality service than anything else I've tried.

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All the recipes are easy to follow, but feel imaginative, creative and healthy, and once the cooking and eating are done, you're left full; this alone makes it better than anything else on the market.

  • Get 25% off your first four Mindful Chef boxes – here

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