What is the difference between a personal chef and a private chef?

A private chef is a full time salaried employee of one individual or family full-time, and is often "living in," and preparing up to 3 meals per day. 


A personal chef serves several clients,  one per day, and provides multiple meals that are custom designed for the client's particular requests and requirements. These meals are packages and stored for your future enjoyment.



Who needs a Personal Chef?


A common misconception is that a personal chef service is only for the wealthy. Anyone who has a need to solve the "What's for Dinner?" problem can hire a personal chef service. This may be people who are busy professionals, on the go, and people with special dietary needs. Anyone wanting to improve their quality of life through healthful, delicious, and nutritious meals, along with enjoying the convenience and free time the service provides, will hire a personal chef service.


Busy Professionals, couples and individuals

Active Families

Independent seniors

New Parents

People on special diets or with special dietary requirements

People with weight loss/health optimization goals

People recovering from injury or illness

People looking to give that one special gift no one else has thought of with a gift certificate

When you want to be enjoy (rather than work) your own dinner party

Those who do not know how to cook

Those who do not like to cook



What does the personal chef service rate cover?


Pricing depending on the service needed, please see the How It Works page for rates.

Our service rate generally includes all aspects of preparing fresh, delicious and filling meals

This includes:


·         Personalized menus research, planning and creation

·         Grocery Shopping  [Generally 3-4 stores to ensure best pricing and food quality]

·         In-home meal preparation

·         Packaging and Storing your food

·         Kitchen Cleanup


The delicious aromas your encounter on your arrival home are on us :)



Do I pay ahead of each cooking date?                                   


Yes, that is customary to pay for the service in advance of your cooking date.  Most clients leave a check for the upcoming cooking date on the day of service.  Also, don’t forget, we do offer discounts for regularly planned services that are paid a month in advance [refer to How It Works page for breakdown of discounts].



Do you offer Gift Certificates?


Absolutely, please review our Gift Certificates page for more information.



Do I have to sign up for regular appointments, or can I just call you when I need you?


Its not required that you sign up for any long term services, however please be aware that the cooking schedule does book rather quickly and since we only service one client per day you would need to give us two weeks notice to be sure not to have interrupted service. Most of our clients find that having regular service dates takes the work out of needing to keep track of when our cooking dates will be. Generally after 1 or 2 services, your family has a pretty good understanding of how often you will need the service.



How will my meals be packaged?


All meals are packaged in disposable oven/microwave safe containers and come labeled with instructions for heating. We do recommend that dishes are put in the refrigerator the night before to ensure even thawing and the best tasting meal as possible. The best part is, you can just thow away/recycle the containers after you finish eating!



How do you prepare the food in my home if you don't know what I have?


The only equipment that must be present in your kitchen is a stove, refrigerator, and sink. We also require some cleaned off counter space.  We travel with all of our pots, pans, spices and gadgets and leave your kitchen spotless and full of appetizing food.



Do you have to prepare the food in my house?


Yes, because of health department regulations, food must be prepared in the safety of your own kitchen or in a commercially certified kitchen.



Do I need to be home?


Absolutely not!  In fact most clients are not at home during a cook date. During our initial interview, we can make arrangements. Depending on your preferences, we can be at your home before you go to work, you can provide keys, have a housekeeper let us in or provide an entrance through your garage.  We can also make special arrangements if there is an alarm system we may need to alarm or disarm.   Our relationship is built on trust, I will treat your home with respect and keep all of your information in the strictest confidence.  Cooking normally takes five to seven hours, depending on the selection and the amount of food you have chosen.



I'll be home that day, is it okay if I watch--or help?


Because the kitchen will be full to the brim with several different recipes at work at once, we need to concentrate on the tasks at hand so that no ingredients are forgotten and so we don't lose track of time.  We want to be sure that your family receives the highest quality of food.  If you would like to speak before/after the service has been completed we are more than happy to do so.



How long will you be in the kicthen?


Anywhere from 5-7 hours in your home. Its impossible to say exactly how many hours, however we are most willing to work with your schedule or situation, and we can make arrangement in advance so that the cooking date fits into your schedule compatibly.



How would you compare your services to eating in a restaurant?


Comparing a personal chef service to restaurant visit:


At the restaurant:


·         You have to round everyone up in the car and drive to the restaurant

·         Deal with traffic/tolls/directions to new places

·         Pay the cost of gasoline

·         Find a parking spot/pay for parking

·         Wait to be seated

·         Wait for your waiter

·         You pay a premium for your drinks/wine

·         If you have any special requests, you have to hope that they are honored. Remember many sauces or proteins are pre-made at restaurants, so if you want the chicken cooked with no oil, or are allergic to peanut oil or hate spice, many of those components are already built in to their ingredients.

·         Many ingredients may be older than you would like to think they are, they are all prepped to be used quickly, so nothing is really fresh for your consumption

·         Wait for your meal, hoping its been made to your satisfaction

·         Tip your server and wait to pay your bill

·         Drive Home


With Dinner, then Dessert:

You simply have to remember to put your desired meal in the fridge the night before. Follow the simple heating instructions on the container. Enjoy! Remember also, that each meal you eat from Dinner, then Dessert has been made to your exact wants and needs.



What if I have pets? 


Great! One of Dinner, then Desserts greatest taste testers [for the Gourmet Dog Treats] is Pixie. She makes sure your furry best friend is going to love his/her treats as well! In all seriousness though, as long as the animal is not dangerous, we love them all and don't mind their company throughout the day.



Can you make my Mom's recipe or do you use your own?


Being able to eat food that brings back wonderful memories is great! We are happy to work with your family recipes, but would need some lead time to test the recipes.



How do I get started?


Call us now! 202.556.3605 and we will take care of everything. Our in home meeting will cover everything to get us ready for our first cook date.



Who is the United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA)?


The USPCA is the world’s largest and most recognized professional association for Personal Chefs.




Contact Us: Phone: 424.245.0645 Email: [email protected] Copyright © 2015 Dinner, then Dessert, All rights reserved.