How to Hire a Personal Chef for Only $25

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(Photo: Molly Gallagher for Well+Good)

It’s not every day that a chef walks into your apartment to cook you a meal (unless you’re Gwyneth Paltrow). So when Chef James Ramirez arrived at my New York City apartment to cook dinner I welcomed him—and the wild salmon he came bearing—with open arms.

Kitchensurfing, the site that lets you find and book chefs to come cook in your home (which has been around for a few years), just launched a weeknight dinner service in Manhattan, where mostly healthy, locally-sourced, and organic meals are prepared by a personal chef in your home—for only $25 per person.

The concept of hiring a personal chef to come to your home and cook you dinner isn’t new. But hiring a personal chef for this price—and being able to book the service using a super-easy app (like an OpenTable reservation for your own home), definitely is.

We (happily) tested it out—and here’s what you need to know.

Chef James Ramirez cooking dinner in my apartment and a screenshot of the Kitchensurfing app. (Photos: Molly Gallagher for Well+Good; Kitchensurfing)

The menu
I selected Mustard-Crusted Salmon Filet (dusted with bread crumbs and Dijon), Creamy Lentils (made with diced red bell peppers, carrots, and a touch of cream), and Roasted Root Vegetables with a Sherry-Maple Gastrique.

There are three choices offered every day—and typically one vegan or vegetarian option. The salmon was wild Scottish and the produce is mostly organic and local, says Ramirez. He used olive oil (which he brought) and seasoned with salt (from my kitchen).

When you book, you can indicate dietary restrictions, like if you’re trying to limit your oil intake or absolutely hate the taste of garlic, say. But they can’t accommodate bigger requests like swapping tempeh for salmon.

kitchensurfing-salmon-personal chef
(Photo: Molly Gallagher for Well+Good)

The experience
Ramirez arrived with an insulated backpack and (almost) all the necessary cooking tools—including a pan, cutting board, and spatula. There was very little clean up because he did it all—and if you’re an absolute clean freak like me (no, really my place is filled with about 50 of these cleaning products), this will make you very happy. I still had to do a little tidying, like cleaning up crumbs on the floor, but washing two plates and forks instead of lots of pots and pants was very nice (more time for Scandal).

He didn’t ask me which trash can was for recycling and which one was for trash, so it all got mixed together. It would have been nice if we talked about that upfront. But hey, he was a stranger in a strange kitchen.

How to book it
Just like your favorite spin class, there are a few booking rules you’ll have to get used to. On Friday at 3:00 p.m., reservations for the upcoming week open up, and you can book same-day meals until 3:00 p.m. The minimum number is two people and the max is six.

One annoying factor was that my chef arrived 25 minutes late. He called me around 6:10 p.m. to let me know that he would be running late (he was scheduled to arrive at 6:00 p.m.). Kitchensurfing says this isn’t typical.

At the end of the day, though, a chef cooked dinner in my apartment while I Instagrammed the pretty plating and didn't have to do an ounce of cooking, so these are minor blips compared to the overall (yummy) experience. —Molly Gallagher

For more information visit and download the app


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