Recently launched in the GTA, Personal Gourmet is nutrition and wellness expert Rose Reisman’s pre-prepared, frozen meal delivery service. As the name suggests, Reisman’s brand promises high quality ingredients, without preservatives or chemicals. Dishes cost approx. $7-$10, and are ordered through a virtual supermarket complete with pictures. They are offered in two overly virtuous categories, Healthy Living and Weight Loss, which differ only in portion size, not substance.
DailyXY committed to testing out two days/six meals of Personal Gourmet fare, designating day one for healthy living and day two for “dieting.” Each customer must input into the PG web site their gender, height, weight and fitness level, by way of calculating daily calorie allowance. The meals arrive in vacuum-sealed containers and can be prepared via oven, toaster or microwave — though, as with most foods, the lazy latter option proved limiting where texture is concerned. Here’s what we ate, and what we thought about it.
Day One: Healthy Living
Breakfast: Aztec burrito with scrambled eggs, black beans, corn, salsa and cheddar cheese
The verdict: Disappointing. In spite of hearty ingredients and a decent portion size, the eggs were slightly crumbly and artificial tasting, and the cheese a bit elastic-y. Still, the exterior was satisfyingly crispy and the whole meal nicely filling. It seems that no amount of gourmet preparation can make eggs and cheese properly conducive to freezing.
Lunch: Edamame and charred corn salad with water chestnuts, red peppers and grilled hoisin beef
The verdict: Tasty and filling. A nice balance of vegetables and meat. The beef was sweet and crisp, albeit with a hint of dryness, and the salad and edamame fresh and flavourful. This meal kept us filled for a number of hours.
Dinner: Hoisin meatloaf and roasted garlic mashed potatoes with sweet peas.
The verdict: Average. Two sizable slabs of meat were rounded out by a generous heap of deliciously fluffy mashed potatoes whose buttery flavour and soft texture belied the fact they had just been reheated. The meat was tasty but, again, vaguely dry, and would have benefited from being a tad less garlicky.
Day Two: Weight Loss
Breakfast: Buckwheat waffles with caramelized apples, dried cranberries and maple syrup
The verdict: Average. This dish was small, though perhaps such is the price for eating a dessert-like breakfast while on a “diet.” The waffles were perfectly sweet, without that sickly processed taste so often found in the supermarket frozen variety. The texture again left something to be desired, a fairly flaky consistency making it difficult to forget we weren’t eating something fresh. The apples and cranberries provided a tasty garnish, particularly succulent when doused in the accompanying syrup.
Lunch: Clubhouse sandwich with grilled chicken, prosciutto, avocado and cheddar cheese
The verdict: Tasty. While small, this sandwich was light, savoury and delicious, its contents melting sumptuously into the crispy, oven-warmed bread. Both taste and texture were fresh and satisfying.
Dinner: Grilled salmon with pesto and crumbled feta, and lemon couscous & green beans
The verdict: The highlight of the two-day trial. The portion was modest but not too small, and the lemon-tinged couscous was delightfully soft, refreshing and flavoursome. The pesto-encrusted salmon was succulent and tasty; the green beans tender and rich. (NB: The feta cheese was, mysteriously, MIA, though the meal by no means suffered for it.)
All in all, Personal Gourmet fulfilled its claims to convenience and nutrition. While the dishes themselves were certainly hit-and-miss, with the right selection, they could become the lazy/insanely busy yet health-conscious man’s occasional best friend.
Complete price list here. A small breakfast is $6.55 (“Weight Loss”), large portion $8.55 (“Healthy Living”); Lunch is $6.95 (small) or $8.95 (large); Dinner is $7.95 (small) or $9.95 (large).
Image courtesy of rockitpromo.