Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a personal chef and a private chef?
A private chef is employed by one individual or family full-time, and is often "living in," and preparing up to 3 meals per day.
A personal chef serves several clients, usually one per day, and provides multiple meals that are custom designed for the client's particular requests and requirements. These meals are packaged and stored so that the client may enjoy them at their leisure in the future.
Do you cook in my kitchen?
Yes, I do prepare your meals in your own kitchen. On our agreed upon cooking date I bring the fresh ingredients for your meals along with my own pots, pans and utensils, and prepare your entrees on site. At the end of the day I leave your kitchen clean, and full of the aroma of good home cooking.
How long will you be there?
I'll be cooking several different entrees and side dishes from scratch, so it will take several hours. I cannot say exactly how many hours, however I am most willing to work with your schedule or situation, and we can make arrangement in advance so that my cooking date fits into your schedule compatibly.
I'll be home that day, is it okay if I watch--or help?
Because I will be preparing several different recipes simultaneously, I cannot be distracted. When distracted, I could easily forget an ingredient, lose track of cooking/baking time which can result in poor quality meals. Poor quality meals are not a reflection of my service. Also, injuries can occur from being distracted. However, I will be more than happy to chat/discuss with you before or after personal chef service. In theory, your kitchen becomes my office on scheduled cook dates.
Do I heat the food?
Yes. Any entrees that have been stored for you in your freezer should be defrosted overnight in your refrigerator, and heated to be enjoyed at the peak of their flavor. I will leave you easy to follow heating instructions for each entree.
How much freezer space do you need?
It depends on the number of meals you request, and the sizes of the containers, but it does generally require a considerable amount of freezer space. Why don't we take a look at your freezer to see just how much room you have available? Efficient storage is one of the reasons we prefer to select the appropriate size, uniform storage containers for our clients.
Can you use my containers?
Once again, uniform size containers take less storage space in your freezer, and we will bring the appropriate containers for the entrees we are preparing each cooking date. If you will save the containers for us that held the entrees you have already enjoyed, we will take those back with us each cooking date, so we will actually be rotating containers in and out of your kitchen regularly. I will discuss with you on container options when we do client assessment interview.
What type of entrees and side dishes do you prepare? Can I choose the menu?
During the client assessment interview, I will become familiar with your likes, dislikes, allergies, and dietary needs. Based on that information gathered, I will offer you a menu of entrees and side dishes for you to choose from. Also, you may make specific requests, such as using a family heirloom recipe or a recipe you saw on Food Network that you would like to try for example. I prepare side dishes that complete the entree you have selected - for instance, if you have ordered a beautiful savory stew entree, I will prepare a rice side dish to be enjoyed with the stew. I always allow my clients to select and prepare their own green vegetables since people have such strong preferences in that area.
What if I want you to prepare additional side dishes or use premium entrees as well?
I'd be happy to provide that service for you; however, it will entail an additional fee.
The cost seems to be about what I would pay for an entree in a restaurant -- why is that?
Although my fees are expressed in a per entree or per serving fee, they actually represent all of the components that make up a professional personal chef service. For example, the assessment process that I complete to determine what you like to eat, and how you like to eat, and whether or not you have allergies, sensitivities or medically specific requirements we will take into account when preparing your entrees is one of the features - that, along with customizing our recipes to reflect your wants and requests, submitting meal selections for your approval, the grocery shopping, coming to your home to prepare your entrees in the safety of your own kitchen, plus packaging, labeling, and storing your entrees are more features.
If you were to compare a personal chef service to restaurant service you could think of it this way: For a restaurant, you must drive to get there, possibly wait for a table, take a chance that your server is having a good day, and if you have allergies or special requests you don't always have the guarantee that they will be honored, since most entrees are "assembly line" ready in the kitchen. After eating your meal you must pay for it, tip the server, and get back in your vehicle to drive home.
If you have a personal chef, you can heat a beautiful entree that has been prepared specifically for your palate and requirements and eat it in the comfort of your own home. You can even enjoy it curled up on the couch in your "jammies" if you want.
Do I pay ahead of each cooking date?
Yes, it is customary to pay for the service in advance of your cooking date. If you like you may leave me a check for the upcoming cooking date on the day I am cooking.
Can I order half of the regular service?
I wish I could make that available to you, but the service doesn't work that way. For this to be a profitable business for me, I cannot take the same amount of cooking time and produce half the amount of food. It takes the same amount of planning, shopping and preparation time to cook 10 portions of food as it does for 20 portions of food.