What is a personal chef?

When I tell people I’m a personal chef, they find it very interesting, which I find fascinating. But I’ve learned that many people don’t fully understand what a personal chef is and what we do, so I thought I’d cover some of the basics.

As a member of the United States Personal Chefs Association (USPCA), I’m part of a network of personal chefs from around the country. We’re constantly sharing information and stories about all kinds of things from menu planning to the best food storage containers on the market. A couple months ago a personal chef in California sought some ideas for a mother and daughter she was going to be cooking for, each with very different dietary needs (vegetarian and several food allergies), and who were really struggling at home. This week she shared this story:

“I just did my last service for the woman and daughter whose spouse passed away two months ago. I’ve been cooking for them for a month as a gift from a friend. The mother couldn’t eat and had lost 20 lbs. in that first month after losing her spouse. I came along and she ate my food. I had to hold back the tears today when she told me that not only did I help her gain weight, but I healed her family by bringing them back together again around the dinner table. Her spouse did all of the cooking so she and her daughter hadn’t sat and had dinner together since the passing. She says that they now have dinner together every night. And we are going to discuss how I might continue to help her, maybe with some cooking lessons since the extent of her expertise is cereal in a bowl.”

People hire personal chefs to make their lives easier and healthier. We provide the following “core” services for all of our clients:

  • Dietary consultation, and personalized menu planning based on the client’s food preferences and lifestyle, health conditions or concerns, and related dietary restrictions;

  • Shopping, hand-selecting the ingredients within hours of their preparation;

  • We spend an average of 4 hours in the client’s home, preparing complete meals that may include entrees, sides, soups, salads, and snacks;

  • Package, label, and store meals in the client’s refrigerator or freezer, and provide re-heating instructions;

  • Clean up, leaving the kitchen as clean as we found it, and often cleaner.

Our clients arrive home to the smell of freshly prepared, high-quality, custom meals. Personal chefs also provide private dinner parties, as well as in-home cooking lessons.

Personal chef services are ideal for people with limited time, limited ability (which may be due to a variety of life circumstances), but who still want to eat well. For example:

  • Busy individuals or families who don’t have time to plan, shop, and cook, but who still want to eat healthy foods and not convenience foods.

  • People who travel frequently, who are only home a few days at a time, and want homemade meals instead of an empty fridge or unhealthy convenience foods, like Hot Pockets for example. (Sorry Hot Pockets)

  • New parents who are busy taking care of baby.

  • Someone who has just had an injury or surgery and is recovering at home, but temporarily unable to prepare meals.

  • Someone who has had to change their diet due to a health condition, and wants some help learning how to cook in a new way.

  • Someone grieving the loss of a loved one, and is temporarily without the desire or motivation to prepare meals for themselves or family.

  • An elderly parent who lives independently, but who would enjoy being relieved of the task of shopping and cooking.

  • People who don’t like to cook or don’t know how to cook and are tired of eating take-out, fast food, or unhealthy convenience foods.

  • Someone who wants to treat themselves temporarily to a break from cooking, but still eat healthy, balanced, home cooked meals. For example, a busy bride-to-be, or someone tackling a new eating and fitness plan.

  • Someone trying to achieve a certain caloric intake, but does not want to be bothered with weighing and measuring all of their meals.

  • Someone who values their time, and would rather put their time, effort, and energy into other projects, instead of shopping and cooking.

Personal chef services can be ongoing, short term, or even just a single service. Our services are highly personalized to your needs, and are the closest thing to you shopping and cooking for yourself. Personal chef services make a great gift for a variety of occasions.

Food is life, and you ARE what you eat. One of the most important investments a person can make is in their health.

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