What it's like to use Blue Apron, the amazing meal-delivery startup that's about to go public
Megan WillettJun 2, 2017, 03:00 IST
Megan Willett/Business InsiderI really felt as if I was learning to cook with Blue Apron.
Blue Apron, a meal-delivery service based in New York City, filed an S-1 on Thursday as the company plans to go public. Though the company has a history of losses, its revenue continues to grow each year.
I tried Blue Apron for myself a couple of years ago and absolutely loved it.
That's thanks to the range of ingredients as well as the meal presentation that made me look like an expert chef.
It also put an emphasis on cooking tutorials and instructions online, so I really felt as if I was improving my cooking skills with each recipe instead of just "painting by numbers," so to speak.
Still, Blue Apron remains my favorite recipe service because it pushes me to learn to cook with new ingredients and has an amazing presentation that makes even amateur chefs like me look as if they know what they're doing.
Finally it was plated. Though the presentation on this dish was excellent, it took me roughly an hour and 15 minutes — 30 minutes longer than Blue Apron said it would take — before I was able to eat anything.
While those finished cooking, I mixed together the yogurt and the cucumber — the easiest part of this entire meal by far.
I finally got my kibbeh patties going in the pan, and they started to look a lot tastier.
But then I had to mix the aromatics with the ground turkey in a big bowl and make 12 sticky patties. My hands were covered in bulgur, turkey, and spices.
Finally the meal started to come together as I mixed the aromatics.
That doesn't sound like a lot, but it took longer than I was anticipating. Plus I was cooking bulgur while this was going on.
But the prep work alone on this meal took me almost half an hour. I had to cut and scoop the interior out of a cucumber, dice an onion, pick the mint and parsley off stems, and dice apricots.
The last recipe was the Turkey Kibbeh. This meal seemed bigger than the other two and had 660 calories per serving and was supposed to take 25 to 35 minutes to prepare.
All in all, this meal probably took me about 45 minutes to make and was my favorite recipe of the bunch.
The asparagus salad was only so-so. In the future, I would have used less dill and maybe bought a peeler so I could shave the asparagus even thinner. The crème fraîche Blue Apron sent was delicious.
The fingerling potatoes with ramps also came out really well and got some extra butter and steak flavor.
The best part of the Flat Iron Steaks meal was — surprise, surprise — the steaks. Blue Apron had me cook them in olive oil and butter, which made them taste amazing.
Unfortunately I did not have a peeler to get the asparagus shaved nicely. All the other prep work for the meal was pretty simple.
I ended up going online to the recipe page to see how they were shaving and cutting the asparagus. I really love that Blue Apron has dedicated pages with advice on how to cook each dish.
Next up was the Flat Iron Steaks meal. With a side of shaved asparagus salad and fingerling potatoes, this meal was 520 calories per serving and had an estimated cooking time of 35 to 45 minutes.
Here's what it was supposed to look like. Not far off!
When plated, though, the dish looked and tasted great. I put some of the rice flakes back on for presentation and added a smear of wasabi to both plates.
The recipe card warned this might be a problem and said not to worry, but I still felt like a kitchen failure.
The fish, however, was another story. I put the rice flakes on the hake and almost immediately they started falling off.
The instructions for the vegetables in this dish were straightforward. Plus, cooking them made the kitchen smell amazing.
Also in the knickknacks bag was ginger as well as wasabi powder. Here's what your wasabi looks like before water is added to it.
Within my knickknacks bag were these three little sauces, perfectly portioned and ready to use. The best part about a service like Blue Apron is that all the measuring is already done.
Prep work for this dish was not too challenging. I was ready to start cooking within 5 to 10 minutes.
Now on to the cooking! I started with the Rice Flake-Crusted Hake dish, which had 500 calories per serving and was supposed to take 25 to 35 minutes to make.
The only things that do have a label are the knickknacks bags that are filled with the smaller ingredients. It was handy to grab this bag and know it was for the steak dish.
For example, it would have been helpful for this label to say the mushrooms were for the "Rice Flake-Crusted Hake" dish.
My least favorite thing about Blue Apron was how all the ingredients came en masse. They did not have individual labels explaining which recipe they went with.
Peeking inside the bag, you see all the greens at the top. Next are the dry ingredients and potatoes followed by the meats and some ice packs at the very bottom.
Here's the refrigerated bag inside the Blue Apron box that keeps the food cold.
These are the three recipes I cooked during the week: Turkey Kibbeh, Flat Iron Steak, and Rice Flake-Crusted Hake. Each meal also had a side.
Blue Apron sends customers a breakdown of what they're cooking as well as some more information on the ingredients.
Opening up the box, you'll find a letter from Blue Apron and the three different recipe cards.
My Blue Apron box had arrived by the time I got home. My boyfriend threw it in the fridge just in case, but the company says the contents will stay cold in the box for "several hours."