I went into this review wanting Gordon Ramsay to succeed.
I really did.
The reason is that I actually like Gordon Ramsay.
I’ve been a fan since I saw the British version of Kitchen Nightmares. It’s much different than its American counterpart – and I’ve seen that whole thing too.
Chef Ramsay’s producers must have told him to act extra angry and dramatic on the American version – the British version gives him a lot longer to work with the restaurants and he acts more like a mentor.
(Hell’s Kitchen just isn’t my thing.)
This new line of frozen meals called By Chef Ramsay just dropped in Walmarts, along with Guy Fieri, Kardea Brown, and Andrew Zimmern. They’re supposedly eight of Ramsey’s favorite meals.I bought the four available at my nearest Walmart – each cost $5.90.
And after eating four of the meals, I refuse to spend another $24 to taste them all.
If there is a common theme running through these meals, it is salty.
We know Chef Ramsay is a salty fellow – I’m salty too. You’ll often finding me wearing a necklace that says Salty. I’m dedicated to salt and usually add more. But if something’s too salty , even for me, it too forking salty.
Lemon Caper Chicken
Obviously, a microwaved chicken cutlet isn’t going to be crispy, but the chicken was tender and had a decadent “fried” flavor. I liked the abundance of broccoli florets. And while the potato wedges weren’t crispy, they were creamy and seasoned well.
Microwaving made the sauce slightly gummy, but it had a nice acidic kick and astringency from the capers.
All in all, besides tasting a little too salty, a nicely balanced and portioned meal.
I saw a Youtube video where the reviewers didn’t like this dish because they said it was “mushroomy.” I thought that was ridiculous.
There is so much cheese in this meal, that it has a strange texture when you try to stir it. While flavor of the white wine, mushrooms, and parmesan is very sophisticated, I didn’t particularly like it. And again, it was extremely salty.
Slow Roasted Beef
I have beef with this beef.
LOOK AT THE SODIUM CONTENT! IT’S EVEN SALTIER THAN THE OTHER TWO.
“You won’t die now, but over time, yes.”
My beef with this beef (besides the sodium) is the amount of beef. I’m counting three actual chunks of beef and some debris.
The sauce tasted rich, winey, and sophisticated.
But for $6, this is just not enough beef. The three chunks of beef were very tender. But the meal had me diving for water all day.
Ahhh, the cooked lasagna, back down to the 40% sodium level threshold again.
Doesn’t look like much, but tastes the best of the four meals.
Al dente noodles, flavorful meat sauce, creamy cheese filling, chewy melty cheese. I like it! Still salty, but not as overwhelming as the other three.
Compared to a frozen Rao’s meal, it contains about two ounces more food and more sodium, but is more satisfying.
In Conclusion. . .
These are the fanciest, saltiest, most sophisticated frozen meals I don’t want to buy again.
As positives, the ingredient lists are pretty simple and they go big on flavor.
Even though this Mashable review ranks two I haven’t tried as the best, I refuse to spend another $24 to taste the rest, unless someone wants to Venmo me the money (it’s @jennifer-flaa by the way, I got preschool and daycare to pay for!).
We’re fans of AYO Foods West African frozen meal line available at Target. If someone gave me $6 and told me I had to buy a frozen meal, I’d still buy AYO’s chicken yassa or peanut chicken meal.
This whole quest is turning out to be, “but is it better than an AYO meal?”
I’m still determined to try the other celebrity chef lines at Walmart – stay tuned for taste tests of Guy Fieri, Andrew Zimmern, and Kardea Brown’s meals next.