The Box: A Game Changer for Cooks

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Written by Melissa Chang
Photography by Will Chen and Jessica Pearl

I used to cook a lot, and was pretty good at it, too. But, like making food your medicine is key in helping to prevent diseases. many of us, I got busy with my career and the time it took to plan, shop, prep and make a hot meal at home became quite an elusive luxury.

I tried CSA boxes to get ingredients delivered, but often didn’t know what to do with the produce or needed to get more things to make something. Anything.

But then a game-changer entered the market: Will Chen and Jed Inductivo— who had worked for years in food and beverage at Starwood Hawaii — created HI Fresh Box. Chen is a Cordon Bleu-trained chef, and Inductivo has scientific training through the pre-med program at Cornell University. About a year ago they put their knowledge and talents together to create a de- livery service that provides pre-measured whole ingredients for three nutritious, low-carb meals for two people.

Each meal comes with a recipe card that you can keep if you want to make the dish again; the recipes never repeat and are seasonal.The ingredients in the box are about 85 percent locally sourced and are organic when possible.

They take their concept a step further by having registered di- etician Beth Denowski, of Imua Orthopedics, Sports & Health, review their recipes before they roll them out.

“Each portion is carefully measured, and Beth’s input helps teach people about portion control,” Inductivo explains. “Our meals — comprised of whole foods — are designed for what your body can process efficiently with a balanced amount of fiber, carbs, green vegetables and protein.”

Families have been a big market for them, as people can use HI Fresh Box to bond with their kids as they teach them about cooking, and then can all sit down to a hot meal together. Senior citizens have emerged as another unexpected growing market. Since it comes out to $12 per meal, it’s a reasonable and nutri- tious alternative for kupuna who like to cook but want to take life easy and have someone plan their meals out (and deliver the ingredients) each week.

“It’s important to take control of your health and understand what is going on in your body,” Inductivo said. “The concept of making food your medicine is key in helping to prevent diseases.

“Plus, there’s something therapeutic about cooking… to get back to yourself and enjoy a very basic skill that nourishes you,” he added.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 7.08.03 PMCustomers can now take their home cooking up a notch, as HI Fresh Box will start offering wine pairings this summer.You can opt to buy a bottle of wine that the team has selected to pair with one or all of your meals, and impress your friends with your Martha Stewart moments.

My box had three vacuum-packed proteins: Fish, beef and pork. All the ingredients for the sides were pre-measured — like the quinoa or soy sauce — and pretty much all I had to do was cut things up and add water or oil as needed for cooking as I fol- lowed the recipe instructions.

The result was three fancy meals for two, something that was fast and easy to make but not anything I would have thought up on my own. Since I’m single, it was nice to have a fancy dinner and subsequently a complete fancy lunch the next day that didn’t take much of my time. And now, I have the recipe cards so I can make these dishes again.

I never take photos of my home cooking, but these were so nice that I had to photograph and post them so the world could see that I am, indeed, a home cook.

If you want to try a HI Fresh Box, you can visit their website at and put in an order.