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Indulging In A Personal Chef

Updated on December 30, 2009

If you're in a two income household, it's likely that you both rush around all day. When you get home at night, you're not up to shopping or cooking. So instead of trying to resolve your "what's for dinner?" dilemma by eating out, you can dine regularly in the comfort of your own home on food prepared in your own kitchen by a Personal Chef Service.

If you think that sounds great, but is too expensive, think again! For around $400 in most cases, you can get 10 meals for two each month and that includes all groceries! You'll find that you can't eat at a restaurant and leave a tip for that kind of money and get this level of fine food!

Personal chefs cook on a regularly scheduled day in their clients' home. The service usually is monthly, but can be varied to meet individual needs. There's no need to be home when the cooking is done. Most customers just give their chef a key.

Good personal chefs leave nothing to chance when it comes to feeding their clients. An initial interview explores food preferences, allergies and other health concerns. Then, before each service, the chef and client discuss the menus by phone for the upcoming month. Or, in some cases, clients can sign onto the chef's web site to make their selections. Most importantly, those selections are varied and numerous. Personal chefs' repertoires include everything from comfort foods to Thai, Mexican and other ethnic cuisines. Most chefs offer customers well over 100 different meals to choose from.

Although some chefs are now developing children's menus, traditionally each meal is meant to serve two adults and includes an entree and side dishes. Many chefs leave little "surprises," like breads or maybe a dessert.

Personal chefs bring all their equipment on cooking day. They cook the meals, package and label them with reheating instructions, and freeze them as well. Then clean everything up too, leaving only the lingering aroma of home-cooked food. Most personal chefs will do some catering for clients as well so when it's time to invite everyone over for a party you don't have to knock yourself out, as well as impressing the heck out of your friends.

Whether personal chefs are professionally trained or simply great cooks is less important than how they work with their clients. Before turning your kitchen over to a stranger:

  • Check references carefully. Talk to clients with needs similar to your own.
  • Provide your chef with complete details about your likes and dislikes, eating habits and any health issues.
  • Confirm costs ($400 for 10 meals for 2 is about average) and what each meal will include. Both can vary significantly.
  • Understand the cancellation policy. Most personal chefs do not require contracts, but they do expect appropriate notice if you wish to cancel a scheduled service.
  • Insist on having things the way you like them. At the same time, be flexible and enjoy the whole new world of at-home dining a personal chef can provide.

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