Stu Helm: Food Fan

Huge shout out to @Stuhelmfoodfan.

~Thank you for the beautiful pictures and the amazing things you had to say about Lean Times!!

Hi there Lean Timers! We reached out to Stu this past week to see if he would be interested in trying some of our products. Our original plan was to send him samples of our meats each week and he would cook it on his channel and leave us a review.

My how things changed.......

Those of you who know Chef Daniel and myself, know that we are rather eclectic and even whimsical at times.....well...most of the time. Regardless, when given a task we hold nothing back. Over the last few months, the Lean Times team has been toying around with the idea of offering CSA boxes or even just simple affordable meal kits. A local Hello Fresh model if you will. So when Blake handed the two of us the reins for the Stu collaboration, of course, we decided to go all out.

Stu was slightly briefed on the idea of us supplying a recipe with our first delivery, but other than that he was in the dark. Perfect!

We decided to have some fun and use Stu as a test subject for a meal kit prototype.

This would be a breeze, Chef Dan had the perfect recipe in mind. Easy to prepare, simple to execute, yet packed with a flavor profile Stu wouldn't be able to forget. We both recognized how important first impressions are and in this food town with a food fan like Stu Helm we were not about to risk anything! We were definitely all in! 

Two thick and juicy Apple Brandy center-cut pork chops, coated in Chef Daniels top-secret spice mix, seared on the stove and left to finish in the oven, sporting a healthy serving of pan tossed Brussel sprouts de-glazed in a homemade demi-Glace. And to bring it home, a mixture of sliced apple & pear wedges, rolled in a salted caramel sugar, roasted to perfection then topped with vanilla bean and crushed pink peppercorn flakes!.....Delicious!

 Okay, so we have the food taken care of, now its time to add some flare. A single trip to the hobby lobby and office max takes care of labels, spice baggies, and food-safe containers. Now its time to Design! 

Great!!! Looking Good, plain generic white labels get the job done but we're not quite there yet. Let's step it up a notch and make something that looks a bit fancier... I'm really just looking for an excuse to show off my Photoshop Skills!

Meanwhile, Chef Daniel has been spending his time adding some flare of his own to the box! After a quick run to Brisco Inc. in Swannanoa, we have a thin piece of sheet metal with our logo cut out. I wonder what he'll do with that?......OK, its time to bring it all together.


I mean.. At this point we're pretty darn happy with ourselves. It's looking so much better than we had hoped for. Now for the finishing touches. Remember that sheet metal we commissioned from Brisco? Well, here it is in all of its glory.

.....Okay so maybe we have a few kinks to work out. But it's still a really cool idea, right? Even still, our intention was to have this piece as a separator between the meal kit items and any other box contents.

To finish it up we fill the remaining space with an easy to follow recipe card and a GOOD amount of lean times stickers, and it's off for delivery.

Id say all and all not to shabby for our first attempt at a full meal kit. What really matters is that Stu enjoyed the meal and the overall experience. I think it's safe to assume he was pretty pleased .......I mean, he used our separator as a cutting board!

Stu, I speak for everyone here at Lean Times when I say that I cannot thank you enough for your support. I hope you had as much fun as we have. All of this means more to us than we can say but we are going to try anyway! Chef Daniel had spent 18 years in the foodservice industry and more specifically 18 years in the kitchen. In fact, the whole lot of us grew up in that industry and it goes without saying that, that line of work is not nearly as glamorous as Thomas Keller, Gordon Ramsay or any of the big names try to make it look. So, grateful and appreciative do not even begin to describe how truly thankful and humbled we all feel from this entire experience. Not to mention how incredibly excited we all are to take the next steps and continue on this new path.

So needless to say we want to give an extra big shout out to everyone who helped as we embarked on this adventure.

All of the seasonings in this recipe we're provided by:

The Spice & Tea Exchange of Asheville,

Our Sheet Metal Logo Plate Provided by:

Brisco Inc. Metal Fabrication,


And of Course Stu Helm for all your love and support:

Stu Helm: Food Fan,


oh......and I think Ol' Chef Dans Perfected the Separators...

Chef Daniel / Bleeding Edge Creations

Bleeding Edge Creations


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