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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a personal chef?

A personal chef serves several clients--usually one per day--and provides multiple meals that are custom-designed for the client’s particular tastes, dietary and food allergy requirements.  These meals are packaged and stored in the freezer or refrigerator—according to the client’s needs—to be enjoyed at their leisure.

Where are the meals prepared?
Different from catering, all the meals are prepared in the safety of your own kitchen, according to required food safety guidelines.  On our agreed upon cooking date, I will bring all the ingredients, utensils and equipment required to prepare your selections.  At the end of the day, your kitchen will be left clean with nothing left behind except your mouth-watering selections and the aroma of good home cooking!

How is a personal chef service different from the meal assembly concept that I have seen?
The meal assembly concept has several major franchises currently operating in the U.S. and is catching on quickly around the country-- including the Sacramento area. These businesses develop a menu of approximately 12 to 15 items with wide appeal that each storefront location is required to provide—much like a franchise restaurant.  The menu changes monthly, but is not personalized to your needs and tastes.  Prepped and processed ingredients for the menu are provided at each storefront location.  The customer schedules a time, sometimes with numerous other people, to assemble their meals at the storefront, which takes approximately two hours.  The customer carries the assembled meals home in a cooler or laundry basket.  Some of the meals still require cooking.   If you require more than 12 dinners each month for your family, you do the same 12 meals all over again.  Typically, the cost is about $200 for 10 to 12 meals.

Although the meal assembly concept works for people who still have the time in their schedules to assemble ingredients and cook, an in-home personal chef service is highly personalized and the personal chef does everything for you.  The personal chef works with their client’s schedules and strives to meet the individual needs and preferences of each client and their family members.  All the client has to do is heat and enjoy delicious, high quality, home-prepared custom meals.

Why can’t you just cook everything at your home and deliver it to me?
Health department and zoning laws prohibit it unless my kitchen is a licensed, health department-approved commercial kitchen?  Cooking everything at your home as opposed to preparing it offsite and delivering it provides you with the freshest, safest food possible.  Foodie in the kitchen will make each service date as low-key and as unobtrusive as possible.

How long will you be in my home?            
Because all your meals are prepared from scratch with great care and attention to detail, I will be at your home anywhere from five to eight hours depending upon the number of entrees.  I am willing to accommodate what works best with your schedule or situation.

What will you store the food in?
I offer two options and the cost will be determined by what you prefer—disposable, such as plastic Ziploc or Glad containers, versus something more permanent.  Pyrex containers are very popular because of their versatility—they can be used in a microwave or oven.  The cost for glass containers ranges from $80 to 120, depending on the type of service, and is a one-time charge.  Plastic containers are a less expensive alternative ($15-20), but you will need to transfer the meal to an oven-safe dish if heating in a conventional oven.  Plastic containers can be reused several times, but will need to be replaced from time to time.  With both kinds of containers, simply wash them in your dishwasher after you have enjoyed the meal and have them ready each service date in a predetermined location.  The containers belong to you if you discontinue the service.

Do I heat the food?
Yes.  The entrees and side dishes should be heated using the approximate heating instructions I provide.  Heating instructions are approximate because all ovens and microwaves vary in performance.  Some fish and seafood items may not be fully cooked by me--but by you--so that the item is enjoyed at the peak of flavor.  Those items will be clearly labeled.

What type of side dishes do you prepare?
Side dishes will be appropriate for the main dish and may be a seasonal fresh vegetable, potato, rice, pasta, grain or bean dish, salad, quick bread, or bruschetta.  You may request a specific item or allow me to pair the side dish with the entrée.

The cost seems to be about the same as what I would pay for an entrée in a restaurant . . . why is that?
The fee represents all components that make up the professional personal chef service.  This includes a detailed assessment of your needs and dietary requirements, special diet research, menu planning, shopping for ingredients, meal preparation, and packaging and storing your selections.  Think of it this way:  You would buy groceries anyway; you are hiring me to cook them in a thoughtful and highly personalized way, tailored to your specific taste and dietary requirements.

When you go to a restaurant, you must drive there, possibly wait for a table, take a chance your server is having a good day, hope that your special requests are honored, pay for it, tip the server and drive home.  If you have a personal chef, you can heat a beautiful entrée that has been thoughtfully and carefully prepared to your palate and dietary requirements, and enjoy it in your most comfortable clothes, whenever you want, in the comfort of your own home.

My professional personal chef service may even help you to control your food costs, as you will be less likely to impulse buy in the grocery store or resort to low-quality fast food, convenience food or restaurant food.  Remember all that produce you purchased with good intentions of making home-cooked meals, then never got to and had to throw out?  No more of that!

When and where do you shop for ingredients?
I shop for ingredients where I can find the best quality products, including local farmer’s markets and specialty stores as well as grocery stores.  I am happy to purchase organic ingredients for your meals for an additional 10% fee.

Is it possible to order only one or two entrees?
I wish I could make that available to you, however, it still takes much of the same time to produce half the food.  As I am a professional personal chef, this is my business and in order to be profitable and offer my clients the best value, three entrees, four servings each is the least amount of food I can do at one time.

How long will the food last and how often will we need your service?
This will depend on how many nights you eat at home, and the number of entrees and servings ordered.  Because I want to make this work best for you, I’ll be happy to help determine how often to schedule service to best suit your needs.  We’ll make sure it supports your lifestyle without putting any pressure on you, whether it’s monthly, biweekly or weekly.  Service dates are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.  Occasional service and gift certificate purchases will be scheduled around regular clients.

How do I pay for the service and am I locked in for a period of time?
A check for half the fee will be required in advance of the first cooking date and the balance due when I arrive at your house to cook.  On subsequent cooking dates, please have a check ready for me when I arrive.  You may also pay with a debit or credit card using your PayPal account.  Our mutual arrangement can be rescheduled or terminated by either of us at any time with three days notice.  Also, feel free to try out my service one time with no container investment.  I’ll use what you have on hand and supplement them with disposable containers free of charge.