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Chef Thomas Barker - (707) 294-2285
Serving Napa, Sonoma And Surrounding Counties In The North Bay Area Of California


Who needs a personal chef?
A personal chef service is perfect for busy professionals, new moms and dads, seniors, those who are preparing for surgery or recuperating from an illness. A personal chef can also help you feed a household of guests, special anniversary dinners, dinner parties, birthdays, barbeques and other catering events.Back to Top

Is a personal chef really affordable?
Yes! With our personal chef service you can enjoy delicious, healthy, restaurant quality meals in a matter of minutes. You have to buy groceries in any case, and very often food and produce gets thrown away, because it is not used in time. Many frozen convenience food really taste like nothing and the portions are skimpy with more sauce than anything else. Their fat and sodium content are also extremely high – so in other words they are not healthy or good for you. How much money do you spend on take-out or eating-out at restaurants, or even on Doctor’s fees or medical bills, because of health problems resulting from poor eating habits? If you add it all up, using the services of a Personal Chef will save you time and money. This will not be an extra expense on your monthly budget, but will in fact replace many of the expenses that you already currently incur. My professional personal chef service may even help you to control your food costs, as you will be less likely to impulse-buy in the grocery store or resort to low-quality fast food, convenience food or restaurant food. Back to Top

What is the difference between a personal chef and a private chef?
A personal chef serves several clients. Usually, a personal chef visits the home of one client a day and prepares multiple meals that are custom designed to the client’s particular requests and diet requirements. These meals are packaged and stored so that the client may enjoy them at their leisure. A personal chef service is very affordable and is intended for busy individuals who don’t always have time to shop and prepare healthy, wholesome food.

Most private chefs are employed full-time for one household, often living on the premises. A private chef prepares up to three meals a day and they do 100% of the cooking. This type of service is very expensive.Back to Top

What is the advantage of having a personal chef?
The meals are prepared specifically to your own tastes and preferences. The cost represents all of the components that make up a professional personal chef service: the assessment meeting, menu planning, grocery shopping, careful preparation of the meals, safe and appropriate packaging with labels and warming instructions. If you have a personal chef service, you will be able to enjoy a delicious entrée in the comfort of your own home. Back to Top

Do you cook in my kitchen?
Yes. I will prepare your meals in the safety of your own kitchen. I am flexible and adaptable to work in any size kitchen. On our agreed upon cooking date, I will bring the freshest ingredients for your meals along with my own pots, pans and utensils and prepare your entrées on site. At the end of the day I will leave your kitchen clean, and your home full of the savory aroma of good home cooking. Back to Top

Do I need a big kitchen for a personal chef?
No. You do not need a big kitchen to have a personal chef. All I need to prepare your meals is a functional kitchen with an oven and stove and counter space. Back to Top

Do you do the grocery shopping?
Yes. I will do all of the grocery shopping that is necessary for your meals on the morning of your cook date so that your ingredients are as fresh as possible. Back to Top

How should I prepare for the cooking date?
On your cooking date, your kitchen counters need to be clean and cleared of anything other than the normal small appliances. Your stove, oven, and refrigerator should be in working order. Space will be needed in the refrigerator to store groceries until they are prepared. The refrigerator and freezer should have the appropriate room to store your wonderful meals. Back to Top

How long will you be in my home?
I will be cooking many different entrées and side dishes from scratch. It takes approximately two to five hours after arriving at your home, but each menu is different; therefore, I am most willing to make arrangements in advance so that my cooking fits conveniently into your schedule. Back to Top

Do I need to be home on the cooking date?
No. Since many of you are busy, you do not have to be home on your cooking date, but either way is fine. When we book your cooking date, we will discuss house entry, pet arrangements and other specifics I may need to know. Back to Top

I’ll be home that day. Is it okay if I watch or help?
As much as I would love your company while I am cooking, my first concern is safety. Distractions can easily cause burns or cuts; and since several different recipes are being prepared simultaneously, it is best to limit other activity. This also helps to ensure excellent quality of your meals. I would be happy to chat or answer any questions before or after, and I am always happy to answer any questions or take suggestions through email or phone. Back to Top

How will the meals be packaged?
During your free assessment, we will decide upon the type of containers that best meet your needs. Your meals will be packaged according to your preferences, the size of your family, and whether or not you will be dining together. Generally, entrées are packaged separately from side dishes. It is important to use uniform-sized containers for your meals in order to conserve space in your refrigerator and freezer.Back to Top

How much refrigerator and/or freezer space do I need?
This depends upon the number of meals you request and the sizes of the containers, but it generally requires a considerable amount of space. During your assessment we will consider how much space you have available to meet your needs. Appropriately sized and uniform containers are used for optimum and efficient storage. Back to Top

How difficult is it to warm meals?
Warming meals is very easy and convenient. You will receive clear and easy to follow warming instructions for each entrée and side dish. Back to Top

What type of meals do you prepare? Can I choose the menu?
I am skilled in many cuisines. I am also able to cook to the requirements of various diet plans. At your free assessment, we will decide upon the first week’s menu based on your tastes and dietary needs. After you try the meals, we will re-examine the menu and implement any changes you request, for instance, more or less spice, portion sizes, etc. In addition, I would be delighted to prepare a family recipe if the recipe is provided at least a week in advance.

Menu requests are phoned or emailed to me a week or so in advance. Most clients leave the menu selection to me since I know their likes and dislikes. Your menus will reflect the seasons, as well as market specials. But, if one of my dishes becomes a family favorite be sure to let me know! Back to Top

What type of side dishes do you prepare?
The side dishes will compliment the entrée and it will be selected and prepared according to your needs and requirements. The appropriate side dishes often consist of a seasonal fresh vegetable, potato, rice, or pasta. Back to Top

I am always happy to provide additional services such as extra side dishes or additional grocery shopping; however, it will entail an additional fee. Back to Top

Will you prepare meals from my recipes?
Absolutely! I love to prepare new dishes. If you provide me with your favorite recipe, I’ll be happy to cook it! Back to Top

How often will I need your services?
It’s entirely up to you. It depends upon the size of your family, how many entrées you order, and how many evenings you eat at home. I’ll be happy to help you determine just how often you will want to schedule my services in order to best serve your needs. Back to Top

The cost seems to be about what I would pay for a meal in a restaurant. Why is that?
My fee represents all of the components that make up a professional personal chef service. This includes the assessment process to determine your likes and dislikes, how you like to eat, and whether you have allergies, sensitivities or medically specific dietary requirements. It also includes time spent researching and customizing your menu and adapting recipes to reflect your personal needs; grocery shopping for the freshest ingredients; coming to your home to prepare the entrées; packaging, labeling and storing your meals; and leaving clear and easy to follow warming instructions for each entrée and side dish.

If you were to compare a personal chef service to restaurant service you would have to consider your travel time and possibly waiting for a table. If you have allergies or special requests you would not always have the guarantee that they would be honored since the restaurant industry cooks on an assembly line. After eating the meal you must pay for it, tip the server, and travel back home. Besides, a regular diet of eating commercially prepared food is not a healthy lifestyle.

If you have a personal chef service you will have a refrigerator full of wonderful entrées which have been prepared specifically to your taste and to meet your dietary needs in the safety of your own kitchen. Plus, you get to enjoy the meals anytime and eat in the comfort of your own home. No restaurant can offer you that kind of service! Back to Top

Do I have to sign a contract?
No. I do not require a contract or a commitment to a specific term of service. You pay for each cook date in advance. The service is flexible and if you need to cancel a cook date, we will try to find an alternative cook date. Back to Top

Do I pay ahead for each cooking date?
Yes. It is customary to pay for the service in advance of your cooking date along with a deposit for the cost of food. Payment can be made for your upcoming cook date on the day I am cooking. Back to Top

Can you do special diets or help me lose weight?
Yes. I am happy to prepare meals according to your doctor or nutritionist’s specifications. While I am not a registered dietician, my fee includes the research and time needed to prepare the healthy meals you require. Back to Top

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