When we face difficult parental loss, many people don’t feel like eating. This typical loss of appetite grievers develop can breed unhealthy consequences. If this is something your family faces, read about how hiring a personal chef to assist your widowed parent or your family can help out the first weeks or months after loss.
Below, Tom Steiber, CEO of Big City Chefs, answers my questions regarding hiring Big City Chefs to assist families utilize personal chefs to prepare meals after loss:
Q: Tom, I understand that a recent friend of an employee of Big City Chefs who was newly widowed used your services to help her after the loss of her spouse. Explain why she decided to use Big City Chefs to reduce her food/cooking tasks.
A: After a loss, some people find day-to-day tasks very daunting, which exacerbates the stress of the loss. As a result, many grieving people will neglect their eating habits, which is not healthy. Having a chef come into the home once a week or every two weeks to cook a batch of meals not only gave that friend some much needed rest, but it also restored her physical and emotional health to give her the strength she needed to cope with her loss.
Q: Tom, If an adult child of a newly widowed parent wants to arrange for a personal chef to prepare meals for their parent who may live across the country, what is the process?
A: It’s really quite easy. In a pinch, the person making the arrangement could simply visit our website at www.bigcitychefs.com to order a package for a set number of meals as a gift, which can be purchased on our website anytime. This would be sent in the form of a gift certificate that the grieving parent could redeem by then calling our office at 1-866-321-CHEF, at which time we set up a consultation with a chef. If the adult child would like more involvement in the process, calling us to discuss the parent’s needs in greater detail can be done up front so that the parent doesn’t have to handle those matters.
Q: Tom, What kind of cooking training do your chefs have?
A: As a general rule, our chefs are professionally trained graduates of top culinary schools with several years of high volume, high pressure, high-end, fine dining restaurant cuisine. Once they’ve handled the toughest educational and restaurant situations, they can easily take care of our clients and cover a broad range of individualized needs.
Q: Tom, How do you make sure your chefs are safe to go into people’s homes? What is your screening process? Are you bonded and insured?
A very important personal quality that our chefs must have is a high level of trustworthiness, kindness, and effective communication, since they deal so closely with clients. We take chefs through a rigorous screening process that includes personal interviews, creating menus for mock clients, verifying employment and personal references, and conducting criminal background checks. We would rather work very closely with small teams of chefs than very loosely with a large network, as this helps create a very consistent customer experience. And yes, we carry commercial liability insurance with Lloyd’s of London to protect our clients from foodborne illnesses or damage to their premises.
Q: Tom, Can a client request all organic or all local food to be used by the chef?
A: Absolutely. We provide a totally personalized experience for the customer, and many customers do choose local, sustainable, and organic product. In some communities, this might come from local farms or farmer’s markets, while in others, it may come from natural grocers in their neighborhoods. We can accommodate any requests and can customize a package and price to meet almost any need.
Q: Tom, Can you tell us the price ranges for two weeks of personally cooked food by your chefs by different locations across the country? (i.e. Pacific Coastal states $X-$X), Midwest($X-$X), Southern($X-$X), New England($X-$X)?)
We like to provide customers with a package price that includes all groceries and labor. As a general rule, our pricing is fairly similar across the country, although it is slightly more expensive in the New York City metro area. Ten nights of dinner entrees, including the cost of food, start at $400 for 2 people and $750 for 4 people, or 20 and 40 large dinner entrees and side dishes, respectively. Pricing for highly customized packages can vary a bit depending on the type of ingredients used. In New York, we would typically add about $50-75 to either package.