We tested Sysco@Home’s new restaurant-quality food delivery service

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Since the pandemic started in March, meal and grocery delivery options in Toronto have surged in popularity—just ask anyone trying to find a decent delivery time back in April. The latest addition to the game, Sysco@Home, gives shoppers access to the same top-quality foods and brands that restaurants use. That’s because it’s not a grocery store: the service was launched by Sysco Canada, the leading foodservice and restaurant supplier in the country. We decided to try it out.

Ordering

The website was refreshingly simple and intuitive. After entering our address and selecting the nearest location, we were able to browse the options, which were organized into easy categories like Pantry, Prepared Meals, Protein, Fruits and Veggies and Bakery and Desserts. There’s also a section devoted to PPE and sanitizer, which is still quite well-stocked. We didn’t recognize many of the culinary brands, but that’s because most of the them are exclusive to the restaurant industry, and aren’t available in regular grocery stores.

One thing we noticed quickly was that order quantities were enormous, which makes sense for a food supplier. But it might make things tricky if you’re only buying for yourself. On the other hand, larger families will be thrilled with the bulk options, and, since many of the items come frozen, you can stock up for months. For instance, you can order a five-kilogram package of four-ounce Sysco Classic frozen chicken breasts for $70, or 108 packets of oatmeal for $27.

We were tempted by many of the frozen entrées, which had mouth-watering dishes like braised beef ravioli or potato gnocchi that could easily serve a crowd. But instead, we decided to test out one of their frozen protein variety packs, which offers deals on a selection of BBQ staples. Ours included four striploin steaks, four boneless chicken breasts and two packages of ground beef for $55. We also ordered a bag of frozen vegetarian falafels, and tried out some of the fresh produce, picking a bag of heirloom carrots and oranges. To cap it off with a special treat, we opted for 30 mini vegan, gluten-free chocolate cakes. The entire bill was under $200.

Delivery

We ordered on a Friday, and everything arrived the following Monday at 10 a.m. The packages themselves arrived in brown cardboard boxes, and the meat was all conveniently vacuum-sealed. Our bag of heirloom carrots (which only cost $10, by the way), was larger than expected, clocking in at over 10 pounds, and the bag of frozen falafels will probably provide hassle-free lunch options until at least 2021. The company offers free delivery on all orders over $300. Since ours was less, we paid around $20 for delivery. Considering the abundance of frozen bulk options, next time we’d be happy to place a larger order.

Cooking

The night we received our delivery, we defrosted two of the striploin steaks, rubbed them in a blend of spices and barbequed them with some buttery, garlicky roasted carrots. The steaks were tender and juicy, and the carrots fresh and flavourful. Despite our average cooking skills, the quality of the meal could have easily passed for an upscale restaurant. For dessert, we unpacked two of the frozen chocolate cakes and popped them in the oven for 10 minutes. They were a perfectly gooey, decadent way to end a meal—a luxury we don’t often allow ourselves when dining at home (somehow we predict the 28 we still have left over won’t last all that long).

Overall experience:

Extremely positive. The service offers unique options for bulk orders you won’t find anywhere else, without sacrificing quality. Plus, the order and delivery processes were simple and seamless. With Thanksgiving coming up, you can likely score nearly everything you need for a festive feast, including whole turkeys, plates of cabbage rolls and tons of pies (personally, we have our eye on the Bakersource Classic wild blueberry). It’s especially ideal for larger families, and those who want to create special, restaurant-worthy meals from the comfort of their home.

To start your shopping list, head to syscoathome.com.