So, you’re looking to hire a personal chef service to prepare make-ahead meals. This begs the question: with all the options out there, how do you find the best personal chef service in your area?
One of the main benefits of a personal chef service is the level of customization they can provide and the unique relationship you build with your chef. That being said, finding the right personal chef is a bit like dating, meaning not every chef is going to be a good fit for you.
Before we dive in, if you’re not familiar with what a personal chef does check out our post: “What Exactly Is A Personal Chef?”
SEARCHING FOR PERSONAL CHEFS ONLINE
Unless a friend or family member has referred you to a company, your first step when researching the best personal chef services in your area will probably entail going to Google. When doing a web search and examining the websites of various personal chef services, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Does their website look professional? An easy to navigate and visually appealing website shows the personal chef company you’re researching takes their business seriously. Think about it, if their website is bad that probably means they don’t have the money to invest in a nicer page, and they don’t have the money because they struggle to get clients due to poor service.
- Are there testimonials? See if the personal chef service has in-depth testimonials from real clients on their website – videos are even better! Also look at websites like Facebook and Yelp for client reviews.
- Do their sample menus look appetizing? Most personal chef service websites will have sample menus online to give visitors an idea of the types of meals they specialize in. While most personal chefs can customize menus for their clients, the sample menus tell you what’s in their wheelhouse. For example, if the majority of dishes on their menu are Latin-inspired but you’re not interested in that type of cuisine, that particular personal chef might not be the best fit.
- Is there a bio of the chef(s)? Look for a short bio on the owner of the company or their employees. You’ll want some background information on the personal chef coming into your home.
- Do they talk about the cost? A lot of personal chef service websites don’t provide exact pricing information, which is understandable given the customized nature of the service. However, see if they provide some pricing information (even a range) to give yourself a general idea of what their services would cost you. For pricing information, look for a Price tab on the website homepage or the FAQ section.
For more information, check out our recent post “What Does A Personal Chef Cost?”
QUESTIONS TO ASK DURING THE CONSULTATION
Once you find a personal chef service you’re interested in, most will contact you to schedule a phone or in-person consultation. Any professional personal chef company should contact you within 24 hours via phone or email.
A consultation with a personal chef generally takes ~1 hour, and they can answer all your questions at that time. During the consultation, here are some questions you’ll want to ask the chef if they don’t bring these topics up themselves:
- Do you have liability insurance? This is one of the most important questions to ask a personal chef service – you may even want to request a formal insurance certificate. Given the nature of the business model, there are many small independent operators that don’t even have a formal business entity established for their personal chef service. This means they probably aren’t carrying liability insurance, and if they break an appliance or start a fire you’re out of luck. Any credible personal chef service should be properly insured.
- Do I have to supply pots, pans, and utensils? Some personal chefs bring their own “toolbox” of equipment, while others use what you have on hand. For most clients, they prefer chefs to bring their own equipment so they don’t have to worry about kitchen supplies being damaged.
- How much do you typically spend at the grocery store? Most personal chef services also provide a grocery shopping service, meaning they’ll pick up the items needed for the meal prep at the grocery store before coming to your home. And their pricing structure is usually a flat service-fee plus reimbursement for grocery. Ask what the average amount spent at the store is – for 12 servings of meals you can expect $45-$90 per service.
- How long would you be in my home doing meal prep? There’s a lot of variabilities here, with some chefs taking less than 2 hours to prepare meals while others are in the home 8+ hours.
- Are there any long-term contracts? Some personal chef services don’t have any contracts, while others require a monthly or quarterly contract. In our experience, the best personal chefs don’t have long-term contracts because they’re confident enough in the services they provide.
- Are you able to accommodate my dietary concerns? If you have a specific diet you’re wanting or needing to follow, ask the chef upfront if they’re familiar with your dietary concern(s) and whether they’d be able to create menus that fit with your nutrition plan. But remember, a personal chef is not a dietitian and cannot prescribe diets or guarantee their meals will meet certain requirements.
- How much is the service going to cost ME? Once the chef has explained the service and answered your questions, it’s time for them to provide you with cost information based on the information you provided. There’s a lot of variability with personal chef prices, so do your research ahead of time to see what the going rates are in your area.
AFTER THE CONSULTATION
If you feel comfortable signing up during the consultation, the next step would be scheduling a visit and beginning the service! As the saying goes “the proof is in the pudding” and the service day confirms whether the personal chef service will be able to live up to their promises.
That being said, keep in mind that personal chefs are offering a service – not a product. Food is very subjective, and if you don’t like some of the meals provide feedback to your chef so they can change things going forward. It’s a relationship that takes time to build; they won’t know exactly how you like food prepared for the first visit.
In conclusion, if you ask good questions and do your research, you’ll be one step closer to finding the best personal chef service in your area!