During the holiday season, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by Christmas shopping, holiday parties, and the general gluttony of this time of year.
There’s something about a 4 p.m. sunset that makes me want to go home after work, sit on the couch, and watch movies–not spend an hour cooking dinner. There are many times that I grab food on the way home because I am too exhausted to stop by the store and prepare a meal for myself. It’s times like these that make hiring a personal chef sound like a wonderful idea.
Often seen as a glamorous and expensive treat only fit for celebrities like Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi, personal chefs–especially those that prepare vegan-friendly meals–are becoming more accessible to those looking to eat delicious meals without the hassle of cooking on their own.
If you’re considering taking the personal chef plunge, here are a few variables to think about:
Cost of Hiring a Personal Chef
“Hiring a professional to cook for you isn’t a whole lot different than hiring someone to clean your house or walk the dog, and it’s not just for the wealthy,” said John Moore, executive director of the United States Personal Chef Association. “People don’t have personal chefs because they have tons of money. They have them because it solves a problem: It puts dinner on the table.”
According to Angie’s List, some chefs charge per person, averaging $20-30 per plate, whereas others charge $30-40 per hour. These costs often include meal planning, grocery shopping, and meal preparation.
And it’s not just money you’re saving either. Meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking can easily clock in around 10 hours per week. These are valuable hours that can be spent working, exercising, relaxing, or basically anything besides slaving away in the kitchen.
Hiring a personal chef may help you become healthier, too. Personal chefs not only use high-quality ingredients and professional techniques, but they also encourage clients to eat consistently.
It can be easy to postpone, skip meals, or order fast food, but with a personal chef providing complete, ready-to-eat meals, clients have no excuse.
In an interview with Vicki Brett-Gach, vegan lifestyle coach, educator, and certified personal chef at the Ann Arbor Vegan Kitchen, she said, “People who use my personal chef services are primarily the really busy moms who would like to be able to prepare healthy food for their families, people with dietary restrictions, and even those suffering from chronic conditions that have presented the physical challenge of simply getting food on the table, like Multiple Sclerosis.”
A personal chef can also help you jumpstart or manage your diet without the added stress of navigating a grocery store or recipe research.
“I often prepare meals for people that have been diagnosed with chronic illnesses and those looking to prevent conditions like high blood pressure and obesity,” said Brett-Gach.”In fact, one of my clients was able to reverse her kidney disease because she hired a professional to manage her diet for her.”
Environmental Implications of Hiring a Personal Chef
Most of the time people are more willing to consider using a meal-delivery service like Plated, Purple Carrot, HelloFresh, ChefDay!, Chef’d, GreenChef, Din, Peach Dish, and Blue Apron before they consider hiring a personal chef.
While a meal delivery plan may be comparable in terms of cost and ingredient quality, they do not stack up in terms of environmental waste. These multi-million dollar meal delivery companies tout their ability to reduce food waste by only providing consumers with the exact groceries needed per meal, but at what cost?
According to The Observer, meal kits use large quantities of packaging to contain small amounts of spices or condiments, styrofoam coolers, plastic bags, sealed plastic “ice packs” (usually filled with chemical gels), and other extraneous packaging.
Hiring a personal chef gives consumers the ability to have healthy, pre-portioned meals created for individuals and families alike without drowning in a sea of plastic.
Would you consider hiring a personal chef?
Also by Olivia: Fast-Casual Finally Solves Its Waste Problem: Meet 2 NYC Eateries Leading The Way
Related: 7 Totally Doable Ways To Create Your Green Kitchen
How to Create a Bright, Functional Kitchen on Any Budget
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