In 2016 Chef Cris Cohen decided to change direction, and we are so grateful.
Cris' new career started with a simple Facebook post for soup and bread. From it came a series of sold-out private dining events, corporate dining events and an epiphany to support and celebrate his local area in Stoke-On-Trent.
Then the pandemic hit. Born out of lockdown and the desire for incredible food, Feast at Home has transcended far beyond what they initially imagined. A monthly menu crafted and designed by Head Chef and Director Cris Cohen, taking inspiration from the seasons and locality, working with local producers and growers to bring flavours to life and give a sense of place.
Now, there has been debate on the place of meal kits post-pandemic. Do people really want fine dining at home, or was it a fad and a need during a time of significant change? I feel they are here to stay, and if the pandemic gave us one thing, it was another avenue for creating and sharing delicious food. They are a perfect mix of creating something unique and new, but with just enough hand-holding, you don't feel like you are going to balls it all up.
And that's where Cris and Feast At Home come into their own. They carefully and sympathetically walk the line between fine dining and over-complicated. Nothing is worse than investing in a "dine at home" experience if you feel intimidated by the ingredients and the method, and Cris has this balance perfect.
I had the opportunity to try June's box, but the menus change monthly, so I have no doubt yours will be different but equally as well constructed. The menu is five courses and consists of an intro, starter, main, dessert and petit fours. Each ingredient is labelled and easy to follow. The system is as simple as follows: every ingredient with an 'I' goes to the Intro, 'S' for the starter and so forth. And this is my point. There is simplicity and detail for the customer, with little room for confusion.
Each box has a simple instruction booklet with estimated timings and a picture of how it should look - once again, details.
Another point with meal boxes like this is the energy they offer to get people back in the kitchen cooking together. How many homes have one person in charge of cooking? When was the last time you tackled something different or exciting together? As I am partner-less, I roped in my trusty MumBear to get involved in making this meal. What it did on a Saturday night in June was bring us closer together and allow us to achieve something together. Priceless.
We kicked off with our Intro. Shredded Duck, Plum Porter Cracker, Sesame Pickled Cucumber, Spiced Brown Sauce. On paper, it sounds complicated, but in reality, it involved quick warming of the cracker and duck and a little assembly. Taste perfect. It really was an ideal intro to Cris' style of food. Ingredient-led but also creative.
Following that, we headed into a starter of Salt Baked Artichoke, Savoury Granola, Foraged Greens, Garlic Emulsion and Artichoke Crisps. My mums first try of artichokes, and now I feel I have created an addict. This was a real highlight for me and a perfect example of how Cris builds dishes around ingredients that people might not have tried without causing them to feel they may waste a dish.
Next was the main event, Brined Chicken, Burnt Onion, Tarragon Butter, Pearl Barley, Spinach, Radish. This took a little extra work with a few different pans, but a main should. This was a well-rounded wholesome dish which wasn't shy when it came to portion size (though this could be me wanting to eat all of the tarragon-infused pearl barley. Restraint is not my middle name).
After a break and a glass of wine, we reached the end of the meal. This month's box served up Strawberries, Cherry Curd, Summer Treacle Tart, Light Summer Praline. Another substantial portion (not that I am complaining) and the perfect end to a meal. Treacle tart is something I never order, but I will do going forward. The pastry was light, the filling delicious, and all it involved was some gentle heating in the oven.
No meal is truly over until the petit fours come out. This box contained Elderflower Fruit Pastilles, and this extra luxury cleansed the palate and was the perfect full stop on what turned out to be a really lovely evening.
Feasted has got it in spades. And if you ever have the pleasure of meeting Cris, you will see his passion for food and his local area. Rumours are this is just the start for Feasted, with exciting things planned for 2022 and 2023. I, for one, can't wait to see what this is.
So tonight, put down the takeaway menu and cancel the Uber. Bring delight to your home, and get together with the ones you love and Feast.
A Box is £80 for 2 and is available from https://www.feasted.co.uk/feast-at-home
[Items in this article may have been gifted to Chatting Food. No financial payment has been made to feature in this article, and entries to the feature are made independently by members of the Editorial Team. This page contains affiliate links and we may receive a small commission for purchases]
Chatting Food Contributor: Ellen Pope
Self-confessed potty mouth, mother of pooch and eater of 99.9% of food (don't bring me marzipan and tell me it is food). Ellen is the founder and Editor of Chatting Food Magazine and on a one-woman mission to talk food to everyone. Usually found tweeting, eating, sleeping, repeating.