Mmmm. What is that intoxicating aroma? Perhaps I should ask my personal chef, whipping up something in the kitchen… For lunch? For dinner?
Ah, the sauce. Fantastic. Not as heavy as Hollandaise on the asparagus, but butter-based and sinfully seasoned.
Oh, right. I don’t actually have a personal chef. An occasional cohort-in-cuisine, yes. Does that count?
Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a professional who can monitor your nutritional needs, please your persnickety palate, and remember the requirements to retain your girlish figure?
What a shame that we don’t all have this option – time, budget and knowledge enough not only to skillfully prepare what we like, but to serve what is tailored to our health needs.
How Much Can a Personal Chef Earn?
After an evening spent making my “light lasagna” recently, a favored dish around here as it tends to be gobbled for four consecutive nights, my mind began wandering to puffed pastries and tasty tarts. I’m tired of my own cooking. I need a new repertoire. And I found myself daydreaming about a personal or private chef. Not that I’m actually in the market for one, but I was interested to know what they might cost.
According to Food and Wine on this subject, a personal chef working five days a week may earn $60,000 to $80,000 / year.
But wait! That was 2001!
A more current statistic (from Indeed.com) is in the same ballpark, at $64,000/year for a private chef.
Curious if there is a difference between a personal chef and a private chef, it turns out there is. I consider myself appropriately enlightened by this, from the American Personal & Private Chef Institute:
A private chef is employed by one individual or family full time, and often lives in, preparing up to three meals per day. A personal chef serves several clients, usually one per day, and provides multiple meals that are custom-designed for the clients’ particular requests and requirements.
The Institute notes that a personal chef may make between $200 and $500/day. Not exactly small potatoes.
Calling Emeril… Calling Nigella…
So what about a celebrity chef? Hungry for more information, I continued my research…
Okay. Pull up a chair and prepare to be wowed, and that’s before you taste anything! According to Restaurants.com, the highest paid celebrity chef in 2012 earned $38 million (Gordon Ramsey).
Don’t run to the ear doctor. You heard that right.
Now, take a sip of water. Some of the other stars of the celebrity chefdom managed fat wallets of their own. Consider Wolfgang Puck at $20 million and Rachel Ray at $25 million, also in 2012.
And no, that wasn’t for coming to your home and whipping up a snack. These are brands – with books, cookware, restaurants, television shows…
My Wayward Ways
My attempts at getting back on track with disciplined eating (after a summer of indulgence) have included foods I like (salmon) with, I admit, an infrequent dollop of something special. (Hello, bagel and cream cheese with lox. Goodbye, skinny jeans.)
Fortunately, I am a huge fan of soups in every season, and no more so than in autumn and winter. Anything goes – from a hearty veggie-chicken potage to potato leek. Even a light mushroom miso is delicious and satisfying.
Of course, my co-cuisine occupant is an excellent cook – and I’m grateful. Not only is he handy with a heavy skillet at the stove, but he’s creative in his interpretations of recipes sourced on the Internet. He is also extremely attentive to food quality – and that helps.
His whistling in the kitchen?
That, I consider dessert.
A “Necessary” Luxury for a Busy Woman?
Still, were I to list luxuries that I would truly love, especially as the number of hours I work is admittedly a bit excessive… I never consider spas or “treatments,” exorbitantly priced clothing or jewelry. And when it comes to travel, I’m more about quality and coziness than anything over-the-top.
For that matter, many of the working (men and) women I know avail themselves of cleaning help, something I do not. My luxury “must-have” in the domestic realm? Exactly. Culinary and nutritional expertise.
Although I love to bake at the holidays, after decades of domestic duty – having to cook rather than wanting to cook – I find myself imagining what it might be like to have someone man the burners, manage portion control, and take care of all the clean-up. I wouldn’t have to think, I wouldn’t have to shop, I wouldn’t have to lift a cooking finger – unless I was in the mood. And I dare say, I would be healthier.
The irony – as a mother – I was always far more attentive to my children’s nutritional needs than I was to my own. Shame on me, but I suspect this is common.
Too Delicious to Be True?
An overseas friend was recently in a rehab center after surgery. Part and parcel of that experience was accommodation of all of her nutritional needs, in a holistic view of what was good for her health and well-being.
So in addition to physical therapy for a knee, she was the beneficiary of a regimen of tasty and healthy meals (and snacks), designed to provide for all of her needs – and also assist in shedding in a few pounds.
She recognized what an opportunity this was – to re-establish excellent eating habits, and pick up new meal preparation tricks.
Wouldn’t it be incredible to have that option – in our “real lives?” Wouldn’t it be easier to stick to a healthy routine? Am I the only woman with a fantasy of a personal chef to whom I could outsource all culinary capers, both beautifully and nutritionally?
And oh, to wake in the morning, not only a little lighter around the middle, but in spirit as well, knowing there would never be dirty dishes that await.
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