Q & A
What's the difference between a personal chef and a private chef?
A private chef generally works for only one client, providing up to 3 meals per day, up to 7 days per week. Some private chefs are live-in employees and travel with their clients when they travel.
A personal chef has many clients, usually preparing many days of meals for one client in a single day. The next day, they do the same for a different client.
Why would I hire a personal chef if I could eat out for about the same price?
Just like in a restaurant, you're paying for more than just the food. In a restaurant, you're paying for the labor of cooks, servers, dishwashers and management, as well as overhead costs like utilities, rent or mortgage, and insurance.
With a personal chef, you're paying for the service of shopping and delivery of food to your home, the customization of a menu to your tastes, the preparation of the food, packaging (see below), and cleaning. Personal chefs also have overhead costs such as business insurance, transportation, advertising, etc.
Also, eating at home can be more of a luxury than going out if you don't have to do the cooking and cleaning. No driving (maybe you'd like a drink or two), parking, waiting for a table, or bad service. Customized dishes in the comfort of home can be a real treat.
How do you package the food?
There are a couple of options for packaging and storing your meals.
The least expensive option is plastic microwaveable containers (such as GladWare or Ziplock). These can go from fridge or freezer to the microwave, but obviously cannot be used in an oven. Some people are not comfortable heating foods in plastic containers due to the risk of chemicals leaching into to food. If you are concerned about this, you can transfer the food to glass or other nonreactive containers before reheating.
A more sustainable solution for the long term is to purchase glass or ceramic storage containers (such as Pyrex or CorningWare). While these containers are more expensive than plastic ones, they have no issues with leaching chemicals into food, and can actually cost less over a long time since they are more durable. These can also be used in the oven, which is often a much better way to reheat some foods than a microwave.
Some foods are best stored in resealable zip-top freezer bags, and reheated in either a microwave or in a saucepan on the stove. These bags are, of course, very inexpensive.