Can You Afford to Hire a Personal Chef?

I always thought personal chefs were for movie stars and the ultra-wealthy. Geez, with the amount a babysitter charges these days, I thought affording a personal chef for my family of 5 would be way out of reach. I was wrong.

Let’s backup a bit: May is just the pits for me. My allergies wear me down, my life is in chaos with end of school activities pulling me in too many directions. Sports are still going strong and I am generally a scatterbrain, and a cranky one, at that. So, I met with Kindy Girdley at the beginning of May on the recommendation of some friends. I had heard that her food was incredible and also healthy. I decided that instead of eating out on average 7 times a week –because I simply don’t have the time to cook in May– I would offset that cost by hiring Kindy to come cook for us each Monday and some Thursdays, as well.

Kindy at work in my kitchen.

Yes, we really do eat out that much. Usually, we eat out for lunch both Saturday and Sunday (not just in May). Then, we eat out probably 3 nights a week on top of this. 1-2 weekend nights and then either eating out or picking up on another weeknight. In May, add two more times to this: we pick up a breakfast about once a week (through a fast food window…guilt is surrounding me right now) and then have an additional dinner out.

When I do get to the market, I always pick up a little something extra here and there, and I always over-buy, as I think, “We won’t eat out as much next week and I will make my family eat all these vegetables!” And then we go out, the vegetables rot, and I add more guilt to my crumbling psyche.

Does this resonate with you? Maybe not. However, if it does, you may want to consider a personal chef.

Days before she comes, Kindy sends a list of 5-7 meals to choose from and I pick three and make any changes if needed. I’m gluten-free and my kids can’t tolerate a bunch of dairy, and Kindy is great at accommodating dietary restrictions. She grocery shops for the food needed to make our requested menu items and then comes straight to our house to cook and prepare our meals.

Our bounty after one Monday with Kindy. This doesn't show the chopped veggies in the refrigerator and the extra granola she made.

Zucchini Lasagna (made using zucchini as the noodles)

Chicken Enchiladas

Fresh made salsa for the enchiladas

Freshly made chips for the extra salsa

Rosemary chicken with lemons, olives and onions

Mashed potatoes

Broccoli -- made with herbs and Braggs "aminos" (which Kindy has introduced us to and we LOVE.)

I promise you this is cheaper than the money we would have spent out, it's healthier and it saved me sanity and time I desperately needed back in my life.

Each Monday Kindy would also make some snacks and homemade granola that would help us through the week. She sometimes came back on Thursday for a second dose but it was mainly a Monday thing. This gave us three meals, sometimes four, and enough of each for me to munch on for lunches. Every time she came we made the three meals into four nights of meals. When she came on Thursdays, we didn’t even go out for lunch on the weekends, and rarely for dinner, except with friends.

With a clean kitchen, practically zero prep time, an organized refrigerator and pantry AND the ease of knowing dinner was planned, I found myself SO MUCH MORE productive! I got ahead on StyleBlueprint work and I got back to getting 7-8 hours of sleep. I was no longer depressed by the thought of dinner — and this from someone who likes to cook! A more-than-full-time job with StyleBlueprint (we’ve expanded to 4 other cities and are launching our Louisville deal site – yay!), three kids and a husband who to travels quite a bit makes for one very tired me, and Kindy has been the perfect solution to a problem that I didn’t realize needed fixing. Simply stated, she’s been a total blessing to my family.

Another week, Kindy made us:

Ginger steak "fried" rice.

Moroccan Chicken Soup (which we'd already eaten half of by the time I took this picture!)

Pesto gluten-free pasta.

Kale "chips"-- my kids even love these.

Peanut butter rice krispy treats (made with Justin's peanut butter and brown rice syrup).

So, Kindy is mine on Mondays from now on. You can’t have her. Well, she can probably leave here and come to your house. She usually is here for about 4 hours, sometimes 5. At $45 an hour, that’s $180. Believe me it is worth it: a clean kitchen, meals, snacks, homemade granola, and time saved. I love knowing a healthy, homemade meal is waiting and I’m not throwing unused food away that I was too busy to make into something. This is not the answer for everyone, but for some, it is. We’ve even dropped a few pounds.

Other meals made include these sweet potato pancakes with BBQ chicken and spicy coleslaw. We had enough to make 20 of these.

Salmon with roasted vegetables.

Several times we've asked for a big salad. This one includes grilled flank steak and bunches of vegetables including eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes with feta cheese and a homemade dressing.

And, for someone who is sick, or parents of a new baby? This may be the better way for friends to chip in than bringing another chicken salad casserole…

Kindy also provides a meal delivery service on Mondays and Wednesdays for those not wanting to commit to a regular schedule. Many get these meals on both days. Please email her for details and her delivery range: [email protected]

 

There are several personal chef services in town, and the ones we know and can recommend are listed below. (All are able to accommodate dietary restrictions, as well):

Kindy Girdley: http://thechicpeacateringco.blogspot.com/; [email protected]

Callie McMillin: http://calliemcmillin.com;

Tina’s Table: http://www.tinastable.com/

Simply Sarah: http://www.simplysarahnashville.com

Each of the above will cater small to large parties and dinner parties.

 

So, what do you think? Tempting isn’t it?