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Top Chef Meals Review

Friday, December 9th

2022 Prepared Meal Reviews

Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Top Chef Meals  Review 5 Star Rating

Top Chef Meals

5 Star Rating
  • Menu options include traditional recipes, Keto, Paleo, Kids' Meals, plus special diets like Renal, Diabetic, Low-Carb, Low-Sodium, Gluten-Free, Low-Fat, and Seniors
  • Delivered fresh and can be reheated in the microwave or oven
  • Can order individual meals or in larger sets
  • Meals are fully customizable and made fresh to order
  • No subscription or commitment required
  • Meals start at $9.95/serving
  • Desserts, breakfasts, soups and shakes also available
  • Free shipping in some areas (mostly east of the Mississippi), $19.99 elsewhere
  • 100% quality guarantee
  • 10% discount for senior citizens who register on the site
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

Never heard of Top Chef Meals? Let's change that. You'll be impressed by the wide range of prepared meal options here, from traditional recipes like spaghetti and meatballs to kid-friendly entrees like pizza with veggies and a fruit smoothie. Also, in contrast with the majority of the prepared meal companies we know. Top Chef Meals doesn't require you to subscribe or to purchase a minimum (or maximum) number of meals in your order. So, if you're only going to be in town for a few days one week and then home the next, it's no problem to order accordingly.

Customize the menu options

Despite being a smaller company, Top Chef Meals doesn't skimp on menu choices for your prepared meals. Our favorite thing about this service is how it lets customers swap out sides. Do you love salmon but hate that it's almost always paired with broccoli? Not anymore -or not here, at least. Need extra protein or more sauce? You've got it.

Filter for dietary preferences

But, you may love your options exactly as they are: whether you're a vegetarian going for the Three-Bean Vegan Chili or the Spinach and Garlic Ravioli Alfredo, or you're a dedicated meat-lover who wants to sample some more exotic choices like Lamb Kofta Meatballs and Ropa Vieja, you'll never be lacking for possibilities. Feel free to filter the selections to match any other dietary preferences, like low sodium, dairy- or gluten-free, and so on.

Get started with a sample package

One of the best ways to get to know Top Chef Meals is by ordering a "Get Started" package. Options include the 10-meal Comfort Foods menu, the 10 most popular meals, or simply select four entrees you'd like to try. Even when you choose one of the 10-meal packages, you can remove any of them that don't appeal to you and double up on another one of the ten that you prefer. See what we mean about you being in the proverbial driver's seat here?

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Shipping fees determined by your location

The closer you are to Top Chef Meals' New York location, the more options you have for delivery of your prepared meals. If you're in the NYC area, you can actually get free courier delivery when you buy 10+ entrees. For most customers who are east of the Mississippi, orders will get free 1- or 2-day shipping. Everyone else? Sorry, but you'll usually pay $19.95 for Priority Overnight. You can click on the Shipping link found at the top of the website to get a preliminary idea of the costs in your area.

Small but mighty

Top Chef Meals (and its parent company, The Crystal Spoon) have a small enough footprint that we couldn't even find a listing for them with the Better Business Bureau. But, never fear, there are over 3700 five-star ratings from TCM's happy customers in other places. In fact, they would rate this prepared meal company as "excellent" or "great" about 90% of the time. Time and again, people say that the meals are really flavorful and include top quality ingredients, they praise the ability to customize their meals, and they're thrilled with the consistent nature of the customer service here.

#1 choice for prepared meals

We're really excited to put Top Chef Meals out there as our first-place winner among companies offering prepared meals. We think most customers aren't even aware that they can get ready-made meals made to their specifications without breaking the bank - and that actually taste great. For practically any dietary preference or lifestyle, Top Chef Meals should be at the top of the list.

Which Prepared Meal Company is the Best?

We've all got so many tools at our disposal these days when it comes to mealtime: the traditional drive-thru run on our way home, getting our groceries delivered by Instacart, or even having our favorite take-out brought right to our house by DoorDash or UberEats. But, let's face it: many of those options are unhealthy, expensive, or both. And even with getting our shopping done online and our supermarket hauls delivered, we still have to do the cooking. Ugh!

Fortunately, prepared meal companies can help you eat healthy at the end of a hectic day (or even on the job). These aren't your average grocery store TV dinners, either. Sure, you can opt for frozen meals if you prefer, particularly for longer-term storage, but you've also got the option of having freshly-made, refrigerated meals that only need to be heated for a few minutes in the microwave.

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Prepared Meal FAQ

Prepared meal subscriptions are popular for the same reason your favorite fast food joint has a long line at the drive-through at dinnertime: they're convenient! Imagine never having to go grocery shopping again! However, most people who subscribe to a prepared meals plan use it to supplement their regular cooking rather than replacing every single meal (e.g. just for a few dinners a week, for all weekend meals, etc.).
That depends on the service you select. Some specialize in reheat-and-eat meals similar to a traditional TV dinner, while others deliver all of the ingredients you need to prepare the recipes they provide. There are also options for holiday meals, special occasion dinners, plus sides and desserts if you want to impress the crowd at your next office potluck - without having to do the work yourself!
Two words: convenience and taste. Would you rather come home to another dinner of ramen or PB&J, or to a box of fresh ingredients that you can pull together into a restaurant-quality meal in just a few minutes? Subscribing to a prepared meals service can help you get out of your fast food rut, spare you the agony of yet another week of meal planning and grocery shopping, or just add some welcome variety to your eating habits.
You might be surprised. Most prepared meal services let you see customer comments on each dish - while some might not have been a huge favorite, most have hundreds (if not thousands) of rave reviews. And, if you're not known for being terribly creative or skilled in the kitchen, prepared meals can help you get out of your comfort zone and expand your taste horizons.
It will definitely cost more than if you bought all of the ingredients and prepared them yourself. But, the per-meal cost is typically less than what you'd spend in a restaurant. Expect a cost-per-serving somewhere between $8 and $12, depending on the plan you select.
Most services offering prepared meals have several options to choose from, either as an overall plan (like vegan or gluten-free) or on a meal-by-meal basis where you choose from a menu of meals for the month and can avoid any ingredients that you prefer not to have.
Unfortunately, most prepared meal plans aren't going to be affordable if you're feeding a crowd every night. There are a few that cater to larger families (or that have more portions per delivery so that you can have leftovers, feed houseguests, etc.). These services even have some menus that are designed to be more kid-friendly.
That depends on the service. If your meals arrive in bad condition - rotten ingredients, thawed meals that were supposed to be frozen at the time of delivery, and so forth - you'll usually get a refund or a replacement. A few providers of prepared meals offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee with a refund or store credit, regardless of the reason.
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Continued from above...

Prepared meals are especially useful if you're trying to follow a special diet. Getting used to "going keto" , managing diabetes-friendly foods, or knowing what to eat on a renal diet can be frustrating and time-consuming. When you choose a prepared meal company, it relieves some of that burden from your shoulders - until you feel confident doing it on your own, or for as long as you like.

Some customers order prepared meals to help out in a time of need. For families of seniors who are struggling to get adequate nutrition - because they can't get to the store, their mobility or cognition is impaired, or they've got other challenges - these services offer them the peace of mind that their loved ones are consistently getting meals that are well-balanced and easy to prepare.

How does it work? Many companies require you to sign up for a recurring subscription: you choose the number of meals per week and the servings per meal, and they'll be delivered regularly unless you pause the plan, skip a particular delivery, or cancel the service. Others allow you to place orders as needed, but you'll often pay a higher per-serving cost for a la carte prepared meals.

Not sure which provider to pick? Don't worry. Here are a several criteria you can use to narrow down the options for prepared meals:

  • Fresh or Frozen. Do you have a preference? Keep in mind that most meals that are delivered fresh can still be put in the freezer for at least a few weeks.
  • Preferred Menu. Are you trying to follow a particular eating plan, like a weight loss diet or a strictly vegan lifestyle? Choose the prepared meal company that has recipes you'll actually want to eat.
  • Flexibility. Will you need to commit to a delivery schedule? If so, how easy is it to change days or skip a shipment? Can the meals be modified to be more to your liking, such as changing fish for chicken or adding more protein? Are there any extras you can add to your box, to save you a trip to the store?
  • Value. How much will you pay per meal, and how does that compare with what you'd normally spend at the store? Is it worth the cost for the convenience you'll get? Are there any discounts or other ways to save money?
  • Customer feedback. What do people say about the prepared meals and the company providing them? Does everything arrive well-chilled or still-frozen, or are there problems with thawed ice packs and other delivery issues? How's the taste? Does the company's customer service team handle problems poorly or professionally?

TopConsumerReviews.com has made it easier for you to find the right prepared meal company for your needs, by evaluating and ranking today's most popular services. We hope that this information will help you spot the perfect menu and take advantage of this fantastic time-saver. Let's eat!

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