Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mother's Day gift- the family meal

*Is getting meals on the table a hassle?
*Do you not know where to start?
*Are you getting home from work too late to do anything but pick up take-out?
*Do you have older kids that you want to lure back to the family table?
*Don't know what to get Mom for Mother's Day?
*Baby shower for #2 or #3 for the mom who has everything?

Give Mom and your family the gift of a personal chef!
I have not personally tried any of the services, but think they are a great idea! (This would have been the PERFECT gift after my daughter was born. I was eating granola bars and milk while getting over complications from a C-section with a husband in the middle of grad-school exams far away from family and friends!) 

Getting started
Get older kids in on the action with meal-planning and expect them to show up for dinner. Maybe a week of yummy, prepared food can take the pressure off everyone. Show up to the table, eat together in a pleasant setting and just learn to love the family table again. Then think about how you can make family meals happen more often. Inspired by a recipe? Can you afford more of the personal chef experience (may save money over eating out at chain restaurants like Chilis or TGIFriday...) Would you view this as a luxury? A necessity? Look at your food and eating-out budget and do some math. What value is the family meal at home? How much are you spending on boring, fried foods at chain restaurants? Here are some thoughts from local personal chefs and caterers:

As a personal chef, I consult with the client about what they need and what food they like. Once I know the type of food they like I create menu plans for them. I buy the groceries, prepare the food either at home or at their home and store in plastic containers. They freeze most of the containers and eat the food that is best refrigerated, warmed up and eaten in about 3-4 days.
The advantage is they don't have to plan menus, shop, cook, package/label the food and clean up. Most recipes are for 4-8 servings and take me about 30 minutes to prepare. The preparation and food costs for a recipe are about the same as an entree served in a chain restaurant.... clients do gain much more time to do other things.

A personal chef and catering company.They offer true personal chef services, as well as a weekly menu on my website that allows busy folks to order a la carte. Orders are placed online, then they cook the tasty meals on Monday and deliver to home or work! They even offer Kid's Meals for $5. They do offer gift certificates, so it's perfect to give Mom a break in the kitchen or pamper new parents. :-)

Solo by Bonicelli is a fresh meal delivery service providing an in-home, healthful, quality dining experience for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I prepare Solo meals with the finest fresh ingredients available, using exciting recipes I created. The meals are meant to be savored and enjoyed as if prepared by your own personal chef.  Perfect gift for Mother's Day!  Check out our Mother's Day Special! 

Personal Chef Services are the culinary equivalent of housekeeping services and for many people, especially busy moms, having someone plan for, shop, prepare and clean up after meals is a real lifesaver. I primarily serve families - and all of them have so much to do, they can't find time to go to the grocery store or even go out to eat. If they want a delicious, healthy made-from-scratch meal at home, they need a personal chef to do it.
... Simple finishing instructions accompany every dish, so there is never a panic-y moment when Mom wonders, "What's for dinner tonight?"
 Prices include groceries, and the total cost is close to what you would spend in a casual-dining restaurant including beverages and tip. For a family of six, personal chef services are as low as $12 per person per meal.

Please note I know there are men and fathers who do the family cooking, statistically women still are more involved in meal prep and cooking, so for ease I will refer to the cook as Mom or "she."

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