Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between a Personal Chef and a Private Chef?

A private chef is employed by one individual or a family full time, is often "living in," and preparing up to three meals per day. A Personal Chef serves several clients, usually one per day, and provides multiple meals that are customized to the particular preferences and requirements of each client. These meals are packaged and stored so that the client may enjoy them at their leisure in the near future.

2. What is the difference between a Personal Chef and a Caterer?

A caterer holds a commercial catering license, works out of a commercial kitchen, and typically focuses on the execution of large parties and functions. Caterers generally require that a minimum food cost be met before they will provide their service. Due to this requirement, they are not as likely to provide services for small events because it is typically not profitable for them to do so. From a regulatory stand-point, a personal chef, unless also licensed as a professional caterer, cannot prepare food off-site and transport it to the client's home as a caterer can. Instead, all of the food for an event must be prepared in the client's own home. Given all of these parameters, the personal chef service is optimized for execution of intimate special events.

3. Do you cook in my kitchen?

Yes. The meals are prepared in the safety of your own kitchen. On the agreed upon cooking date, the food sherpa llc will bring the fresh ingredients for your meals along with all of the pots, pans and utensils required to prepare your entrees on site. At the end of the day the food sherpa llc will leave your kitchen clean and full of the aroma of good home cooking!

4. How long will you be here?

the food sherpa llc provides a range of services from standard personal chef services (e.g., meal planning and preparation), on-site custom cooking classes, and the execution of intimate special events (e.g., small buffet service, plated dinners, or cocktail party-style services). The comprehensive service includes a variety of components: planning, grocery shopping, travel to your location, equipment set up, menu execution and kitchen clean up. Only a portion of this total time is spent in your home. The type of service provided and the amount of food required are the primary parameters that determine how long a given service will take.

For any given service, several different entrees, side dishes, or related items must be prepared from scratch, so it will typically take several hours to complete. The smallest job generally requires approximately 5 hours of kitchen time. Larger jobs can take as much as 10 hours, or may even be split over two or more consecutive days.

the food sherpa llc will work with you to identify the best package and/or to define the scope of the task at hand. A much better estimate of the time required for your specific service can then be provided. the food sherpa llc is willing to work with your unique schedule or situation, and can typically make arrangements in advance so that the service fits compatibly into your schedule.

5. I’ll be home that day. Is it okay if I watch - or help?

the food sherpa llc is a professional that you have hired to complete a job. Being under someone’s watchful eye or being distracted by conversation or inquiries can not only slow the process, but can also cause burns, cuts, and forgotten ingredients. the food sherpa llc is always happy to visit with you before or after the cooking session is complete; however, during the process it is important to be "in command" in the kitchen in order to complete the job that you have hired the company to do. If you are interested in a "hands-on" cooking experience, the food sherpa llc would be happy to talk to you about customizing a cooking class for your enjoyment.

6. Do I heat the food?

Yes. Any entrees that have been stored for you in your refrigerator or freezer should typically be defrosted overnight in your refrigerator (if frozen) and heated so that they may be enjoyed at the peak of their flavor. the food sherpa llc will leave you with detailed and easy to follow heating instructions for each prepared entree and side dish.

7. How much refrigerator/freezer space do you need?

It depends on the number of meals you request, the sizes of the containers used to store the food, and the configuration of your refrigerator/freezer. A considerable amount of refrigerator and/or freezer space is generally required. As a general rule, a minimum of one shelf should be cleared in both the refrigerator and freezer. If a second shelf can be made available in each location, this will ensure that ample space is available for both prepared recipe ingredients that require refrigeration until they are ready to be used in cooking as well as for the storage of the finished product at the end of the cook date.

During your client assessment meeting, we will take a look at your refrigerator and freezer to see just how much room you have available. Efficient storage is one of the reasons that the food sherpa llc prefers to select the appropriate number and size of uniform storage containers for clients.

8. Can you use my containers?

Potentially. the food sherpa llc will take a look at your existing containers during the client assessment meeting. It is important to note, however, that uniform size containers will take up less space in your refrigerator and/or freezer. Customarily, the food sherpa llc prefers to design a custom container configuration for you to ensure that the appropriate containers for the entrees and sides that will be prepared are available on your first cook date. If you will clean and reserve the containers that held the meals that you have already enjoyed, the food sherpa llc will be able to rotate them back in for repeated use as you continue with the service.

9. What type of side dishes do you prepare?

Rissole Potatoes
Rissole Potatoes

Typically, the food sherpa llc prepares side dishes that complement the entrees you have selected. For example, if you order a green chicken curry entree, a Jasmine rice side dish might be prepared to be enjoyed with the main course.  Some clients with very special dietary needs or with particularly divergent preferences may request that smaller portions of items commonly prepared for entrees be prepared as sides instead.  So, as a general rule, the food sherpa llc will pair a complimentary side with any given entree; however, if you would prefer something else, there are always other options that can be discussed.

10. What if I want you to prepare additional side dishes as well?

the food sherpa llc would be happy to provide that service for you; however, it will entail an additional fee.

11. How does this service compare to a restaurant?

The fees for the service provided by the food sherpa llc are expressed per entree or per serving. They represent all of the components that make up a professional personal chef service, including:

  • The client assessment meeting, which allows the food sherpa llc to determine what you like to eat, how you like to eat, and whether or not you have allergies, sensitivities or medically-specific requirements that must be considered in your meal plan.
  • After the initial assessment meeting (and for subsequent service dates), proposed menu selections are submitted for your review and approval prior to your service.
  • On the morning of your service, the food sherpa llc completes all of the grocery shopping for your plan, travels to your home, and prepare all of the entrees and sides on your menu in the safety of your own kitchen.
  • All prepared food is packaged, labeled, and stored, and a detailed set of handling instructions is provided so that you can easily warm the food when you are ready to eat it.
  • Finally, the food sherpa llc cleans your kitchen and leaves everything as it was prior to your service.

A good way to compare a personal chef service to traditional restaurant service is as follows: For a restaurant, you must drive to get there, possibly wait for a table, and take a chance that your server is having a good day. In addition, if you have food allergies or special requests you may not have the guarantee that they will be honored, since many entrees are typically prepared in "assembly line" fashion in the kitchen. After eating your meal you must pay for it, tip the server, and get back in your vehicle to drive home. If you have a Personal Chef Service, you can heat a beautiful entree that has been prepared specifically for your palate and preferences and eat it in the comfort of your own home. You can enjoy the meal seated at the dinner table, on the couch in front of a good movie, or any way you like.

12. Do I pay you in advance of each cook date?

It is the food sherpa llc's policy to collect fees for recurring service or cooking classes in advance of each service date. For recurring service, a check may be written for the next cook date on the current date of service or an automated credit card transaction may be posted on the current date of service to cover the cost of the next service.

For special events, such as plated dinners, buffet set ups, or related one-time services, it is the food sherpa llc's policy to collect a deposit at the time that the service is booked and the balance on the date that the service is rendered.

13. How long will the food last?

Depending on how many entrees you order, and how many evenings you eat at home, the food sherpa llc can determine approximately how long your meals will last. If you travel for business, entertain in restaurants during the week, or just enjoy eating out on occasion, the meals will last longer than if you eat in each night. With the 5 x 4 Package, your meals will typically last one week for a family of four, two weeks for a couple, or up to one month for an individual. the food sherpa llc is happy to discuss this with you in greater detail during your client assessment meeting.

14. How often will we need your service?

the food sherpa llc would be happy to help you determine just how often you will want to schedule Personal Chef Service to best serve your needs. We will make sure that the service supports your busy lifestyle without putting any pressure on you!

15. Can I order a fraction of one of your personal chef packages?

This request is most often made when a potential client is interested in getting a smaller amount of food and/or paying a lower fee for the services provided by the food sherpa llc. The packages referenced on this website are optimized to reflect the amount of planning, shopping, and preparation involved in each offering. In order to balance the offering of cost-effective packages for clients with the demands of a profitable enterprise, the food sherpa llc can not take the same amount of cooking time to produce only a fraction of the food. A better alternative that works for many is to purchase a standard package and then schedule recurring service less frequently. the food sherpa llc would be happy to discuss this and other possible options with you during your client assessment meeting. If you would like more immediate feedback on this topic, please feel free to contact the food sherpa llc.