As I’ve mentioned a few times, last spring I enrolled in Rouxbe’s plant-based cooking course, where I learned the importance of mise en place in cooking.
As you’re likely aware, mise en place is a French culinary term that means, simply, “everything in its place.” The idea is that before you begin the cooking process, you gather, measure, and chop all the ingredients.
Mise en place really makes all the difference…and yet I still rarely do it. When I DO actually do it, however, I’m so self-congratulatory, I can barely stand myself! There is something so satisfying about having everything ready at the exact moment you need it…..as opposed to having to dash into the pantry for broth while your vegetables are sticking to the pan.
And it was my love affair with the idea of mise en place that led me to……the Prepdeck!
I’d seen ads for the Prepdeck back when it was still a concept on Indigogo, but I’m far too impatient to order something and then wait a year and a half for it to be delivered, so I just kind of forgot about it….
….until last November when someone mentioned in one of my many vegan Facebook groups that you can now order the Prepdeck online and, well, it was on sale, so I couldn’t resist. I have, however, come to realize that the Prepdeck is always actually “on sale,” so there was no real rush.
I paid $109 USD, which translates to just over $149 CDN. I did not buy any of the extras, though I was tempted by the nifty little knife holder that fits into one of the drawers. That knife holder would’ve brought my bill up to over $200 CDN, so I’m glad I resisted. Plus, my darling James made me a lovely knife holder from $5 worth of cedar…and it fits perfectly!
My Prepdeck arrived twelve days later and I was quite pleased with how everything fit together so perfectly and by the number of tools included.
With some effort, the tools fit onto the tops of the large and medium containers and all are surprisingly sturdy, particularly in comparison to other, flimsier parts of the unit. The grater, mandoline slicer, zester, and juicer all work just fine, as does the herb stripper on the 4-in-1 tool. The peeler on the same tool is awkward to use, however–I sliced my finger just trying to turn it, and peeling vegetables is no easy feat since it doesn’t fit well in your hand.
The tools all fit into a drawer on the left side of the unit, but if you do not put them in the correct order, the drawer sometimes will not close. The lids for the large containers also fit into this drawer.
The drawer on the right can be used as a compost container or to hold knives, which is how I’m using it–notice James’ handiwork!
The Prepdeck fits nicely on our small kitchen island, and with my compost bucket attached to the drawer, the workspace is very efficient for chopping and measuring. The large containers each hold 2.5 cups, the medium 1 cup, and the small 1/4 cup. The mini containers hold just over 2 TBS each. The mini containers are a problem because they do not have flat bottoms, so you can’t set them down to measure; the only place they can sit is in the larger unit itself and, once in the unit, you can’t use the markings to measure. I used these mini containers only once or twice to take pictures.
Further, the markings on all of the containers are next to impossible to see, so you can’t really use them for fine measuring. If you know you need two cups of broccoli, for example, they’re fine, but if you’re measuring out 1.75 cups of broth, you’d be better off with a measuring cup with clear markings. The same is true for the mini containers–you still need a set of measuring spoons unless you’re measuring out 2 TBS of spices. The main issue I have with the containers, however, is that the lids do not close properly–they just sit on top of the containers, so if you want to store something in the fridge, you have to be careful when you pick up the containers so you don’t spill the contents everywhere.
The cutting board itself detaches from the unit for easy washing, which is handy, but, it’s not the best quality cutting board. According to Prepdeck, their cutting boards are made from “durable, high-quality polypropylene, a BPA free, antibacterial, food-safe material,” but every slice you make on it will result in a knife mark. Further, I once placed two warm pitas on the cutting board and the heat from the pitas caused the board to buckle up along the seam and stay that way until I placed a weight on it for several minutes.
It addition, the black design on the reverse side of the cutting board–the side that acts as a cover for the unit–was slightly bubbled when I received it and has now started actually peeling away from the edges. The skin (for lack of a better word) seems like cheap, poorly applied contact paper.
My other main issue with the Prepdeck is that, other than the tools, which are quite sturdy, the unit feels a bit flimsy–in fact, I’m always worried a corner of one of the drawers will snap off or I’ll shatter a container by dropping it on the tile floor.
I do love the convenience and design of my Prepdeck, but I have to say that I’m disappointed in its lack of quality, particularly since the unit was so expensive.
Had I paid, say, $49.99 for the Prepdeck, I would be perfectly satisfied, but I paid three times that amount, so I did expect a product of much higher quality.
Update: April 28th, 2020
As I mentioned above, the cutting board for the unit detaches for washing, slides back in easily, and attaches with three very strong magnets. One magnet fell out after three months and a second after four. The magnets are small, so they could be easily lost; fortunately, the tiny magnets stuck to a metal clamp on the island, so James glued them back in. Had the magnets have been lost or been scooped up and eaten by the dogs (a real possibility with the pebble-eating maniac, Poppy), they would be impossible to replace and that feature of the Prepdeck would be lost. A small detail, perhaps, but it does speak to the quality (or lack thereof) of the unit.
Update: March 26th, 2021
So, after sixteen months, The Prepdeck no longer sits on my little kitchen island: I gave it to James for his workshop (in which to store screws and nails). The peeling contact paper on the outside of the unit had become unsightly, and I was sick of trying to keep track of the little magnets that kept falling out. I also realized I used The Prepdeck only very, very rarely. Further, the only tools I ever used were the zester and the mandoline slicer; plus, getting the tool lids to fasten properly to the containers was just too fiddly and always took far too long.
My advice: spend your $150 on a year of Netflix or, better yet, a set of Global knives. James got me a set of three when I started my Rouxbe course and, though I laughed because we already had tons of knives, I have come to love my Global chef’s knife to the point I don’t like having to use any other knife. The quality is excellent, and if you keep them sharpened, slicing will always be a pleasure!
So that’s my honest review–the good, the bad, and the flimsy.
And the song of the day is, of course, the theme song to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: