After being caged in our houses during the pandemic, all we wanted to do was go out. So we did. We went out, and then we went out again and then we went out some more. Now, our social batteries are drained and we're once again ready to find the balance between going out and staying cozy inside ordering takeout and delivery from the best restaurants in Toronto

When I'm tired from a long day or a long week (or a long year — we see you 2024), ordering in feels so good... in the moment. But it often leaves me feeling icky afterwards — especially when I opt for greasy fast food or when I think about how delivery apps are gouging restaurants. Recently, I tried out Cookin, a food delivery app meets online marketplace for homemade meals made by professional home cooks. 

Cookin app for homemade food delivery | A spread of dishes from Chao Lay

Cookin: What is it?

Remember when everyone was selling homemade food through Instagram during the pandemic? This is kind of like that, but Cookin requires their professional home cooks to have an Ontario Food Handler Certification, and the company performs a health and safety attestation. The result is a regulated, safe and convenient way to order delicious and diverse meals on nights when I don’t feel like slogging through the two-hour dinner process, but still want the comfort and health benefits of a home-cooked meal.

The chefs get to decide what they're cooking and when, so while it's not as predictable as some other delivery platforms, there is an element of discovery. Users have to open the app and see what's available when they want to order. But checking to see what's cookin (sorry) before deciding on dinner does give the feeling that the cook is actually crafting something special just for you — just like when someone makes you a home-cooked meal. 

Cookin app for homemade food delivery | Creamy Pad See Ew Truffle with Seared Wild Scallops from Chao Lay

Cookin: What's on the menu

The Cookin app hosts lots of options from chefs and restaurants with diverse backgrounds cooking a variety of cuisines. From Indian, Persian, Ukrainian, Lebanese and Indonesian cuisine to baked goods and beverages, there's plenty for your tastebuds to explore. 

When I try Cookin, we order for the office from two different chefs. Thai concept, Chao Lay whips up contemporary mains starring plenty of seafood. The Street Pad Thai Shrimp and Truffle Shrimp Fried Rice are deliciously flavour-packed, without the heat. Creamy Pad See Ew Truffle with Seared Wild Scallops perfectly showcases the creativity of blending traditional Thai flavours with modern flare.

Cookin app for homemade food delivery | A spread of dishes in takeout containers from Tastes of Telanga

Tastes of Telanga, which serves authentic dishes from the Indian province, came in with super spicy, halal Chicken Dum Biryani served with a cooling raita (yogurt-based chutney).

We easily gobble up everything from Chao Lay, ranking it among the best Thai restaurants in the Toronto, but the heat from Tastes of Telanga slows us down. 

Both orders leave us wanting to discover more of the homemade meals on the Cookin food delivery app. Whether for office lunches, easy weeknight dinners or cozy Friday nights in, we'll definitely be ordering from Cookin again.