Personal chefs give new meaning
to eating in. They bring the groceries to your kitchen and cook up several dinner
dishes right there.
Leaving the monotony of after-work meal planning,
preparation and cooking to a professional personal chef can help trim the fat
from your food budget. No more impulse buys during a sprint through the supermarket.
And if you dine out a lot, a personal chef makes for a delicious substitute.
is a cost-effective alternative for eating out," says David MacKay, executive
director and founder of the United
States Personal Chef Association in Rio Rancho, N.M. "For the same money you'd
spend at a middle-of-the-road restaurant, a personal chef can prepare you a healthy
meal and prepare the style of food you're looking for."
These chefs strive to accommodate their clients'
tastes and eating priorities, whether it is a low-fat, low-carbohydrate, high
protein or diabetic menu. A chef meets and interviews potential clients who fill
out a questionnaire. The chef then designs a customized menu of dinners and side
dishes based on the clients' preferences and reviews the menu with the clients
before cooking day.
Using the clients' appliances and
kitchen, the chef goes to work. Meals are refrigerated or frozen, and the client
reheats them according to the chef's instructions. This culinary convenience costs
an average of $15 to $20 per person per entree. But the price can vary depending
on how diet restrictions, the number of servings, location of the home and frequency
of service. MacKay says chefs generally stick to dinners because it's the most
problematic meal of the day.
Keep 'em comin' back
Hirsch, a doctor in San Diego, received the personal chef service as a birthday
gift from his wife.
"We both work, and we put a tremendous
value on family time," Hirsch says.
The personal chef came
to the Hirschs' home once a month and prepared enough meals for 12 to 14 evenings.
He said the chef can cook much more efficiently than either he or his wife, although
they still like to cook on their own and eat out.
looking to break away from the ball-and-chain feeling you get from the stove,
then a personal chef who will slave away in the kitchen for you might be perfect.
To find a personal chef of your own, try
searching by location through free referral databases from the
American Personal Chef Association or at Hireachef.com.
to ask a personal chef you are considering hiring:
you properly licensed and insured for the municipality? (Some municipalities don't
- How long have you been in business?
did you get your training?
- Are you affiliated with any professional
- Are you certified by or a member of either
the United States Personal Chef Association or the American Personal Chef Institute?
C. Fleitas contributed to this story.