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Frequently Asked Questions

About Personal Chef Services

 

Q: What is a Personal Chef? A:.  A Personal Chef is a professionally trained chef who is hired for the day to come into your home and prepare meals.  They differ from a Private Chef, who usually works full-time for a single family, and different from a Caterer, who cooks for larger events. A Personal chef can give the everyday family a better quality of life by freeing up your time.  Imagine all of the time and energy you spend trying to get dinner on the table each night!  A Personal Chef takes care of all that for you.

Q. Who uses a Personal Chef? A. Many different people have use for a Personal Chef on a regular basis, including busy professional singles or couples, families with active lifestyles, the elderly or disabled, or those who love to eat ~ but hate to cook!  This service may be used on a one-time or occasional basis, or seasonally.

Q.  Can I afford a Personal Chef? A. Yes! Depending on how you are cooking now, using a Personal chef may actually save you money.  If you are eating out a lot, bringing home “take-out” or “fast-food”, or wasting food that you buy at the store but are too busy (or tired!) to actually prepare… then using a personal chef might give you more money.  Your Glass Slipper Gourmet meals cost much less than what you’d pay at a restaurant for a gourmet meal. Fast food my be less expensive at first glance, but the cost quickly adds up when feeding a whole family. And, don’t forget, the effect on your health is an expense you cannot measure. Of course, your time is money also!  How much time are you spending on meal planning, weekly (or worse “last minute”!) grocery shopping, cooking from scratch and cleaning up after all that cooking?  Is it more valuable for you to free up that time and spend it with your family and friends, get more work done at the office, exercise (!), or just DO SOMETHING FUN for a change?  

The “Plan” fee includes everything except the container fee (see below) and optional “fruit basket” service. There are no hidden charges.

Q. What is your service area? A. My Personal Chef service is available in all areas within Contra Costa County, and parts of Alameda and Solano Counties.

Q. Are there any “customer requirements” for you to provide the service?  A.

1. There must be a full-size kitchen (studio/kitchenette not sufficient) with properly functioning stove, oven and fridge/freezer, kitchen sink and a moderate amount counter space. 

2. Kitchen must be clean and ready for me to use upon arrival. 

3. You will need to prepare space in your freezer for storage of your finished meals.

4. Suitable parking is needed within a close proximity to your door.  No full flights of stairs as I bring my own tools and supplies (a few stairs are ok, no elevators please).

5.  I require a 50% deposit for new customers, and final/full payment on day of service. Check or cash are accepted. ($25 return check fee). Existing customers with a good payment history can pay the balance in full on day of service

Q. How do we get started and what can I expect? A. I’ll meet with you at your home to assess your meal needs and survey the work area.A questionnaire will help me find out your personal likes/dislikes, special dietary needs, how often you’ll need the service, storage preferences, etc., and we’ll make your first cooking appointment. You will need to put down a 50% deposit at that time.I will send a reminder/confirmation email of your cooking appointment. You'll need to reply and confirm your appointment.

On the day of your cooking appointment I will design your menu based on our prior consultation information, do the shopping, come to your home with my own tools and supplies, unload my equipment, then cook, package/label and store your meals in your freezer. A detailed menu of your meals will be left with simple re-heating instructions. You'll need to pay your balance at this time. I’ll fully clean the kitchen, load my supplies up, and be on my way ~ It’s that simple! 

Q. What kind of food will I get? A.  On your cooking day I’ll arrive with all the ingredients necessary to prepare your meal.  I search out the finest meats and fish, the freshest produce, exotic spices and herbs and use what is in season.  This may require shopping at more than one store and visiting the Farmer’s Markets.  I’ll go where needed to get the best, just like you would if you had time!  Organic and all-natural foods are selected whenever possible.

Your menu is 100% customized and based on your needs and wants.  During the assessment I determine what foods you and your family enjoy and create menus based on that input.  The lines of communication are always open and I enjoy your feedback on the selections.  If you like something I prepare, let me know! If you don’t care for something, let me know that too! It is my goal to make you beyond happy!

Typically a standard menu consists of 5 meals (including sides dishes), usually a beef dish, a poultry dish, a pork dish, a fish dish, and a vegetarian dish.  Based on your preferences, this may change. Your “Plan” selection will determine how many portions of each item.  The most popular plan is "Plan One" which would give you 4 portions of each of the 5 meals, for a total of 20 meals. 

Q: Will I know what specific foods are on my upcoming menu?  A: When planning your menu I always take into consideration the preferences and requests you have made with regard to your menu. With the "a la minute" (at last minute) shopping, sometimes the need for substitution or re-thinking of a menu. If an item I planned on for your meal is not available, or not up to par on quality... I will often substitute another ingredient ~ or even change the recipe to suit what is a better choice.  The same thing goes for "seasonality" of ingredients... depending on the season, a recipe may change to reflect what is fresh in the market. 

Q: Where do you shop?  A: I am firm believer in choosing food purveyors with high standard in all aspects of their product ~ from food quality to production standards and environmental responsibility.  I hand select meat, dairy, produce and pantry ingredients with that in mind, and feel that the attention to detail in choosing ingredients shows in the final meal presentation. I most often shop at Trader Joe’s and the local farmer’s market.

Q: Do you use fresh, organic and/or all natural ingredients?  A: You can be assured that the ingredients used in preparing your gourmet meals are hand-selected, fresh and wholesome.  Whenever possible organics, all natural and minimally processed ingredients are chosen.  All of the shopping for your menu is done on the morning of your appointment, to insure top quality. 

Q. How is the prepared food stored? A. Customers must purchase, from Glass Slipper Gourmet, a set of dedicated containers for food storage. The cost is based on the plan size you choose, typically $35.00 per set (subject to change).  Please see Plans & Pricing for details.

Q. How do I re-heat the meals? A.  These special containers are freezer/oven and microwave safe.  It is recommended that you thaw your meal in the fridge a day prior to re-heating, however they can be heated from the frozen state with added heating time. 

Please remove the plastic lid prior to heating by either method (they will melt!).

For oven heating (recommended), 30-40 minutes @ *350 is usually sufficient.  Depending on the density of the item and your oven, it may be more or less time. 

Microwave heating at half power for 3-5 minutes is usually sufficient, with the same variables as above. Remove foil covering and replace with a damp paper towel.

Tips:

•             You may prefer to remove foil during last minutes of oven heating for browning/crisping of items.

•             1-2 ice cubes in the container before heating will add a bit of moisture if you find it needs it. 

•             Breads/biscuits/etc. can be heated in foil for 5-10 minutes.

•             Sauce packets should be heated separately or added during last minutes of heating.

•             Soups and stews may be heated (once thawed) in a pot on the stovetop for quicker reheating.

Q: I really loved “this” menu item! Can you make it again?  A: I’m so happy to hear these words! REALLY! J I rarely make the same thing "exactly" the same... mostly because I don't use recipes word for word, rather I use them as a guideline or "notes" and let myself be creative with how a meal comes together.  I enjoy this method of cooking much more so than being tied to a set way of doing a particular dish. I call it "free-style cooking", and I hope you enjoy it!  It’s a good idea to let me know right away when/if you want me to remake something you’ve especially enjoyed on a future menu. If you wait until the next time I see you to tell me, chances are I won’t remember exactly how I made it on the day I cooked for you.

Q. Do I need to be home on my “cooking day”? A. It’s your choice.  Most people are busy and not home during the day, which is why they need me!  If you are not able to be home or are in/out throughout the day you can leave a key or security entry for me, or you may just let me in and then be on your way.  You can feel confident that I will treat your home with respect and care.  In fact, you may like the idea of someone at the house and when you come home the delicious aromas of home-cooking will greet you. If you prefer to be home, that’s fine too!  I do ask that you allow me to concentrate and focus on the task at hand. I’ll have a LOT going on at once and need to pay attention to the cooking. Whether you choose to be at home or not,a courtesy reminder will be give the day before your scheduled cooking day.  This will give you a chance to clear space in your freezer and fridge, leave a key under the mat, have the kitchen clean and ready for use, and leave payment for services. 

Q. Can I pick up meals or have you drop them off? A. No. This service is performed in YOUR home, in YOUR kitchen. It is not a drop-off or pick-up service. Health Dept. Regulations strictly control how food for sale is served and this complies with the laws. 

Q. How do I schedule my “cooking day”? A. You may choose to have a regularly scheduled appointment (recommended), perhaps every 2 or 4 weeks. Or, you may call or email as needed for an appointment. You’ll be scheduled for the earliest available date, usually within 3-4 weeks.

Q. What if I need to cancel or reschedule my appointment? A.You’ll be given a reminder/confirmation email a day prior to your scheduled appointment. You must confirm your appointment by return email or phone by the morning of your cooking day.  Without a confirmation your appointment will be cancelled.  If you need to reschedule or cancel an appointment a minimum of 48 hours is expected (but more time is appreciated!)

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