Personal Chef Service
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some of the most common questions about personal chef services and my specific approach. When in doubt, contact me. Preliminary discussions are (always) free.
I eat gluten and/or meat. Will you still cook for me?
Yes! While I’m totally equipped to cook a gluten free and/or vegetarian menu, I don’t subscribe 100% strictly to either diet and we can easily customize a balanced, tasty menu which includes meat or gluten. Yes, I will cook pasta (in really delicious ways).
If you’re set on a heavy proportion of meat in every meal (e.g., Atkins or Paleo), you may be better suited to a chef specializing in those diets. However, please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss your needs. Preliminary discussions are always free.
My household has conflicting diet preferences–will you cook for us?
I cook for a divided household myself, so this is one of my specialties. Suddenly vegan teenager? BBQ-loving significant other? I can give you plenty of options to make everyone happy in the same meal, many without an extra cost attached.
Do you cook for one?
Definitely! If you fly solo, that doesn’t mean you have to eat Lean Cuisine, order takeout, or find time in your busy schedule to plan and cook. Repeating entrees on occasion or having the leftovers for lunch isn’t mandatory but presents the most cost-effective service plan for one.
Why don’t you cook with a lot of meat?
In summary, the lack of meat in my diet has a lot to do with my personal health and sustainability.
A little more detail. I’m the granddaughter of a cattle farmer, gourmet burgers were forever one of my favorite food interests, and I have been known to whip up a batch of (the perfect) fried chicken in the not-so-distant past. However, I’ve almost entirely cut chronic digestive issues and pain by reducing the quantity and frequency of my meat consumption. I have more energy, maintain a healthy weight with less effort, and perform better in active pursuits. That was reason enough to convince me. On top of the personal changes I witnessed, learning about the process, politics, disease risk, and sustainability of raising animals as food sealed my effort to shift my diet toward eating fewer animals.
Do you have any formal culinary training or other credentials?
I spent college as an accounting major, and I don’t have formal culinary training. What I do have is twenty years of experience cooking and more than ten conducting my own nutrition experiments and research. My philosophy has always been that if I see or eat something I like, I learn how to make it. I draw on a number of favorite chefs, cookbooks, and restaurants for inspiration. I’m also a member of the USPCA, which provides food safety training and member support.
Are you insured?
Yes, I carry general liability coverage.
Why can’t you just cook the food at your house and deliver it to me?
Sometimes this would be more convenient for both of us! However, Connecticut law mandates that delivery meals be prepared in an inspected commercial kitchen, which I don’t use. Additionally, you have the added security of knowing and seeing the conditions under which I prepare your food–in your own kitchen.
How far will you travel for a client?
I’m based in Stamford, and I haven’t set strict boundaries of my “territory”. I prefer to operate in lower Fairfield County and only in Connecticut, but if you have other needs, contact me and we may be able to arrange for service.
Can I book just one personal chef service date?
Yes. There is never a commitment or requirement to re-book. In fact, I recommend scheduling just one trial service date to start, even if you may need regular service. It’s all about what works best for you. Maybe you just moved, are busy at the office, have welcomed a new baby, or have another temporary shortage of time. Maybe you’re new to the personal chef concept and just want to give it a try. I provide customized menus for every scenario, and there’s never pressure to re-book.
Can you give me nutrition facts for the dishes?
I don’t believe that one set of nutrition guidelines is applicable to each individual body, so I don’t provide nutrition facts in the standard format you see on food packaging. My belief is that, given a balanced diet, you should never have to track every morsel you put into your body. If you have certain diet-related goals or restrictions, I’d be happy to discuss my personal experience with you. I also collaborate with Jaime Mass, a registered dietitian who can consult much more authoritatively on dietary issues–from weight loss to athletic training to medical conditions. We can easily put together a package which includes her R.D.-approved menu!
How far in advance can you cook for me?
The primary service options are for one or two weeks of dinners (or additional meals). However, personal chef service is custom in nature and we can discuss your needs to find something that works if you require more (or less) service.
What do I do while you cook?
Anything you want! I’m here to help free up your time. Ideally we’ll have a chance to meet briefly in your home before the date of service so that you’re completely comfortable whether you choose to be home or away while I cook. If you’re home, I ask that you plan accordingly and reasonably limit your needs in the kitchen so that I can proceed efficiently and avoid safety hazards, especially if there are pets or small children in the home. I offer cooking instruction, but it’s a separate service best scheduled outside of your personal chef service days. This will assure that I cook each planned dish within the estimated time frame.
Why do I have to buy the prescribed containers?
The containers I’ve selected are both non-toxic and safe for anything from freezing to heating to the dishwasher. They streamline storage and serving and are a worthwhile investment, even if I only cook for you once. At this time I’m not able to rent the containers to you, but they are yours to keep and are always stored in your home.