A few years ago, grocery stores competing with Wal-Mart began to get creative. They started with premium private label products, and moved on to an expansion of their organic food selections. But then they, and other grocery-only corporations, figured something else out: America was tired of frozen dinners and of cooking. Enter the home-cooked meal you pick up at the store. The personal chef is one step beyond this.
Personal chefs are usually trained professional chefs with an inventory of recipes and specialties who cook exclusively for private homes. This does not mean Chef Mike is going to come to your house and create the perfect duck a l’orange for you; rather, it means he puts together gourmet meals that you can later heat up yourself. You get good nutrition and great food combined with the convenience of TV dinners.
Though your personal chef may make a home visit just to check your tools out and ensure you can follow his directions, he never has to set foot in your house otherwise. Instead, he prepares meals up to a week in advance and refrigerates or freezes them, then has them delivered to your door with directions on how to cook them. This gives you dinners much superior to the typical frozen fare, or even the deli-prepared meals of upscale groceries, without the work it takes to cook them yourself.
Prices are surprisingly affordable, especially for single people or childless professional couples whose time is at a premium. Personal chefs charge you for the cost of the food and a surcharge for preparing their meals — either a flat per-meal rate or an hourly charge for preparation and delivery. The total cost per meal should be on a par with what you’d pay in a restaurant, or even a little less, for the same meal, but with the convenience of your dinner being at your home. In addition, with each meal tailored for you, you can easily watch your diet, eat kosher, or deal with diabetes and other food-related medical conditions.
It’s a good deal for the chefs, too. Instead of working horrible hours at a high-pressure restaurant making an average of just under $15 an hour, they can choose their own work hours, build as large or small a clientele as they wish, and double their salaries by working for themselves. Already, some 5000 professional chefs have dropped out of the restaurant business to pick up a private client list. Look for many more to do this in the future, and probably small corporations to start up providing full-service home delivered meals as well.