The world’s worst chef learns to cook with HelloFresh
Reporter Katie Garner cautiously steps into the kitchen with the help of HelloFresh.
I, like many college students, have no intuition when it comes to cooking. My specialties as a chef include a bowl of cereal, peanut butter and jelly and dino nuggets. I also have no standards for what I do eat; you could offer me a multiple course meal at a five-star restaurant or some chicken nuggets, and it would honestly be a toss up as to what I would choose.
Are you still hesitant to believe I am really such a horrible cook? Well, I have one more story to convince you: I once put plastic on a stove top and was shocked to find that instead of water coming to a boil, the container melted onto the stove. I’m not even going to mention the number of times I’ve accidentally created sparks in the microwave.
However, in an effort to be more of a “grown up,” I decided it was time to learn how to cook, at least a little bit. I had to put all of my past failures in the back of my mind and tried to find a solution to make up for my lack of intuition. The solution I found was HelloFresh.
For those who do not know what HelloFresh is, it is a company that sends you a box of ingredients for different meals with instructions on how to make a meal. I attempted to make the following: chicken sausage and tomato risotto, toasted coconut tempura shrimp and bulgogi pork tenderloin. Here is how it went.
NIGHT ONE: Chicken Sausage & Tomato Risotto
First, before I tell you all of the mistakes I made, I want to say that, despite my errors, this actually turned out very good. It received my sister’s stamp of approval, and she is one of the most critical people I know. However, I would be lying if I said this went seamlessly.
My first mistake was drizzling too much oil in the pan to cook the sausage, which ended in hot droplets of oil flying at me. This prompted my sous-chef (my mom) to step in almost immediately out of concern. It was disappointing to need help so quickly, and it definitely shook my confidence a bit.
Nevertheless, I pushed on, unwilling to accept defeat. Next, came chopping up the fruits (if you think a tomato is a fruit) and veggies. Even as the smell of the onion infiltrated my sinuses, I kept going as tears flowed down my face. It was done: a tomato, an onion and a zucchini all sliced and ready to go.
Then came making the actual risotto. What I did not know about cooking risotto is that it is not a fast process. Given that I had only left an half an hour for me to cook this meal between Zoom calls, I am sad to say I had to pass the rest of this one off to my sous-chef.
Even though this one was completed far from independently, I am proud of what I contributed and how it turned out. It was definitely progress.
NIGHT TWO: Toasted Coconut Tempura Shrimp
First, I am proud to say that I did this one almost entirely on my own. One plus is that it began with cooking rice which was a nice confidence boost, and everything else was mostly just mixing things together.
Frying the shrimp, however, was no easy task. Luckily, I learned from my past experience of cooking with oil, and I was a bit more prepared this time. I put on an apron like a real chef, and covered my arms with gloves like the wuss I am.
Overall, I am proud to say that things turned out really well and that I definitely pushed myself outside of my comfort zone in terms of learning new skills. I never imagined myself frying food, creating my own sauce or, especially, doing all of these things at once.
NIGHT THREE: Bulgogi Pork Tenderloin
My confidence was high after the successes of the previous night. I started this one with no fear. It started with just chopping veggies and cooking rice: How hard could it be?
After the vegetables and the rice were good to go, it was time to actually cook the meat. For some back story, it is important to know that I was a vegetarian for many years of my life, and I still like to avoid meat when it’s convenient (except for chicken nuggets — I will always eat chicken nuggets).
When I reached into my refrigerator for the pork, I was horrified to find a bag of raw, mushy meat soaked in blood. The sight alone was more than enough for me, so I had to rely on my sous-chef to get it out of the bag and ready to cook.
I am proud to say, however, that I overcame a bit of fear transferring the meat to the pan. Did I like it? No, but I did feel accomplished. I finally felt like a real adult.
Despite the terror making this meal instilled in me, I am proud to say it turned out well, and this one definitely also pushed me out of my comfort zone.
So that is how it all went; there was definitely a bit of drama, but I consider the lack of a fire or a sliced finger a success. Overall, I learned that despite my lack of intuition, I am definitely no longer the world’s worst chef. I also, however, would not call myself a good one.
Nevertheless, I now have faith that I could be decent one day. If you’re considering learning how to cook, I definitely recommend it. You might feel a bit more like an adult, and if you fail, who has to know? Just try to keep all your fingers on your hands and avoid flames.