Personal Chefs in the Media
Thirty years ago what every working couple longed to afford, my husband and me included, was a housekeeper. One who comes once a week, lets herself in, leaves the house all shiny and smelling great. Our wish list grew to include a lawn service. Then, the quick oil-change car-care service; finally, we slipped into the habit of eating out and ordering in. Filling up on fast food loaded with salt, fat, preservatives and who-knows-what. But, it's the 21st century now. It's time to get in shape, eat healthy and spend some quality time. Mayb it's time for a personal chef.
GOURMET TASTESThere are several reasons to hire a personal chef. One is the need to eat healthier. "I used to think 'stomboli or pizza?' when trying to figure out what to have for dinner, after golfing all day. Now I write a check for $295 to The Really Good Food Company every other Friday and eat terrific entrees lin Cajun catfish with spring vegetables and curly pasta, low-fat Swiss steak or a healthy soup or stew," says Walter Smith, an executive with Geico Insurance near Washington. "As I've gotten older," Smith says, "it has become more important to me to watch the sodium and saturated fat content of my food. You don't always know whats in the food you get at a restaurant. And, forget about fast food. Now I know for sure that I'm eating a healthy diet. And it tastes fabulous."
Grace Trombetta, a single mom living in Raleigh, N.C., relies on Chef Maureen Murphy-Bangert to fuel her efforts training for a marathon. "I'm very concerned about what goes into the food I eat," Trombetta says. "I met with a nutrutionist to figure out what I need to eat to be in top shape for running. Then I met with Chef Maureen who designs my menus and prepares my meals to meet the nutritionist's guidelines."
Another reason to hire a personal chef is quality time. If I could have back the hour each day I spend going to the grocery store, fish market, green grocer or specialty store plus the hour and a half to prepare each meal and clean up the mess, I'd have an extra 20 hours each week.
Ruby Malley of Los Angeles agrees. "All we have to do," she says, "is to wash a couple of plates after diner. What a great idea. I could have used Chef Allysin when we were a family of six!"
Say no more. I'm sold. I typed "personalchef.com" into my web browser and up popped the American Personal Chef Association.
"When you first contact a personal chef," Candy Wallace says, "they will set up what we call an assessment date. The chef will come to your home and spend about an hour asking you about your likes, your dislikes, sensitivities, health and nutritional desires. Once the chef understands a little about your lifestyle, she or he will give you some menu selectioins to choose from and set up a cooking date. All that's left for you to do is come home from work on the appointed day. Kick off your shoes. Open the fridge and enjoy a healthy, beautiful, delicious dinner."
Expect to pay between $275 and $350 (depending on where you are in the country) for 20 servings four each of five entrees, plus appropriate side dishes. And, that includes the groceries and the shopping.
"Some of the portioins," Walter Smith says, "are larger than one serving, making it an even greater bargain."
I'm ready. My husband is convinced. Tomorrow we call to set up an appointment.
Jane Sears Thompson is a food writer and cookbook author living in Melbourne Beach, FL.
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