With a plethora of DIY recipe boxes flooding the market, lead by the by now almost household name ‘Hello Fresh,’ it was somewhat surprising to learn that local Claygate resident Anita Hockin has resigned from her city job as online director for a leading bank, to, yes that’s right, set up another cook box delivery company.

I went to see Anita to investigate further this dramatic move from email inbox to spice ‘n rice box and to learn why she felt her product ‘Cook Happy’ stood a chance competing in the already busy market of Abel and Cole, Simply Cook, Goustoand Farmeston to name but a few.  

First is the concept.  Unlike most of the other recipe boxes, Cook Happy is not aimed at the overly busy cook who simply lacks time, it is instead targeted toward the more hesitantcook.  The cook who produces the same 6 recipes time and time again, not necessarily because they lack time, but because they lack confidence.  

For the less confident cook the thought of reading through recipe books, shopping for the right ingredients, storing multiple ingredients, and then attempting to cook a new dish fills them with fear.  Indeed, 39% of people find that half the new recipes they try out don’t work.

As Anita explains of her own experience. ‘ I was a working mum, working long hours in finance.  Midweek meals were a constant chore.  Keen to give my family variety, but never having the right ingredients and lacking any real cooking ability, I was shocked when I realised I had been feeding my family the exact same meals day in, day out for nearly ten years!’

This realisation alone was enough to make Anita want to do something about it.  She signed up to a recipe box company but quickly felt overwhelmed.  ‘The food boxes kept coming, there was so many ingredients to sort through, and whilst clearly written, the recipe instructions assumed a certain level of knowledge and ability that I just didn’t have’.

Working with her lovely French friend Greg, a chef of 20 years, Cook Happy was created.  All the hard to find ingredients are provided, along with the easiers ones too, all perfectly  measured out and all the recipes have been tried and tested again and again, and as Anita says ‘if I can make them, anyone can.’

So what else makes Cook Happy stand out.

Price.  Whilst there is a requirement to buy one or two fresh ingredients for each recipe, the average cost of a recipe box for two is £5, compared with £12 at Hello Fresh.  Taking the cost of the fresh ingredients into consideration it is still over 25% cheaper.

Size.  All the ingredients are packaged tightly in a box that will fit through your letterbox, so there’s no leaving the box out on the porch of everyone to see.

Seasonality:  All the recipes are based around the seasonal produce available in the supermarkets.

Control:  There is no minimum sign up.  You can choose  justone or multiple boxes whenever suits you, and as you buy the fresh ingredients yourself, you can control exactly any sell by dates and when you use your box.

And finally, their overall philosophy …  ‘Inspiring each other to be more confident and creative in home cooking, and to eat better.’

It will be interesting to follow ‘Cook Happy’ and see where they are against the current recipe box giants in a few years time.

My final message is well done to Anita for taking a leap of faith and may we all take something from her story