FAQ-General questions


What is the difference between a private chef and a personal chef. A private chef is employed full time by an individual or household. Usually living in their home and preparing up to three meals per day, A personal chef serves numerous clients, typically one per day. A personal chef provides multiple meals that are custom designed for the clients’ requests and dietary requirements. These meals are packaged and stored in the client’s home so the client may enjoy them at his or her convenience.

Who needs a personal chef?
Individual’s who believe in the importance of eating fresh homemade meals at a reasonable price.  The reason most people hire a personal chef because they have particular diets, they want to make healthier choices or they do not have time to cook due to their hectic schedules. Professionals, working families, expecting or new parents, seniors, people with specific diets, people recovering from illness are all great candidates for personal chefs. If you are tired of showing up late at the prepared foods bar, eating fast food, commercial frozen dinners or mediocre take out, a personal chef is a valuable investment for a healthier you.

 

 

What areas do you serve?
Serving the San Francisco Bay Area. This includes San Francisco, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Hillsborough, Napa, Sonoma, Wine Country, Marin, Sausalito, Mill Valley and San Rafael.

 

 

How do you know what foods I enjoy?
As your personal chef, your diet is the first order of business. In our first consultation, Chef Jennifer will review your diet, preferences and dislikes.

 

 

Do you have to prepare meals in my home?
Yes. Health department regulations require all meals be prepared in the home of the consumer or a licensed and inspected commercial kitchen. Preparing meals in you home guarantees that you are provided with the highest quality food possible.

 

 

Where do you do your shopping?
This depends on the client. Chef Jennifer is happy to shop at your favorite store upon request. Otherwise, Chef Jennifer will shop at organic grocery stores, farmer’s markets. This sometimes takes two or three trips to find the ideal ingredients. Chef Jennifer only uses the highest quality ingredients that fits within your budget.

 

 

What kind of ingredients do you use?
Chef Jennifer aims to use only the highest quality ingredients. Fresh, organic and local ingredients that are free of hormones, pesticides and antibiotics.

 

 

Do you instruct cooking classes?
Yes. Chef Jennifer creates customized cooking classes either privately or for small groups.


Can I choose from a menu?
Indeed. Chef Jennifer has a sample menu prepared that is full of dishes she has cooked for clients in the past. You will find something you will enjoy and she can always alter the menu to meet your preferences.

 

 

Are you insured?
Yes. Chef Jennifer has obtained liability insurance through the United States Personal Chef Association. This insurance is specifically for personal chefs who conduct services in clients’ home.

 

 

Can you provide references?
Yes, Please contact Chef Jennifer for references.

 

 

Do I have to be home when you are cooking?

No, you do not. In most cases clients are working or running errands while the chef is preparing meals.

 

 

How long does this service take?
Depending on the number of entrees. Chef Jennifer can take anywhere from 3 to 6 hours.  Chef Jennifer is happy to accommodate your schedule.  Times vary depending on complexity of the menu and your preferences.

 

 

Is it ok if I watch or help?
Chef Jennifer will have a very specific production schedule she must adhere to produce the highest quality food in a timely manner. When distracted, ingredients can be missed, over cooked etc. It is best if Chef Jennifer is uninterrupted while cooking so she can produce safe, tasty, healthy high quality food for you. However, Chef Jennifer would be happy to discuss with you before or after your personal chef service.

 

 

How often will you come to my house to cook?
Meal service is offered weekly, bi weekly (every other week) or once a month.

 

 

How far in advance should I reserve your time?
Typically a week is preferred. Please contact Chef Jennifer if services are needed any sooner.

 

 

Is there anything I can do prior to your visit?
Have your kitchen counters free of clutter, your sink cleared and dishwasher emptied as well as  have space in your refrigerator and freezer.

 

 

Personal Chef Questions

 

What is included in your meal plan?
Each plan includes initial consultation which will help determine your needs and preferences, customize menu creation, menu approval, nutrition, dietary recommendations, grocery shopping, in house preparation, packaging, labeling, handling instruction and kitchen clean up .

 

 

Is the menu the same every time?
No. A new menu will be created for you each service. If you prefer the same meal again, that is not a problem. If you are not sure what you would like to eat, take a look at sample menus.

 

 

Are side dishes included?
Yes. Each entrée comes with one side dish. A starch, vegetable or salad. These sides are specifically created to accompany your entrée.

 

 

I have small children , can you make meals for them?
Absolutely! Chef Jennifer of Gastronomicdiva Personal chef can create special meals/snacks for your children.

 

 

How will my meals be packaged?
Pyrex containers are ideal. These glass containers are freezer, oven, microwave and dishwasher safe.  Not only do these uniform containers’ keep your food remarkably fresh, but save you space in your fridge and freezer. There is a one-time fee of $50 for these containers and they are yours to keep. Disposable containers are also offered for $15 per service.

 

 

Are the meals fresh or frozen?
Each service is individualized to your needs. Some services consist of all fresh food, some frozen and some a combination of the two. Some dishes do not freeze well and can be discussed when planning your service.

 

 

Do I re-heat my food?
Yes, You will be left with detailed instructions about how to heat your meals. If meals are frozen, simply thaw them in the refrigerator the night before and follow the easy re-heat instructions for your microwave or oven.

 

 

How much refrigerator/freezer space do you need?
That all depends on how many meals you order, but it usually takes up a considerable amount. The uniform Pyrex containers offered are similar in size and shape so they save space, are easy to store and select your meals.

 

How long do meals last?
This depends on how many entrees and how many people are being served. Through this formula of entrees and servings Chef Jennifer of Gastronomicdiva Personal chef services can tell you exactly how many meals you will have and how long they will last.

In terms of shelf life, each meal lasts about five days in a refrigerator (three for fish) and up to two months in the freezer. All meals are clearly labeled and dated for easy selection.

 

 

How much does this cost?
Prices are listed on the personal chef services page. Groceries are not included.

 

 

Why aren’t groceries included in the price?
Accountability. Chef Jennifer of Gastronomicdiva Personal chef services wants to make sure you know exactly how much is being spent on your groceries and where she is purchasing them from. Additionally, each client’s preferences vary. For one client shopping at a conventional grocery store may be fine, but to another only organic specialty products will do. Your grocery budget is unique.

 

 

How do I know the chef spends the grocery budget on groceries?
At the end of your service Chef Jennifer of Gastronomicdiva Personal chef services will give you the remainder of your grocery budget in cash or direct deposit into your bank account, along with the receipts of groceries purchased. This way you know your grocery budget is going strictly towards groceries and nothing else.

 

 

How much do groceries cost?
The cost for groceries can vary from client to client depending on their individual needs. The averages grocery budget for a personal chef service is $100 to $150.

 

 

When and how do I pay you?
Chef Jennifer of Gastronomicdiva Personal chef service requires a prepayment  for chef services. For personal chef service a $100/$150 grocery payment will be made at least 2 days prior to your service. The deposit can be made by paypal.  Any remaining amount due is due on or before the cook date by  cash, check, or paypal.

 

 

What is your cancellation policy?
For all meals, 48 hours advance notice is required before you cancel your meal service. If you do not cancel within 48 hours a 50% deposit is forfeited.

 

 

Am I locked into a contract every week?
Absolutely not! You pay for each service individually and can end your service at any time.

 

Client Services Agreement

Thank you for selecting Gastronmicdiva Personal Chef Services as your personal chef service. Our goal is to provide you with delicious food on an ongoing basis with a nutritional food plan tailored to your personal goals. Together, we have completed a consultation or communicated in order to assess your needs as well as preferences. Dietary restrictions have been discussed as well as any food allergies.

Gastronmicdiva Personal Chef Services is a professional personal chef service owned and operated by Chef Jennifer Simpson With respect to all parties involved this business policy statement is furnished to clients so they aware of how this business operates.

We spend a great amount of energy and time planning, researching, communicating and executing these food services. Please be aware by using this website and booking any service with Gastronmicdiva Personal Chef Services you are agreeing to our terms of service. We do not offer any refunds for services purchased. Gift certificates have 3 months to use from the purchase date, extensions are not available. If you have any questions please inquire before your purchase.

​Booking Services:
Your service date(s) are booked on the Chef’s calendar when 50% payment is received.

​Changes / Cancellations:
Gastronmicdiva Personal Chef Services requires 5 days advance notification of any change in service dates or cancellations. If 5 days’ notice is not provided there will be no refunds. We do not offer any refunds for services purchased.

​Administrative Fee:
We spend a great amount of energy and time planning, researching, communicating and executing these food services. An administrative fee maybe applied to compensate for time spent on emails, texts, research or on phone calls with prospects or clients. This fee is at the discretion of Gastronmicdiva Personal Chef Services and is non-negotiable.

​Fee-plus System:
We work on a fee-plus system, meaning anything outside the scope of agreement there will be a fee charged to accommodate. This includes change of venue, number of people eating, complexity of menu and any other changes the Chef deems applicable.

The following will familiarize you with our policies:

Clients are expected:

  • The charges forGastronmicdiva Personal Chef Services are based on the meal/ dish package chosen (starting with 6 meal/ dish). These rates do not include the cost of groceries.

  • A proposed menu options will be submitted to you 48-72 hours before we come to cook for you. You accept the offer by email or telephone confirmation that you have received and accepted the menu provided. If you would like additional menu ideas or changes please let us know as soon as possible. All menu changes must be submitted at least 24 hours before services will be provided.

  • By accepting the menu and our offer to provide the grocery and services, you are entering a legal agreement between Gastronmicdiva Personal Chef Services and you for us to provide the meals as indicated on the menu and for your payment in accordance with this Contract. 

  • Once you accept the menu, Gastronmicdiva Personal Chef Services will shop for all necessary food items and ingredients and then prepare and cook the meals for you in your kitchen or commercial kitchen. Each week’s scheduled cooking session will be scheduled in advance and more than likely, will be the same day each week. You should ensure that the kitchen is clean and ready at the scheduled time and pets and children are out of the kitchen area.

  • Our ‘Try it Out’ is for first time clients only. Promotional discount applies to chefs’ fee only – not the cost of food.

  • A fee for storage containers will be included in grocery cost, if applicable. Please keep your containers we will use at your next service date.

  • To book your cook date all payments are made in advance of services. Food reimbursement charged on your credit card will have an additional charge of 3%. You may also leave a check for food reimbursement to the chef day of service.

  • You must supply a key for chef to gain entrance, if you are not going to be home.

  • You will provide a trash can that the personal chef can use to dispose of waste, unless otherwise specified by the chef.

  • A 5 business day cancellation notice is required for all scheduled cooking sessions. Cancellations made within the 5 business day period will incur a penalty of 100% of the quoted price plus the cost of groceries if already purchased.

You can expect your chef to:

  • Show up on the agreed date and time for the cooking session prepared to work. Your chef should arrive in a 45 minute window discussed in the initial consultation. If that were to change the chef or Gastronmicdiva Personal Chef Services management will let you know.

  • Be dressed in appropriate attire. 

  • Disinfect the kitchen with cleaning products before and after the cooking.

  • Clean the affected areas of the kitchen during and after the cooking session. 

  • Handle and store fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood appropriately. 

  • Respect your privacy and property. 

  • Provide confidentiality between the chef and/or nutritionist and you. 

  • Provide advance notice of any unforeseen cancellation by the chef. 

  • Upon our departing from your kitchen, package and label your food with any pertinent instructions.

  • In order to provide the best possible service for you and for safety reasons, the chef will not be able to answer the phone or the door or be responsible for work people in the home.

Food Safety:

  • Once a meal is turned over to the client, it is your responsibility to properly handle and maintain. Gastronmicdiva Personal Chef Services is not responsible for problems that may occur with your refrigerator/ freezer, or due to improper handling or storage of food.

  • Gastronmicdiva Personal Chef Services is not responsible for any illness or death due to manufacturing flaws or recalled products. Gastronmicdiva Personal Chef Services will inspect all groceries, but is not responsible for conditions unknown or unforeseen.

  • If it is discovered that a product is contaminated or has been recalled, Gastronmicdiva Personal Chef Services will promptly contact you and advise to avoid the item.

  • We highly recommend a food thermometer and is required that food is reheated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. We can supply you with a food thermometer if you do not have one.

  • Food should not be left unrefrigerated for longer than 2 hours.

  • It is recommended that frozen food that is to be eaten is defrosted properly in the microwave or defrosted in the refrigerator overnight. Defrosting food in the microwave should only be done if you plan on immediately heating the food. Otherwise, use the refrigerator. 

Some Limitations:

While we are a chefs/ cooks and have educated ourselves or have a degree in health/ nutritional sciences, we are not medical doctors, nor certified nutritionists. We do not provide medical advice. You acknowledge that we have advised you to seek the advice of your doctor or other health care provider if you have any medical questions.If you fail to pay any amounts due to Gastronmicdiva Personal Chef Services under this Agreement for our services or for groceries, you agree that such amounts will accrue interest at the annual rate of 25% from and after our notice to you that payment is overdue and, in addition to such costs, you are responsible for any costs of collection of such amounts, including, attorneys’ fees.