DIY recipe kits have been steadily increasing in popularity since the start of the pandemic, from chains to independent restaurants and entrepreneurial start-ups, businesses are capitalising on the trend. A niche with its origins rooted in the pandemic, recipe kits soon became a firm favourite, tapping into consumer demand for livening up mealtimes while avoiding never-ending supermarket queues.

Bridging the gap between delivery and dining in, recipe kits encourage consumers to be more adventurous in the kitchen without the investment of vast quantities of food cupboard items which may never see the light of day again. In this month’s Melting Pot, our panel of experts tell us about their successes and how they make their DIY recipe kits stand out from the crowd.

Robert Thompson, Chef Owner and Founder, You Be Chef

“Sustainability is really important to me and I relish the chances I have to get out, explore and forage on the Isle of Wight. Everything you need to create your weekly menu at home will arrive in a sustainable box, with 95% of packaging compostable by the end of 2021. So, even if it ends up in landfill, packaging will decompose without harming the planet.

Our meal kits have weekly-changing menus with at least four starters, mains and desserts to choose from. We also have dishes suitable for vegetarians and vegans too. These can be ordered up to four weeks in advance to bring dishes bursting with in-season, quality ingredients to your doorstep. Our menu this season includes a Parfait of Sauteéd Chicken Livers with a Smoked Chicken Butter, followed by a Ballotine of New Forest Venison with a Chicken and Roasted Chestnut Mousse, amongst other delicious dishes. The kits can be purchased for under £50 per person.”

Hannah Tokumine, Managing Director, Japan Centre

“Our chefs prepare all of the ingredients fresh for each DIY Kit, which then gets packaged up and sent off to our customers on the same day to ensure maximum freshness. Our best-selling DIY Kit is the Spicy Tuna and Salmon Roll DIY Sushi Kit, which comes with freshly cut sushi-grade tuna and salmon by our in-house team of sushi chefs making it really easy for our customers to roll sushi at home.

We currently offer 7 DIY Kits, from authentic Japanese meals to sake flights and cookies, even a party kit which contains our popular sushi DIY Kit as well as the Sake Flight Kit and the Matcha and Sakura Cookies Kit, which makes for a perfect weekend family activity.”

Aneta Jarzmik, General Manager, Hard Rock Café Manchester

“Launched in April 2021, Hard Rock @Home is the brand’s first-ever foray into ‘cook at home’ fresh food boxes, and focuses on two of the most popular menu items – steak burgers and BBQ baby back ribs. We weren’t the first to market with such kits, but we spent a lot of time to make sure we got it right, and the food was as fresh as possible, reflecting the quality and care we put into the food in the restaurant. 

Attention to detail was key – for instance, the ribs were smoked in-house just as they are when served in the restaurant. With items vacuum packed and chilled, the box included all the ingredients, such as spice mixes and rubs, and detailed instructions. We partnered with meal kit experts Plateaway to offer UK-wide delivery.”

Kanji Furukawa, Executive Chef, Shoryu

“Sold online or via Restokit and Plateaway, our Shoryu DIY Kit – Ganso Ramen is our best seller, giving customers a real taste of Hakata tonkotsu ramen. The Tonkotsu pork soup takes over 12 hours of cooking at a constant boil, which we make in our kitchens. We work with a Japanese noodle-making master, to create the perfect original ‘hosomen’ thin noodles for our ramen and all our toppings are hand prepared in our kitchen.  We’re constantly innovating and looking for new ideas, from creating vegan kits to working with Japanese Virtual pop star Hatsune Miku on a DIY kit collaboration.”