It is now week 8 of the school term. Time has flown by with the logistics of 4 children, packed school calendars, homework and after school activities, and there are days when I run out of steam and we are only half way through the term. My beginning of term resolutions are waning fast, and as much as I love cooking in the kitchen, I need inspiration by week 8. It seems I am always in a supermarket or organic shops having run out of items for school lunch boxes and the children’s dinner. Also, with 4 children, it has also become very expensive.
I decided to try out Hello Chef! for a week, to put a little zest and fun back into cooking for the family because there are days when I run out of headspace and my children are also bored by the usual receipes. Often, I also find when I am finally inspired by my large volumes of cookbooks to try new receipes, my enthusiasm then goes unrewarded as my key ingredient is not available typically in supermarkets here, and it could be something as common as organic eggs or chicken even though re-stocking at supermarkets has improved dramatically over the last 8 years. Hello Chef! has also saved me a week’s worth of painful supermarket shopping.
Hello Chef! is the creation of Olivia Manner, who is half Finnish and half French, and is herself a mum of two young children. She felt she had to give up her day job to find a new lifestyle that suited her family, and her passion was born. Olivia has a university degree in Hospitality Management from Finland which has given her a strong foundation to support the concept, whilst her French mother has given her memories and passion of family dinners that she hopes to re-create in more homes in Dubai and the rest of the UAE.
How it works?
Olivia and her team create new recipes every week, you can go online and choose the size pack that suits your family on www.hellochef.me and your ingredients and easy recipe instructions are delivered to your front door for free. Meals start at roughly AED35 a meal making it very economic too.
Who’s cooking now?
Most of the time I am rushing through dinner preparations having rushed around all afternoon covering children’s activities, and when we all get home I don’t always have the patience required to start cooking with children around 4.30pm. With Hello Chef! everything is delivered to our home in packages of Day 1 – Day 5 which are all clearly labelled, it has saved me sufficient time and patience to ask my oldest two children to cook with me. The truth is that my children love being in the kitchen cooking with me – my eldest boy tells me that is his favourite thing to do with me. It makes me really happy to spend this time with them. The recipes are simple enough that the children can read it themselves; and my 7 and 5 year-old are happy peeling potatoes, preparing the salmon and trying new recipes that work.
One of the dishes delivered home was chicken and broccoli pasta, and broccoli being one of my 5 year-old’s worst nightmare I was a little nervous but I made sure that was a meal she alone prepared it for her 3 brothers with a little help from me. The difference was she was so proud that she cooked it that she ate it (without the broccoli, of course) but even if there were tiny florets floating around she would happily eat it. I know if I had just laid out the already cooked meal in front of her at dinner time, she would have refused to eat any of it. She has since requested the dish again.
Leftovers can also be used for the children’s lunchbox at school the next day.
Dinners for friends
I rarely host dinner parties these days. After a 6am start everyday, I am often too tired to prepare dinner for anyone. We might go out but rarely host. With Hello Chef! I am probably more willing to invite just 2 or 3 friends round for a casual dinner London style. Imagine coming home, and finding all your ingredients on your doorstep. That is indeed becoming a luxury in my view.
I have always believed that despite the privileged help we receive at home, it is always important that children see their parents cooking. Also, I want them to understand the importance of preparing dishes from scratch, not out of jars and bottles. I know that is not always possible with our busy schedules so we cook and freeze a lot in batches to save time. Hello Chef! helps us to prepare fresh food that day.
I know my family loved it, and we will definitely be using Hello Chef! again especially for our super busy weeks.
For more information please visit www.hellochef.me