CrateChef Brad Leone Box Review + Coupon – June 2018
CrateChef is a bi-monthly subscription box curated by top-name chefs. They send artisan foods, recipes, and kitchen supplies in each box, typically with a cookbook or recipe cards from the featured chef so you can put your items to use!
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About This Celebrity Chef Subscription Box
The Subscription Box: CrateChef
The Cost: $45 a box (plus $6 shipping per box) or $44 a box when you choose a 3-month subscription. You may also purchase a one-time gift box for $49 a box (plus $6 shipping).
The Products: Artisan foods, recipes, and kitchen tools, curated by a different chef each month– usually from the Southern region of the US.
Ships to: U.S.
CrateChef June Review: Brad Leone
Each CrateChef box starts off with an introduction to the chef curator, which for this box is Brad Leone of It’s Alive With Brad. This web series is totally new to me, as is Brad and his interest in fermented foods. CrateChef is right, though– it’s very addictive! Especially if you love food and science like I do!
The back of the card has more info about all of the items in this month’s box. Sometimes CrateChef includes recipes or cookbooks, but this month they’ve referenced some of Brad’s web series episodes and have made simple suggestions for some other items.
There’s also an included Q&A with Brad that talks more about his show and his experience in Bon Appetit’s test kitchen, as well as some background on some of the items in the box.
I’m starving so let’s dig in!
Lodge Cast Iron 6.5″ Pan – Retail Value $7.99
The first thing I noticed this month was how HEAVY this box was… and this little cast iron pan is part of the reason why! I am a big fan of cast iron, so I was thrilled to add this little 6.5″ pan to my kitchen.
Lodge is a great and well-known brand, too. My other main cast iron skillet is an off-brand and I’ve never been able to get a great perfectly smooth surface on it. By comparison, this pan came pre-seasoned perfectly and has given me no trouble since I started using it.
In fact, the first thing I cooked up was a couple of fried eggs– something I’d never do in my other skillet. They turned out amazing and literally NOTHING stuck to the pan. I’ve been using this several times a week and it’s seriously my favorite new egg pan.
Bee Local Raw Honey – Retail Value $12
I love raw honey. Give it to me in tea and with butter on toast, and my belly is happy.
Single origin honey is always a treat, too, because it picks up the flavors of whatever is local to that area. I’m a fan of how spicy wildflower honey can be, for example.
This variety from Willamette Valley seemed pretty mellow and well-rounded to me. If I had to guess, I’d say it was mostly from clover, but I’m not totally sure. Either way, it’s delicious and super smooth!
Brad apparently loves canned fish! I’ve never actually had mackerel before, although I’m a big fan of Alton Brown’s sardine and avocado sandwich. I’m definitely considering dressing this the same way.
My husband has his eyes on it, though, so it may not last much longer in our pantry.
Canned fish is a great source of protein and healthy fats! We eat our fair share of tuna but it’s nice to mix it up once in awhile, so I’m very curious to taste test this soon.
Cultures for Health San Francisco Sourdough Starter – Retail Value $13.99
Bread is one of those things I *wish* I was good at making… but I just don’t have enough experience with it. I used to do the infamous no-knead bread recipe pretty regularly but I’ve fallen out of the habit.
I was definitely intrigued by this sourdough kit! It comes with starter and some very thorough instructions. It took about 5 days for me to get the starter going… If you’ve never made sourdough before, you have to feed it every day with flour and water to get things going.
So far, I’ve attempted one sourdough loaf which was an abject failure. Ha! The starter itself is doing well and is very happy. But since I’m so new to making bread, I added too much flour to my dough while I was kneading and it was so dry that it wouldn’t proof and rise properly. I ended up squashing it into a kind of flatbread instead. The sourdough taste was fabulous so I really just need to work on my technique.
I think I might try a no-knead version next time since I’ve had good results that way. Brad’s sourdough video has a lot of useful tips for working with a very wet dough as well, and it made me feel better that they also had their fair share of failures while making the video. 🙂
We also got a 20% off coupon for Cultures for Health, the company who makes this starter. They have some other really cool products for making other fermented foods, too! I had no idea you could make your own tempeh and now I’m very intrigued.
Back to the Roots Organic Mushroom Mini Farm – Retail Value $10.09
Oh man… these kits are sooo much fun! My mom had gifted these to everyone a few years back for Christmas. There’s something so bizarre about growing your own mushrooms.
The kit comes with instructions and a big bagged ‘brick’ of soil that’s already prepped for mushrooms:
My husband loathes mushrooms, unfortunately, so I haven’t gotten around to starting this yet, but I think it will be a cool activity to share with my son. We’ve been enjoying gardening together this year.
It’s also cool that CrateChef is sending some more interactive items in this box since we usually get just ingredients and tools and recipes!
Another handy kitchen item, recommended if you want to get into making your own cheese!
This is something I’ve needed multiple times and despite how affordable it is, have never managed to keep in the kitchen when I need it. Making ricotta seems pretty simple so I just might have to give it a shot soon!
Wildwood Alder Grilling Wraps, Set of 4 – Estimated Value $5 (Buy a set of 8 for $9.99)
Finally, we have a set of grilling wraps! I’m familiar with using wood planks to infuse some woodsy flavor in grilling or other cooking, but these wraps are thinner and designed to actually be wrapped fully around your food. Pretty cool!
I’m intrigued by the veggie recipe they are including here. I love grilled veggies but they’re so delicate and can be a bit of a pain, so I bet cooking them on the planks is not only delicious but a bit easier too. Looking forward to trying this soon!
Verdict: When I received this CrateChef box, I immediately texted a photo to a friend of mine who is into fermented foods and she immediately responded with “WHAT! WANT!”. It’s definitely a box that appeals to foodies who love to experiment in the kitchen. This box, in particular, felt like it contained a lot of great items, all of which I’ll actually use but also which push me out of my comfort zone a bit!
I love that it introduces me to new chefs and food personalities at the same time as teaching new ideas and techniques, but giving lots of room for you to learn and explore on your own. I felt like I could see the connection for each of these items back to Brad Leone’s personal tastes and style, and it felt overall like a really cohesive box– and had a lot of fun new things to try, too! I’m looking forward to baking up more sourdough soon.
Value Breakdown: I was honestly surprised when I added up the total and found it to be $56.57, which is just $5 over the $51 price point of this box including shipping. This is less overall value than our last CrateChef box, but it’s still a very solid collection and in all honesty: as long as a good food box actually breaks even, you’re still getting a fair deal. (Food boxes seem to consistently have pretty slim margins.)
At $51 for this box, here’s what you are paying approximately per item:
- Lodge Cast Iron Pan – $7.20
- Raw Honey – $10.85
- Mackerel – $2.25
- Sourdough Starter – $12.64
- Cheesecloth – $3.60
- Mushroom Farm Kit – $9.94
- Alder Wraps – $4.52
If I sign up today, will I get this box? Yes, if you choose! When you join CrateChef, you can select which box you receive first. The Brad Leone box is currently available as of publication.
CrateChef is bi-monthly, so their next box will be released in August.
COUPON– Use code ADDICTION10 to save 10% off your first box!
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What do you think of this month’s CrateChef? Any sourdough bread tips for me? Let us know in the comments!