How To Hire a Private Chef (and Not Break the Bank)

Leah Bourne

chef How To Hire a Private Chef (and Not Break the Bank)If you are like us you dream of living like the 1 percent–driver, yacht, and most importantly, having a private chef on-call. On-demand burgers, gourmet feasts for twelve, it all just seems so luxurious. Having a live-in private chef might be out of reach for everyone but the super rich, but there are other ways to integrate a private chef into your life, and it is much more affordable than you would guess.
1. TaskRabbit. Folks are using TaskRabbit for everything from finding people to assemble their Ikea furniture to standing in line to buy Cronuts (seriously). One of the best offerings that we have found is folks offering up private chef services–everything from making homemade chocolate cookies to preparing sit-down meals for 20. The best part? Many are seriously affordable.
2. KitchenSurfing. This start-up is aiming to be the Living Social of private chefs (and it is definitely off to a pretty great start). Browse by location (including Berlin, the Hamptons, and New York City) and find chefs willing to cook a Korean fried chicken feast ($15 per person), a sushi chef ($95 an hour) or even someone to cook you breakfast in bed (for $35 an hour). Once booked the chef sends you the final menu in an offer and you book it and pay (so you don’t have to exchange money when the chef appears at your home). The chef will show up, bring all the ingredients, cook, and clean up. Essentially it is almost as easy as making a dinner reservation.
3. Search Online For Private Chefs In Your Area. You’ll be surprised to discover how many great local chefs are out there offering up their services (and not just to billionaires). A quick search online in the New York City area yielded Marina Cooks who specializes Mediterranean flavors and Phoebe Lapine, a cookbook author and graduate of Brown University, who says her cooking is inspired by her travels. Great, and affordable private chefs are out there, you just have to do the searching.
4. Craigslist. Much more than just personals and missed connections, you can actually find great private chefs on Craigslist. Just doing a quick perusal we found a vegan specialist, a Cantonese chef, and a family style personal chef offering up their services. You can also solicit the chef of your dreams via Craigslist and name your price upfront.
5. The Once-a-Week Service. A rising trend is to have a chef come to your home and prepare meals for your family once a week and then freeze them (so you’ll have food for an entire week) or to deliver meals to your home. It certainly beats the hell out of takeout, and some people find that at the end of the day it ends up being cheaper than eating out constantly. Portable Chef offers a service called “Fridge Full of Food.” Five dinners delivered to you on a Monday will cost $170 (which comes out to $34 a dinner). The fact that the food being delivered to you is farm-to-table sourced is icing on the cake.
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