No Time for Dinner? Consider Hiring a Personal Chef

Why Hiring a Personal Chef Might Be the Right Thing for You and Your Family

In today's fast paced world more Americans are sacrificing eating well, for eating quickly. Fast food, take out, and unhealthy "quick meals" are all contributing to an increase in obesity and related ailments, such as heart disease and type-two diabetes.

But thanks to the rise in the personal chef industry in this country, busy Americans are finding that they can enjoy expertly-prepared, healthy meals—without breaking the bank!

In this brief article, you'll get the scoop on personals chefs, including the advantages of hiring one.

Personal Chefs vs. Private Chefs

The first step in this discussion is to clarify the difference between a personal chef and a private chef. Private chefs (think, "Mr French" from Family Affair or Rosie for Oprah) work full time for one family and prepare daily meals in the kitchen. This, obviously, is the most expensive, luxurious option and is out of reach for most middle class Americans.

A personal chef, however, usually works with several clients and will not cook in your kitchen each day. Instead, she'll prepare several meals at once (usually about 20 servings at a time) and package them so that you can re-heat and eat them at your convenience.

Now, that we've made the distinction between personal and private chefs, let's take a look at some of the advantages and the costs related to hiring one for yourself.

The Advantages of Hiring a Personal Chef

The biggest benefit of hiring a personal chef is, first and foremost, convenience. Not only do personal chefs cook the meals, but they do all of the shopping, chopping, and dicing in preparation for the meals. Once you've calculated the hours spent going to the store, (and, if you're like me, "going BACK to the store"), doing the prep for the cooking, and cleaning-up afterwards, you can see how they'll save you hours of time each day.

Second, and perhaps most important of all, they can keep you eating healthily, even while you maintain your busy schedule. Personal chefs can customize your meals to meet any dietary restrictions, such as low-carb, low-sugar, or hearth-healthy, and they can also eliminate ingredients that you might be allergic to, such as nuts, lactose, or gluten.

Also, just because your meal is prepared by a personal chef, doesn't mean that it's a formal dinner that you have to sit down to each night. They can also prepare healthy on-the-go sandwiches and wraps that you can throw in your bag or briefcase and take with you to your next busy appointment.

Finally, most of the chefs we've encountered don't require you to commit to any long term plan. This way, if you decide that their style doesn't match your tastes or even that a personal chef just isn't for you, you're not locked into some long term contract that you can't break. This feature also provides you with some much-needed flexibility if you're going to be out of town for long periods of time.

By now I'm guessing that you're "sold" on the idea of a personal chef, but still a little leery of the costs involved. While personal chefs aren't as cheap as a trip through the drive-in, or even a trip to the family buffet, hiring one may not be as expensive as you might think.

The Surprising Costs of Hiring a Personal Chef

The standard package offered by most chefs consists of 5 different meals of four servings each for a total of 20 servings. For a family of four, that's a week's worth (Monday through Friday) of meals, for a couple that's two weeks' worth, and for a single person that's February.

Costs may vary from area to area around the country, but the going rate for this package seems to range from $200 - $325 ($10/serving - $16.25/serving), with some chefs advertising that they can customize a meal plan for any budget. This price does include the price of groceries necessary to make the meal.

For many budgets these packages are definitely not "cheap," but once you've calculated in the expense of your time, gas to and from the grocery store, the amount of times you eat out each week because you don't have the time to prepare a meal, and the potential future costs of the medical expenses that can result from eating poorly night after night, hiring a personal chef can be a decision that makes a lot of sense for you and your loved ones.

By now you've seen how affordable and advantageous it is to hire a personal chef. In our next article, we'll cover some step-by-step instructions you can follow to find the personal chef that's right for you and your family.

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