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Hiring a Personal Chef

Dining Out

Most folks assume a personal chef is a luxury only available to the rich and/or famous, but that simply isn’t true. Unlike a private chef, who works for a single employer and often lives on the premises, a personal chef usually works for several people at once. The personal chef visits the homes of his or her clients on a regular basis (usually once a week) and prepares a number of meals, which are then stored and frozen.

A personal chef can be employed to help you lose weight or simply eat more healthily. If you are diabetic or have other special dietary needs, a personal chef can take the worry out of sticking to your strict regimen. But for many people, the biggest advantage of hiring a personal chef means an end to grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning up that messy kitchen. Plus, there’s always a delicious snack or two in the freezer, just waiting to be reheated!

If you’re considering employing a personal chef, here are some steps you’ll need to take.

  • Determine your weekly budget for your personal chef ahead of time. Different chefs charge different rates, but a good rule of thumb is $20-25 per person per meal, plus the cost of groceries. Most personal chefs charge a standard price for 5x4 service (which is 5 entrees, each of which is prepared for 4 people, along with appropriate side dishes). For a week’s worth of dinners for a family of four, you should plan on spending anywhere from $250 to $400.
  • Make sure your kitchen is accessible and that your oven, stove, microwave, refrigerator, and freezer are in good working order. Unless your personal chef has access to a licensed and inspected commercial kitchen (most don’t), health code regulations dictate that he or she must prepare your meals in your home. Most chefs will bring their own equipment and utensils, but they’ll still need to make use of your appliances.
  • Make sure you have enough refrigerator and freezer space to accommodate your meals for the week. Most personal chefs are adept at making efficient use of existing space, and will store your meals in containers that are uniform and easily stackable.
  • Tell your personal chef about your food preferences, as well as any dietary requirements and special requests, so he or she can plan your menu accordingly. Your chef should submit each week’s menu for your approval, so check it over and make sure it meets your needs before signing off on it.
  • In addition to preparing meals in advance for you and your family, a personal chef can also be employed to cook for a dinner party, or to give on-site cooking lessons. The prices for these services can vary, depending on the personal chef, but most will either charge an hourly rate or a price per person.

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