Q. How do I pay for your service?
A. We accept personal checks and credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover).
Q. Do you provide a guarantee?
A. We guarantee our frozen food items for up to 45 days and our refrigerated items for up to 1 week.
Q What is a Personal Chef?
A. A personal chef is an accomplished cook who comes to your home for a day to prepare a number of meals for you. Personal chefs assist with menu planning and do the grocery shopping. They provide their own cookware, spices, oils and other cooking items. They usually cook the meals in your home, package and label the meals and clean your kitchen. Meals prepared by our personal chefs are refrigerated or frozen and then can be reheated as desired. They also give you detailed reheating instructions and menu plans so that you can quickly put together complete delicious meals.
Q. Where do I find a personal chef?
A. Start by going to www.personalchefsearch.com. Look for personal chefs who have liability insurance and are ServSafe certified. Liability insurance is particularly important if they are going to cook in your home. ServSafe certified means that they have been trained and tested in safe food handling procedures. Note that counties also have safe food handling certifications, ServSafe is more rigorous training and is applicable to all regions. A personal chef should not require that you sign a contract, but may give a discount if you do.
Q. Isn't a personal chef expensive?
A. When you consider the time you save in grocery shopping, meal preparation and cleaning combined with the money you spend on groceries and eating out, you are probably going to save money. The cost of our personal chef service is about equal to your family eating out 3-4 nights per week at a family restaurant.
Q. Do I need to sign a long-term agreement?
A. No, Most personal chef service companies do not require any long term commitment. If you feel our services are not beneficial, you can terminate the service without obligation.
Q. Can you work with special diets?
A. Yes, we can provide meals that are low-fat, low-sodium, low cholesterol or low-carb based on you needs.
Q. How do I start my Personal Chef service?
A. After you contact us, we will arrange for you to meet with one of our chefs to discuss your food likes and dislikes, what types of food allergies you may have, and any dietary requirements or restrictions. This is a free consultation. Then its time to pick your food and schedule your day of service.
Q. What kind of menu does a Personal Chef provide?
A. Some personal chefs don't have a menu. They base your weekly meals on your likes and dislikes so your meals are always a surprise (hopefully a good surprise). Other chefs provide a limited menu that changes monthly or seasonally. Finally, some chefs have a very extensive menu. All chefs should be able to customize your menu choices to meet your dietary needs.
Q. What happens on the day of Personal Chef service?
A. For Personal Chefs who are required to prepare the food in your home, they will usually do the grocery shopping in the morning, arrive at you home early in the day, clean your kitchen, prepare the food, place it in storage containers and then clean the kitchen and leave. The chef will leave you heating instructions for all your food.
Q. What storage containers can I use?
A. You have a choice of disposable containers (Ziploc, Glade), reusable containers (Pyrex) or vacuum seal bags. You have to purchase either disposable or reusable containers.
Q. What is the cost for Personal Chef service?
A. Prices are based on the number of servings you order. The more servings, the lower the price per serving. This includes groceries in the price.
You will want to ask the individual personal chef service about their pricing policies. Costs will vary according to your needs, your local area, and the type of services desired.
Questions to Ask Your Prospective Personal Chef!
In an effort to help you make a more reasonably-informed decision when hiring a Personal Chef, we have compiled the below list of questions.
Also included are some answers to questions that some may feel are important but, in reality, have little or no bearing on your Personal Chef's
performance or on the quality of meals that will be prepared for you and your family.
Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Personal Chef:
1. Where Did You Receive Your Experience?
Although somewhat important, this question will help you determine your Personal Chef's level of experience, as well as the quality of food you can expect to receive. Keep in mind, however, that not all Personal Chefs have been trained by culinary schools. In fact, many Personal Chefs are excellent "self-taught" cooks.
2. Do You Have a "Food Handler's" Certificate?
Food safety is of primary concern to the American Personal Chef Association (APCA) and its members. Although not currently mandated in every state, a Food Handler's (or ServSafe) Certificate lets you know that your Personal Chef has taken the required training and has the knowledge to handle the food you will be eating in a safe manner.
3. Do You Have a Business License?
The American Personal Chef Association strives to ensure that all of its members adhere to the laws of their state and city. Lack of a license to operate a business indicates that a Personal Chef is unprofessional and careless regarding the law.
4. Do You Carry Liability Insurance?
The American Personal Chef Association feels this is an extremely important question. In the unfortunate (and rare) event that injury or damage is caused to you and/or your property, you will have the peace of mind knowing that your Personal Chef has insurance available to "make it right".
5. Do You Have a List of References?
An established Personal Chef should be able to provide you with a list of contented clients that you may contact. Newer Personal Chefs, however, may not yet have an extensive reference list so you may need to rely on the answers to Questions #1-4, above, as well as on your general "feel" for the chef.
Additional Questions to Consider Before Hiring a Personal Chef:
1. Do You Have a Personal Chef "Certification?"
Do not be misled by this "marketing vs. quality" issue.
The American Culinary Federation (ACF) IS the industry's accrediting agency with the authority to certify Personal Chefs. The American Personal Chef Association and the ACF have collaborated to set the standards and criteria for certifications and the ACF is currently offering two levels of Personal Chef "Certification." When fully implemented, this ACF Certification Program WILL BE the industry standard.
2. Are You a Member of a Professional Association?
Again, this is a "marketing vs. quality" issue.
While joining an association does enable Personal Chefs to more easily access their peers, as well as obtain marketing information and materials that can help further their professional goals, not all associations are alike.
In addition to being the leader in its industry-accredited Personal Chef Certification through its partnership with the ACF (see above), the American Personal Chef Association is the leader in defining and setting professional standards for the industry through its Best Practices "Focus Groups."
BEST PRACTICES FOR PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS:
Food Safety and Sanitation
Chef (Voluntary) "Code of Ethics and Conduct"
Best Practices in Marketing and Advertising
Personal Chef Industry-Wide Certification
Standardized Personal Chef Vocabulary
American Personal Chef Association
4572 Delaware Street
San Diego, CA 92116
All rights reserved. © American Personal Chef Association 1996-2010. Updated 4/04/2010.