Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I have to sign up for regular appointments, or can I just call you when I need you?
I don’t make it necessary to sign up for my services long term, however because I am the owner and the chef of The Organic Personal Chef, my schedule fills up very quickly. I encourage you to make a regular schedule so you will not have your food service interrupted. Usually after the first service, you will have a good idea how often you will want The Organic Personal Chef to cook for your family whether it’s weekly or bi-weekly. If you want me “On Call” please schedule at least two weeks in advance.
- I like to cook myself but I don’t have the time to cook every day. I just need a couple nights of food per week, can you do this?
Yes, my services are designed to feed a family of four for a week, if your needs are smaller it will just take you longer to consume your meals.
- Do you freeze all the meals?
Not necessarily, the majority of your meals will be frozen, however I typically store one or two dinners in your refrigerator that will consumed soonest. Your meals are frozen in a way that locks in their flavor and when heated will taste as if they were freshly made.
- What is included in your service fee?
Our service fee covers the menu planning, shopping for groceries, pantry items, food preparation, packaging, labeling and clean-up materials.
- How much room for the meals do you need in my refrigerator and freezer?
Depending on your freezer size, I will need enough space to fit all of your meals. Usually after our initial meeting we will be able to figure out approximately how much room I will need.
- Do I need to be home when you’re cooking?
No, actually most of my clients are not home while I am cooking. During our initial interview, we can make arrangements. My clients either give me keys and an alarm code, have a housekeeper let me in or have me come in through your garage. Our relationship is built on trust, I will treat your home with respect and keep all of your information in the strictest confidence.
- Do you offer gift certificates?
Yes, I offer gift certificates for most of my services. There is nothing better than good food and sharing it with the one you love.
- What is your schedule like?
My schedule varies monthly with regular clients, dinner parties and cooking classes. Please call me to coordinate a service that fits your schedule.
- We’re hosting a party and we don’t have enough dinnerware, flatware, glassware, serving ware, napkins and linens. Can you provide those?
Yes, I can provide dinnerware and flatware for a moderate fee; I can arrange rentals for any additional necessities like glassware, linens, tents, tables and chairs. For buffet style dinners, I can provide chafing dishes, serving stations and platters for a moderate fee. The success of your party is my mission.
- Do you provide the wine, beer or liquors?
Absolutely not. My business license does not allow me to purchase wine, beer or liquor on your behalf. I would be glad to make suggestions for wine pairings, themed cocktails and beer.
- Do you handle all the after party clean-up?
Yes. My staff will provide a complete party service.
- How large of a party can The Organic Personal Chef administer? Do you employ a staff or do you handle everything yourself?
My limit is generally less than thirty, but I have served larger parties from time to time. Depending on the size of the event, I will make recommendations on the size of staff needed. For smaller dinner parties, I bring one assistant that will help me shop, prepare, cook and clean-up for your party. For larger parties, additional staff will be required. Although I do not employ a staff, I do have additional professionals that share my standard of quality that I rely on for elegant parties. Service staff will be billed separately and paid directly by you the day of your event.
- Are your cooking classes hands-on or cooking demonstrations?
I offer both, depending on the level of interactivity you desire, the size of your kitchen and the amount of guests you invite. I can give a complete demonstration and show you how everything is prepared or it can be hand-on as much as you want. My cooking classes are fun, informative and completely customized to the kind of experience you would like to have.
- What is the minimum and maximum number of people that can attend a cooking class?
There is no minimum for a cooking class. I can teach you privately or with one or more of your friends. The maximum is limited to the size of your kitchen and counter space. A hands-on cooking class requires enough space to stand in front of a set-up (cutting board, knife and bowl).
- Do you provide everything we need a cooking class?
Yes, I provide everything that will be needed. All necessary items will be included in your final price.
- Will we just nibble or will we get to enjoy a full meal?
You are going to eat well. There is going to be plenty of great food. You will have a few nibbles as we prepare the meal and then you will sit down to the feast that you have created. Your guests will be smiling, laughing, having a good time and eating like queens.
- My kitchen is not too big; can you still teach the cooking class?
I have demonstrated cooking classes in very tight kitchens in New York City. Call me and schedule an in-house consultation. We will discuss your vision and I will have an opportunity to determine what we can do in your space. In most cases, we will find a good solution for your cooking class party.
- What kind of food can you demonstrate?
Everything is customized to my client’s tastes, restrictions and needs. I am comfortable demonstrating a variety of cuisines including Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Vegetarian, Comfort foods, Moroccan, Middle Eastern and more. Your program can be serious and in-depth or simple and easy. All you have to do is be prepared for a good time.
- Can you cook my family’s favorite recipes?
Certainly. Requests are always welcome, I can prepare just about any recipe to your specific tastes, restrictions and needs. Some recipes do not freeze well, I will
- Where do you cook our meals?
All meals are prepared in the comfort and safety of your home. On your scheduled cook date, I’ll arrive at your home with all the groceries. I bring all the pots, pans and utensils I will need to prepare your meals. I wash all the produce thoroughly, prepare everything and cook your meals in your kitchen. I then label, package your meals in Pyrex containers and store them in your refrigerator and freezer.
- Can you deliver our meals to my home?
No. It is illegal to cook food in my kitchen for commercial purposes. Although renting space in a commercial kitchen is in the future, The Organic Personal Chef cannot deliver meals to your home.
- Why organic? Why locally grown?
Plain and simple, the food just tastes better. Conventionally grown produce is breed to travel thousands of miles and not get bruised. Conventionally grown produce is picked before it has reached its peak ripeness and refrigerated to travel long distances. The produce I buy at local Green Markets is farm fresh, harvested hours before it reaches your plate instead of weeks. The vegetables are colorful, vibrant and full of flavor. The fruit is crisp, naturally sweet and tasty. You will love your food and you will start feeling better.
- Does the food taste fresh?
Yes, everything I prepare starts with the freshest ingredients, shopped for that day. You will be surprised how much you will enjoy your meal. I cook, cool and package your meal using methods that capture the freshness. When you follow the heating instructions, your meals will taste like they were just cooked. For the ultimate fresh meals, consider our Fresh Serve Meal Service.
- What kind of side dishes do you prepare?
I plan side dishes that are complimentary to your entrée and provide you with a variety of tastes, textures and colors. Your side dishes incorporate produce that is in-season and at its peak of flavor.
- How long will the food last in the freezer?
Typically all meals can last several months in your freezer. We have found that our clients consume all their meals within one or two weeks.
- What kind of food containers do you use?
As a green chef, I encourage all of my clients to use Pyrex sets to reduce waste. Pyrex can withstand go from the freezer to the refrigerator to the oven or microwave and right to the table to serve. For some clients, I use restaurant grade recyclable plastic containers. To prevent plastic chemicals from leaching into your meals, I recommend heating in Corning ware or Pyrex. I do not recommend heating or cooking in plastic.
- We enjoy food. Do your clients get tired of eating the same dishes?
By rule of thumb, I do not repeat menu selections for a year unless you specifically request them. I do have clients that request a specific entrée every week, but for the most part you will not see the same dish.
- Do I have to be home while you cook?
No, most of my clients give me their key and their security code. When the arrive home hungry from a hard day of work and chores to a wonderful smelling home, a clean kitchen and a wonderful meal ready to be heated and eaten.
- I’m not comfortable having a stranger cook in my home. How can I trust you?
Trust is a cornerstone of my business. I am licensed and insured. I have run a reputable business for over ten years and I have developed a list of references of previous and current clients that I can provide you. Choosing a chef to cook for your family is personal and I want to make you feel comfortable.
- Are you licensed and insured?
Yes, I am licensed by Nassau County to run my business and I am insured to three million dollars. I am also FoodSafe certified and comply with all local laws.
- How long will you be in my kitchen?
Time preparing meals varies depending on the menu I will be preparing that day between six to eight hours.
- Can I watch you cook?
In order for me to be efficient and quick, I prefer to cook alone. Preparing several entrées and side dishes requires concentration and timing, distractions can increase the chance of mistakes. I do offer a cooking class service for those wanting to learn how to cook.
- I want someone to cook for me every day. Does The Organic Personal Chef have that service?
I do not offer a private chef service however I have found my clients enjoy our regular personal chef services for even the most demanding families. For the ultimate fresh meals, consider our Fresh Serve Meal Service.
- What kind of food do you cook?
Everything is customized to my client’s tastes, restrictions and needs. I am comfortable cooking a variety of cuisines including Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Vegetarian, Comfort foods, Moroccan, Middle Eastern and more. I specialize making healthy alternatives to traditional unhealthy meals. I make exceptional fish, chicken and turkey dishes.
- Do you provide everything we need a cooking lessons?
My goal is to teach you to cook in your own kitchen, to prepare meals you can prepare for your family. I have found the best way to teach you is, on your own stove with your own pots, pans and utensils. I’d be glad to use mine and make recommendations that would make your experience better.
- What is a Personal Chef?
The term “Personal Chef” means different things to different people. Our personal chef service will travel to the home of our client and cook tasty, nutritious meals to ease the burden of busy people faced with the stress of running a household or conducting a business. We provide the convenience of menu creation, grocery shopping, meal preparation, storage with complete reheating instructions, and kitchen clean-up.
- What kinds of people use a Personal Chef?
We have a wide variety of clients, from a professional athlete trying to maintain his weight to busy professionals that enjoy gourmet meals to an elder couple sticking to new health requirements. We provide multiple meals that are customized to our client’s particular dietary requests and requirements. The one thing our clients have in common is the need for healthy meals without having to compromise taste.
- What makes Chef Vanda’s services different?
The Organic Personal Chef answers the nagging question “What’s for dinner?” Chef Vanda will listen to your likes and dislikes, and then by offering the convenience of menu creation, grocery shopping, meal preparation, storage with complete reheating instructions, and kitchen clean-up, you will wonder how you ever got by without her.
- How does Chef Vanda Personal Chef Services work?
Chef Vanda will create a suggested Menu based on input from client questionnaire. Client approves menu with any special requests or changes. Once menu is approved a cooking date is set. From then on all you have to do is sit back and Chef Vanda will take care of the rest.
- What are your clients like?
Most of my clients are people who care about the food they are feeding their family. They are professionals from the upper middle class but they are not super wealthy. The very wealthy would have a private chef.
My clients are usually too busy to shop, plan and prepare the kinds of meals they would like to serve their family. Many of my clients also have special dietary needs – heart healthy, weight maintenance, lactose or gluten free.
- Where will the meals be prepared?
All meals will be prepared in the safety of your own kitchen. On the agreed upon cooking date Chef Vanda will bring fresh shopped for that day ingredients and her own necessary equipment. Cook, package, store, and leave your kitchen spotless and full of great aromas. As if you would have done it yourself and all you have to do is enjoy the array of new flavors from around the world.
- How long will you be in my kitchen?
Depending upon the agreed service, several entrees and appropriate side dishes will be prepared fresh, which will take, an average of six to eight hours.
- Where will you shop?
Chef Vanda loves to grocery shop! She constantly compares quality and prices at the best grocery stores of Long Island, Westchester and the Metro New York City area. If you have a favorite, she is willing to shop there!
Chef Vanda loves to support the local Green Markets because of the availability of fresh organic produce, humanely-treated meats and poultry.
Namaste, Chef Vanda