Personal Chefs

Related Pages:  Meal Delivery Services ... Caterers

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi, My husband and I are going to be first-time parents. Before the baby's arrival, I am trying to see if we can find someone who can come help cook Indian food for us a couple of times a week. If you have any recommendations that will be greatly appreciated it. Thanks so much! 

    Hi, my husband and I were in the same situation regarding food a couple of years back when we were expecting our first child. Although I have not been able to find a good Indian cook in the Berkeley area, we are very satisfied with the food service Mylapore Express. They cook home style Indian food in bulk and deliver it to your home at a reasonable price. They also have a variety of foods to choose from and different size and delivery options.  You can check their website for details here:

    Hope you get something that works for you!



    Try Shef service.  You can pick from a bunch of Indian chefs and some of them are pretty good.



    Reply now »
  • Hello! Does anyone have recommendations for where to find a chef to cook for the family 1-2 times per week? We're looking for someone who can come to our home and cook a few lunches and dinners for 2 adults and 1 toddler. Is there anything besides Craigslist or Thumbtack? If you know anyone, would love a rec. 

    Eternally grateful for any advice!

    No responses received.

  • Looking for a cook

    (0 replies)

    We are looking for a cook who can come once a week to Berkeley and cook food of either Chinese,Thai, Indian or Mexican types.

    No responses received.

  • Personal chef needed

    (2 replies)

    For busy, health conscious Berkeley family. Would love your refreshed recommendations 

    After 20 years of being the family chef, the pandemic put me over the edge. I threw down my apron, signed up with Elyse Bekins of Vita Kitchen (, and haven't looked back. Elyse isn't *quite* a personal chef--Vita is more of a meal delivery service than a chef who cooks for your family individually--but I think her service would be worth your looking into. Elyse prepares health-conscious, tasty, attractive and varied food, and provides a decent degree of customization. Other benefits to her service: Zero waste, frictionless delivery, and excellent communication. Please tell Elyse I recommended Vita!

    I highly recommend of Chef Ikeena Hardman of Keena's Kitchen.  I have had first-hand experience with her and can vouch that her meals are organic and delicious!  She's creative in the kitchen and listens well to serve her clients' needs.

    Keena's Kitchen

    PH: (510) 842-6849
    Personal Chef Inquiries: personalchef [at]

  • Cook who knows Indian foods

    (1 reply)

    Hi all, I am expecting my second baby in early November and looking for someone to come and cook for us. Someone who is familiar with Indian flavors/spices. Pick up and drop off from Bart can be done by us if needed.

    Just order from Shef!  Tons of sub continent flavors. Delivered to home.  Really yummy - we have stopped going to Indian restaurants as a result! 

    We particularly like Anu S and Wayne X.

  • Looking for Indian cook

    (1 reply)

    Hello! I am looking for someone to come by twice a week to cook Indian food. Would love any recommendations for someone who makes good healthy home-cooked Indian food.Thank you!

    I'm also looking for the same, around 2x/week! Thanks.

  • Hi! We are looking for someone to help out a few times a week with cooking meals and we are hoping to find someone who can cook Indian food. We live in El Cerrito near BART/Bus access and we'd love any recommendations or tips on how to find someone interested in this kind of work. I know this is a strong Tibetan nanny network in the East Bay and I wonder if we could be connected with someone through that network? Appreciate any input! 

    No responses received.

  • Personal chef needed

    (0 replies)

     I'm looking for someone who will come in regularly to cook for a married couple while they recover from surgery. The meals need to be vegetarian, though fish and chicken would be ok. All of the posts about personal chefs are quite old so I'm looking for more current recommendations.Thank you!

    No responses received.

  • Indian Home Chef

    (0 replies)

    Hello! I am looking for someone to come by once a week to cook Indian food- a couple of vegetables, dahl, a curry, chapatis etc. We live in North Oakland and are about a half mile from the Rockridge bart stop. Would love any recommendations for someone who makes good healthy home-cooked Indian food. North or South Indian food, but South Indian is a bonus!

    Thank you!

    No responses received.

  • Looking for Indian/Nepali Cook

    (0 replies)

    I am looking for cook who can come to albany 2 days/week for 3 hrs and cook mostly indian food. 

    No responses received.

  • Vegan Chef / Meals Needed

    (2 replies)

    My husband and I are attempting to follow the Eat to Live Diet (Dr. Fuhrman).  We are seeking a personal chef to prepare meals for either the whole week or part of the week.  We just can't manage to get all of the food ready to grab when we're hungry and the diet is very limited/particular (vegan but does not use any oil, for example).  The chef could cook at our house or drop meals off ....or we could pick them up..... we're flexible and open to other suggestions!  If anyone has a recommendation, it would be greatly appreciated!  We live in Kensington (Amherst Ave.).

    I've worked with Chaya from The Living Vision before. She is a raw food, vegan chef and makes incredible food. If you're looking for somewhere to start, I would start with her. It is worth it. Tell her Lara referred you.

    I recommend Stacey Ellis as a vegan chef. We hired her to cater our holiday party and the food was outstanding, not everyone was vegan and they loved the food. I believe she can even accomodate the use of no oil as you mentioned. Here's her website and contact info:

     stacey [at]

Archived Q&A and Reviews

May 2010

Can anyone recommend a personal chef who can accommodate my restricted diet. I have a whole host of health issues that I am dealing with and the doctor has restricted what I can eat. I am already too busy to cook even without a restricted diet. With restrictions, I'll never manage. Anyone out there in the same boat have a name for a experienced chef who uses organic high quality food and does home deliveries? Starving but Don't Know What to Eat

Sorry about your restriced diet. I have been there recently-I had to do an elimination diet last year. We used the amazing services of Angie Needels. She is amazing, kind and very knowledgable and creative when it comes to restriced diets. Here is her website: Good luck!

Over the years my family has enjoyed the services of Patch Mowery. She's kind, reliable, and of course, an excellent and flexible chef. We planned menus together (over phone or email), and then she shopped and cooked several dishes for my family (and cleaned up!) She knows a lot about diet and health and would be a great resource for any busy person. It was totally worth it! Feel free to email me for any more specific questions. Her phone # is 650-468 5367. Jen

There is a perfect chef for you in the East Bay. Please see Ellen works specifically with people who have dietary restrictions and creates customized meals. I have used her service for 3 years. My family is gluten and dairy free. And we have been very happy. Good luck! A busy family with 2 kids

Personal Chef Alix Wall ( has been recommended on BPN by myself and others, and I know that she has cooked for people with dietary restrictions before. She makes delicious, healthy, mostly vegetarian meals in your home, and she will work with you to deal with any limitations. Check out her website and give her a call: 415-793-9074. Joanne

March 2010

We're biting the bullet and realizing that we need to hire someone to help us with cooking. Does anyone have any updated recommendations for personal chefs? Our family is especially interested in ones with a health and sustainability focus - who prepare meals using whole, seasonal, local, and organic foods (knowledge of the work of Weston A. Price would be wonderful). Is there anyone out there doing this kind of cooking? How much does it cost? Thanks for any leads. Busy Foodie

This might not be quite what you are looking for, but check out Three Stone Hearth, a worker owned cooperative that cooks based on Weston A. Price's teachings. You can order via the internet from a wide array of food each week and either pick up from their kitchen on University Ave. in Berkeley, or have it delivered. Everything I've tried has been delicious. Their website is Lucy

Renee King is a personal chef, and I've eaten meals prepared by Renee. They are absolutely delicious. She is very attuned to her clients' needs and can prepare meals to meet their dietary requirements as well as food preferences. If you would like more information, visit her website at Her phone number is 510-691-8191. Ronna

I strongly recommend Alexandra Wall, better known as the Organic Epicure. Her food is amazing. She is a lovely person as well. Besides cooking for busy families, she also specializes in cooking for new moms. She'll cook fish but not meat. Check her out if you want to eat well, stress less, and have some quality family time over dinner: a happy eater

Try Alix Wall, the Organic Epicure. She makes veggie and fish dishes only (no meat) and uses fresh, local, and organic (you can find her at the Berkeley Bowl most mornings). MS

I, too, would like to recommend Osa Sister. I have never eaten so well since she has started cooking for us on a weekly basis! Her food is hearty yet refined, local, super fresh, diverse and always exciting. She has a discrete, respectful presence when she is cooking in our home. She is very reliable, consistently good each week and she leaves the kitchen spotless with labeled dishes in the fridge that are seasoned to perfection. She provides us with weekly internet forms requesting feedback and is always responsive to our particular needs and requests. My husband and I searched for a personal chef for three years -- we have found our chef in Osa. We HIGHLY recommend her. Osa (510) 725-7892 osadeliciosa [at] K.S.

Michelle ''Osa'' Sister has been cooking for my family for three years, and I have only the most wonderful things to say about her and the food she makes. Truly outstanding, delicious food cooked with love and care - you really FEEL different being so well nourished. I have some health issues I'm dealing with and I also don't like to cook, so Osa is my right hand woman. She has a very sweet demeanor, is thoughtful and understanding, and incredibly hardworking. She always leaves my kitchen cleaner than she finds it! Osa is flexible, creative, and organized. She charges $35 an hour and I think it's worth every penny. Better-than- restaurant quality food, lovingly cooked in your own home. I highly recommend that you give her a call. Osa: 510-725-7892. ellen

I would like to highly recommend Gourmet By The Bay, for a wonderful personal chef ! I have worked with Shoshana Klein and she makes delicious food. She uses sustainable local and organic food, and cooks either vegetarian or not. She takes great care in her work, is diligent, reliable and easy to work with. Also, she works a lot with families and has a lot of experience with both personal chef cooking and catering. She can be reached at: 703-8618. Good Luck... Lauren

I recommend Antonio Capezzuto. His meals are delicious, organic, and healthy! We all (the 4 of us) absolutely love his meals. He offers catering or chef prepared meals. His contact information is Reservations (510) 417-9670 antonio [at] Hope this helps! M

Feb 2010

Looking for someone to cook good, healthy, yummy meals. Better than going out

I highly recommend Osa Sister as a personal chef. She's been cooking for me for the past three years. She specializes in organic, local, seasonal cuisine and can cook any style of food you like, although her favorite style is nutrient-dense omnivore food. She is very reliable, trustworthy, and makes the BEST food I've ever had. Really, gourmet-restaurant quality food, 100% healthy and satisfying. It's made a big difference for our family. You can contact Osa at 510-725-7892 or osadeliciosa [at] You can also contact me directly. Ellen

Rebecca does *great* food. Healthy, super tasty, organic, and catered to your needs. Big one pot meals or fancier multi-dish meals as your budget/taste needs. It's $35/hr plus the food. Her email is rebeccaw [at] Barbara

Rebecca Weinstein is one of the best cooks around the East Bay. She leans towards hearty, peasanty type dishes, especially Italian, and has a knack for inventing her own dishes. A lot of the produce she uses comes from her own organic garden, and she makes yummy preserves and marmalades. She also uses very green practices in the kitchen such as composting and not buying paper towels. She was very accomodating about shopping, delivering, or cooking on site as the occasion required. You can reach her at 510 655 0813. Ingrid

I really love Antonio's cooking. He's made many meals for my family and even my picky eater son loves it. His cooking is very yummy and very authentic Italian cuisine. You can reach Antonio at (510) 417-9670 or email antonio [at] or go to Good luck!

I would like to highly recommend Osa Sister. She cooks for us on a weekly basis and I can honestly say I have never eaten so well. She provides a menu for our approval before arriving at our house to cook. She is discrete, professional, kind-hearted and very talented! She has LOTS of experience with different ways of cooking, and has a diverse 'repertoire'. What she cooks for us are great dishes made form wholesome, local ingredients. The meats and fishes she uses are TOP quality and she seasons her food exquisitely. She also works to caters to our particular needs -- I am a omnivore, my husband a vegetarian. She leaves the kitchen spotless and the refrigerator full of labeled dishes that last us through the week. My husband and I searched for someone to do what Osa does for us for almost three years. We have found our chef in Osa. She's a true gift to anyone she works for. Osa Sister: 510-725-7892, email: osadeliciosa [at] K.S.

Jan 2010

I'm looking for some updated recommendations for a personal chef for my brother who will be moving into a condo in Emeryville shortly and who's in real need of reliable healthy food options. He's got some physical disabilities that make shopping and cooking challenging, and I was hoping to hook him up with someone who could save him from a life of cereal, pizza, and fast food! Sister On A Mission

I would like to recommend a wonderful chef, Shoshana Klein. The name of her business is Gourmet By The Bay Personal Chef Services, centrally located in the East Bay. Her phone # is 510/703.8618. She's easy to work with, an amazing cook and very creative. She's also a fabulous Caterer. I've eaten her food many, many times, and love it. Give her a call... Lauren

I recently hired Lisa at Green Heart Foods to whip up meals for my family one day/week. She comes one day and leaves food for 3 to 5. It's all really clean and delicious; my kids even like it! I've found her prices to be competitive too. She has a website: Check her out! Good luck in finding a fit. Michele

To Sister on a Mission looking for meal options for her brother, I have used a service called One Less Thing. The owner delivers home cooked meals for an extremely reasonable cost. She cooks healthy, comfort food and always has a vegetarian option as well. The food is tasty, creative and fresh. I've had her roast chicken, enchiladas, and meat loaf, all delish. Oh, she bakes pies too if that interests you. She may be willing to cook at your brother's place if that's what you want. You can reach her at szasholin [at]; put One Less Thing in the subject line. Good luck. jennifer

I know there have been many posts, but I have to put in one plug for Eric C. Webster. I've checked around and I cannot say enough about him. He is a top chef from Sonoma County and has not only flexibility to work with dietary needs of families, but of tastes of children. He also has an eye for making the food ''look'' good too. He is also wonderful with kids and extremely personable. At the very least give him a call and see what he can do for you. Check his website. Found the best personal chef

Our family would love to recommend a fantastic personal chef who has been cooking 4-5 dinners/week for us for the last 6 years. Ellen only works with a few families at a time and she has an opening in her schedule right now. We are both full time working parents and putting a dinner on a table for us and our 2 small children has been a breeze. The meals are customized to our liking and made with mostly organic produce and meats. The cost is what we normally spend on groceries for the 4 of us anyway. Ellen specializes in a variety of diets from gluten free to vegan... Check Ellen's website: Paula

Ellen far surpassed our expectations for a personal chef. She not only cooks the most mouth-watering dishes, but she is a vivacious young woman who is a pleasure to be around. One thing I really like about her service is that she creates individual menus for clients each week, always taking into account likes, dislikes, special diets, and so on. Every day I so look forward to eating one of her meals with my family. I wish I could cook like that (and had the time to do so!) I highly recommend Chez Ellen Personal Chef. She can be reached at 510-465-CHEF or ellen [at] Geraldine

2009 Recommendations

August 2009

I'm looking for a personal chef to cook my husband and me healthy, low-calorie meals, preferably 3 meals a day. We've had fresh, prepared meals delivered through a weight-loss service before, but the packaging/storing used was non-recyclable and contributing terribly to landfill. That, along with two kids under 3 and no time to cook healthily for ourselves, has inspired us to investigate the personal chef route. Ideally, we'd love someone who can cook delicious and creative meals BUT who can ALSO help us lose around 10 - 15 lbs of weight each. Some of you have posted recently re: vegetarian personal chefs, but we are definitely meat-eaters, so I thought I'd try to elicit other recommendations that you may have. Approximate cost would be great to know too. Thank you in advance for your help! Lori

I can whole heartedly recommend that you try Green Heart Foods. Lisa is an amazing chef! I have enjoyed a variety of her creations, all simply wonderful. Visit her website for pricing info, services, and a full description of her qualifications and experience. She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in NYC and has additional specialized training in nutrition counseling. While her experience with vegetarian cooking is hilighted, I know she is happy to prepare delicious meat meals. I have also seen first hand how her meal planning and preparation has helped with weight loss. jessica

2008 Recommendations

Oct 2008

I'm really struggling with preparing meals for my busy family and interested to know if anyone has a recommendation for a ''personal chef''. My family has various dietary restrictions, and I want to make sure that whoever is cooking can deal with both vegetarian and meat dishes. We try to eat only high quality, organic nutrient-dense foods. Also, how much does this kind of thing cost? waiting to be fed

I have just the gal for you! Michelle ''Osa'' Sister (yes, that's her name) has been cooking for me (and some friends of mine) for two years now. Her food is just amazing, and she does all the shopping, cooking and cleaning up of your kitchen, leaving you containers of glorious food for you to come home to. She charges $35 an hour. She can make any kind of food: meat, vegetarian, vegan, raw. She is very skilled at tailoring her menus to meet her cliets' very specific needs. She uses local, seasonal and organic ingredients. I can't recommend her highly enough; having her cook for me has had a profound impact on my mental and physical well-being. Feel free to contact me for details. Osa's contact info: osadeliciosa [at] or 510-658-8194

March 2008

We are looking for a more updated reference for a personal chef or meal delivery service in Berkeley. Ideally, we would like to get a regular delivery of healthy prepared meals for a small family, meals which can be frozen and cooked/reheated when we need them. If you know of a good service, we'd appreciate the recommendation! Berkeley Mom

Gourmet by the Bay Personal Chef is great. its owned by Shoshanna Klein, who is very experienced, clean and creative. she uses fresh local and organic produce and will listen to what your needs are. I really enjoyed her food. her number is 510-703-8618 and e-mail is gourmetbythebay at tali

We have been using a wonderful personal chef for almost 3 years now. It all started when my morning sickness prevented me from being able to be anywhere near food and was only meant to be a temporary solution. But Patricia (aka Patch) is so perfect for our family and so flexible and willing to accomodate our needs as they have changed, that we have kept her on. Currently, she comes to us one night a week to cook us a delicious dinner in our home AND does all the clean up so that we can actually sit and enjoy our children and eachother. We all look forward to the ''Patch Night'' and the kids get in on the fun of picking the dinner menu each week. She has also in the past done prepared meals for us and can stock up a fridge or freezer as the need may be. She cooks in your kitchen or hers, your choice. She shops at the Berkeley Bowl and goes for seasonal fresh menu choices. She has an extensive repertoire of recipes that she lets you select from. Her rates are very reasonable and she does all the shopping and is also willing to pick up extra grocery items if you need them. She is like family to us and when she's here it is really just like her business motto, ''mom's in the kitchen''. I cannot recommend her highly enough. Her email is patchcooks at rebecca

Feb 2008

I've reached a point of being too busy with my job and family duties, and I'm ready to outsource the dinner cooking so I can relax a little more. Can anyone recommend a personal chef in the Berkeley/North Oakland area who specializes in vegetarian cuisine? I'd prefer the person to be able to make a wide variety of dishes, and maybe even get us eating more seasonally (and locally). I'd like someone who can make healthy food but also comfort dishes, can make stuff for adult palates and kid palates... Thanks in advance for helping me find someone. Tired and Hungry

Lexa Walsh is a great cook, a vegetarian, and has a lot of experience with personal chef-ing. She's an artist and musician and does a lot of cooking and catering jobs to earn extra money. She's a friend of mine and I have eaten so many amazing meals over the years of knowing her I can't count them! I think she can cook just about anything, even meat, and she's used to cooking for familes. She can be reached at 510.282.6311 or toychestra at corey

Great personal chef. Focuses on healthy AND yummy. Tony Baczewski Catered Productions 121 Maiden Lane Oakland, CA 94602 510-482-0634 email: cateredproductions at - FoodieMom

I hear ya! When my daughter was born 10 months ago, we decided to outsource the cooking, too, since we did not have family in the area to help out. We also have a 4-year-old.

We googled in ''vegetarian personal chefs in Berkeley'' -- we are vegetarians -- and had the pleasure of meeting and hiring Deb Janes of Garden Gourmet ( Deb would come to our home once a week to do all the food shopping -- she made it a point to buy only seasonal and organic food -- and cook in our kitchen three meals, which would last us up to six days (lunch AND dinner). A typical menu was rich in flavor and diverse in foods across the world: for example, mushroom and cheese enchiladas with a side dish of tortilla soup, a crustless spinakopita with a Greek salad and an Indian dish and side dish. Not only were the meals delicious and we looked forward to them every Monday, but they were way healthier than anything we could have eaten at a restaurant or even I had time to cook up at home. My husband and I used to comment how different Deb's Indian food tasted since it did not have as much oil as the restaurants use. She charged us $250 a week, plus ingredients. We typically paid around $300 a week. Please note that you can always use the service for a short amount of time -- like we did -- or use it to supplement your own cooking like once or twice a month. Trust me, it is a HUGE help! Deb, by the way, can be reached at deb at or 510-985-1065. Hope this helps! Elisa

I would highly recommend Alix Wall. She has her own personal chef business, the Organic Epicure ( 415-793-9074) and makes delicious, healthy vegetarian and fish dishes (or all veg if that's what you prefer). I shopped around a bit when I was looking for someone to cook for my family, and found Alix to be competitively priced as well. She's cooked for us for several months now and we've liked everything she's prepared - I don't think she's even made the same thing twice yet! We have a 1 yr old and 3.5 yr old who also like her food. Alix does a wonderful job of incorporating the veggies from our weekly CSA box and is very responsive to our needs. Feel free to contact me (or Alix, of course) if you want more details. Kara

Alexandra Wall is a wonderful personal chef. she specializes in veggiterian, organic, localy produced seasonal dishes made with lots of care and inovation. she makes a very wide veriaty of dishes from the gormet to the common, daily, comfort foods. a couple of months back, i did some siding work for her and agreed to get part of the compensation in her prepared meals- it was wonderfull! i'm a man who really enjoys fine food and i was blown away by the quality and tastiness of her cooking. i highly recommend her as a personal chef. here's Alix's info: email- alix at website- bon apetit! idan

I was in a very similar situation and ended up hiring Deb Janes of Garden Gourmet Chef as my personal chef (we are a vegetarian family). Her cooking is SO GOOD, and she is just the loveliest person to have around. Cost-wise, though it seemed expensive at first, it's made such a difference to my mental health that I think having Deb is a great deal. What a relief to not have to cook dinner every night, and to know that we are all nourished with the best quality foods available! You can reach her at 510-985-1065, or deb at A happy customer

Jan 2008

With one young kid and another on the way, I'm considering a meal prep or personal chef service. I'm interested in current recommendations. Also, I like the idea of organic, healthy and not more than $800-$1000 per month for 4-6 meals a week. Is this realistic? need help with food!

Great chef, great guy, healthy, GREAT food: Tony Baczewski (pronounced ba-CHEF-ski) Catered Productions 121 Maiden Lane Oakland, CA 94602 510-482-0634 - Laura

Your parameters are do-able, but, I would think, barely. Let's say you are asking for 20 meals a month. They would be $40 per meal, which in a restaurant would be fairly typical, unless tacqueria or fast food. However, if you are a family of (almost) 4, and it takes an hour to prepare the meal, that would be from $5-7 per person, with $15-20 for the chef, not much by pro chef standards, especially including delivery. This is compounded by the organic food request; as you know, organics are still considerably more expensive. I don't know how much meat/fish you eat, but that number starts to get less realistic with animal protein, especially organic. Kim

My friend Shoshana Klein is a caterer and personal chef. She focuses on healthy, organic cooking. I have been to parties she has catered and the food was great. Her food is simple, clean and delicious. You can contact her at: shoshanaklein at

I've recommended her before, but she's not listed in the archives... Alix Wall ( is a great, local (N. Oakland), personal chef with a winning personality and fabulous food. She cookes mainly vegetarian (with some fish dishes), uses organic ingredients, and really cares about providing nutritious meals. Oh, and she ''specializes'' in preparing foods for new moms. She has cooked for me numerous times and it's always delicious. Check out her website, email her at alix at, or give her a call: 415-793-9074. Joanne

Editor Note: Also recommended: Meal Prepation Services

2007 Recommendations

Oct 2007

Hello, I am looking for a recommendation for a personal chef. We just had a baby and are in desperate need of healthy and tasty meals. Delivery is ok. Looking for a gourmet chef only. Thanks! Katie

Hello, I can highly recommend chef Ellen Doren (Chez Ellen Personal Chef Services). She does everything from preparing meals in my home to catering my dinner parties. I feel so lucky to have her services--she seems to be in great demand these days. She takes great pride in what she does. She puts a lot of time not only into hand-selecting the best local and organic ingredients, but also in preparing personalized and inventive menus for our family each week. Even my kids love what she cooks! What's more, Ellen is very personable and pleasant and trustworthy. I wish I could cook like her, but I have neither the skill or the time. Her phone is 510-428-CHEF. Megan R.

Hi, I would like to recommend Ellen Doren. I am not sure if she currently has openings for new clients. My family loves Ellen's cooking. Most of the time she delivers for us because we are remodeling our house. We are a gluten- and dairy-free family and she still is able to cook gourmet meals with the freshest ingredients. We were on the waiting list for a while and now very lucky to have her cook for us. It is definitely worth every penny. And it is more affordable then one might think. Jen M

March 2007

I am about to have a baby -- my second child. Because I am the family cook -- and I don't have extended family nearby to help -- I was hoping to hire someone temporarily. It could be a group service, in which this person drops off meals to my family and then goes to other households. There is one caveat: We are vegetarians, although we do eat eggs and dairy. What would such a service cost? Any recommendations? Elisa

When I had my second baby, we used Sandy Der from Tao de Kitchen, and were really pleased. Her website has pricing listed (we did something like her one- dish option that you'll see there, and that definitely made it more affordable). We are vegetarians, and she had some really great vegetarian choices for us. Very thoughtful, creative and hearty, not just a meat-eaters version of a meatless dinner. Anne

I have exactly the person you want to talk to. His name is Philip Gelb, and he is a vegetarian Personal Chef. He's a friend of mine, and I've had dinner at his home, and he does amazing things with food. You can call him at 452-2568, email phil at, or visit his website: David

Phil Gelb is an incredible vegan chef. He even makes his own tofu and soymilk! He is mostly into making Japanese and Medeteranian food but will cook whatever you want him too. Every meal he has cooked for me has been an incredible treat. I always feel healthy and satisfied after eating his food. Check him out at stacia

My good friend, Alix Wall, is a fabulous cook who is starting up her personal chef business in the East Bay. While she specializes in meals for new moms, her food would be great for any vegetarian family (or couple), and she will also cook fish on request. She recently completed the natural chef training program at Bauman College in Berkeley. When I had a baby eight months ago, Alix brought us healthy and delicious food that included ratatouille with garbanzos, polenta squares, and a seasonal fruit dessert. There was a lot of food, but it kept well in the refrigerator for a few days. The name of her business is The Organic Epicure, and you can reach her at alix at or at (415) 793-9074. Joanne

2004 - 2006 Recommendations

Sept 2006

Deb Janes is a personal chef who cooks the MOST delicious vegetarian food for busy families. Her business is called Garden Gourmet Chef. She will shop for you, buy the best organic ingredients, come to your house to cook, fill your fridge with as many meals as you like, and then clean your kitchen so it looks like nothing ever happened! I think her prices are very reasonable. Deb's culinary skills are topped only by her wonderful personality. I highly recommend her services for anyone struggling with how to eat healthy while juggling work and family. She has helped my family tremendously. Check out her website! Ellen

March 2006

Personal Chef for SF Family

I would like to find a personal chef (or person knowledgeable in cooking) for a family of four, who could come to my house in the Berkeley Hills and help me design an easy, healthy meal plan for my family (two twin boys age 2), and help me learn how to cook the meals easily. Thanks.

We recently had our second baby and my parents hired a personal chef for us for a month. Her name is Jen Aquino and her operation is called ''The Joy of Not Cooking''. She has an extensive 13 page menu and her food is fabulous. She prepares food for you once a week and you can have her cook at your house or deliver. I'm not sure if she's interested in teaching, but you can always ask. She's incredibly pleasant to work with.

June 2004

Re: Organic/Vegetarian meal delivery service
Hope I'm not out of line to recommend my husband's business, but I am a frequent and lucky consumer of his healthful and organic cooking - his business is the Pedaling Gourmet. His is technically a personal chef business, rather than meal delivery; however, incase you have trouble finding organic/vegetarian delivery options, please check out his website at Esther

April 2004

Personal Chef for SF Family

Hello, I was hoping that I could get some recommendations for ''personal chefs'' who can come into our home in San Francisco and cook our meal for the night, including several other meals we can either keep in the refrigerator or freezer. I have read what has been listed but was hoping I could get more recent recommendations. I have a friend who has this in NY and with their busy/crazy schedule, it's added so much to their life! I would like to find someone who cooks very healthy(not over the top healthy though), but of course very YUMMY. Additionally, someone who is fairly reasonably priced would be an added bonus. Thank you so much and I look forward to hearing of any referrals- Linn

Four Star Private Chefs ( or Town and Country ( are both agencies that could help match you with an appropriate person. Rebecca

Erica Long is a personal chef in San Francisco. Her number is (415) 753-6176. She catered some office parties for us and did a great job and has also cooked for us on occasion. She's very nice, flexible and happy to work with your nutritional needs. I know she can either cook at your house or deliver meals to you (you talk about the menu and number of servings and whether you'll be freezing some.) Any questions feel free to email. Tell her Marissa referred you.

I would like to recommend Chez Ellen Personal Chef Services. Ellen is a fantastic chef, she totally understood what I was looking for. She designs a personal menu for me each week and sends it to me for my review. I really look forward to her meals each day because between my job and the kids I have no time to cook a delicious, nutritious and dare I say it -- gourmet -- meal each night. Ellen really delivers. She can be reached at 510-428-CHEF. katie

More Recommendations

July 2003

I am writing on behaf of my high school friend who has started her own business, ''The Joy of Not Cooking'', as a personal chef. She prepares wonderful food, has years of experience and is sweet, enthusiastic and dependable. Jenny is a trained personal chef who prepares multiple meals at one time for families who do not have much time to do it for themselves and who would enjoy a good home cooked meal. Only the freshest, hand selected ingredients are used. For more information, check out her web site ''JoyofNotCooking.Net'' or call her at 510-388-0643. Leah

April 2003

I'd like to recommend my talented friend Leslie Perlman who both teaches piano and cooks professionally. Cece
Here's her info:

Personal Chef 'The Colors of Dinner' I have been cooking professionally for many years, both privately and at a well known Berkeley restaurant. I will prepare and deliver delicious, seasonal and healthful food to your home. I am also available for small parties. Leslie 510-524-3858

Feb. 2003

Has anyone ever tried Jessie et Laurent or Jennifer Knapp as a home chef/ home food delivery service? Are there other great alternatives in the Berkeley area that provide healthy, tasty and affordable food to a family preparing for the arrival of multiples? Any hints welcome. Isabelle

We've used Jessie et Laurent for extended periods, on and off for many years and they are terrific. The food is lovely, the ordering easy online weekly, and it is totally consistent and dependable. Do look at their website menus and see if the food fits your eating style and tastes. A personal chef is also a great option also and I recommend you look at the American Personal Chef's Association listings and check out the different chef websites. I have not used Jennifer Knappe but I've heard she's very good. You'll have more flexibility and highly personalized food with your own chef. We were thrilled with J, and I loved the quick delivery, no mess, easy ordering. Plus, some things freeze well for later use. Debby

I would like to recommend Lori Mazon as a home chef. She cooked for us when we had our first and second child. Her meals are delicious and plentiful enough that we made it last a few days which helped out so much. Her number is 925-685-2498 and her email address is culinary_capers AT Enjoy! angela

I highly recommend Oakland personal chef Nancye Benson. 510.459.7480 We used her pesonal chef services when we had our son and it was the most enjoyable and intelligent thing I could have ever done to make my life easier. I felt so much healthier and less frazzled becuase I always had something good and healthy ready to go in the fridge. I liked the things she made, she worked with us on my special diet which involved no dairy and I still remember all the things she made us! - ready for us to put in the oven and cook and sometimes just heat and serve. She is currently working with clients that eat all Organic, gluten free diets so I know she can do anyting you want. And her little touches are supurb, better than other of these ''services''. I'm not sure of her pricing now but when we used her she was compeditive with others and I liked her style a lot. try Best wishes, Hadley

Chris Becker, of the Pedaling Gourmet, is a personal chef who has cooked for me a number of times. Prior to becoming a personal chef, he worked at Boulevard Restaurant, Paula Leduc Catering and the Four Seasons in New York. Chris is an athlete who focuses on healthy fare featuring seasonal, organic ingredients and creative menus. The food is so delicious you would never know it's also good for you, I promise! I suggest you try his service. Here is his website -

Sorry for the late response, but I just saw the post. I have used Jessie et Laurent and found their food to be excellent. They are also very friendly and helpful. But you basically have to order from what they have available for the week, although they will work with you on special dietary needs.

On the other hand, I have been using a wonderful personal chef for over a year. Her name is Ellen Doren, and she is a member of this group. Her business is Chez Ellen and she does catering as well as meal preparation. For her personal chef service, she will meet with you to discuss your dietary needs and likes and dislikes. Then she prepares menus for your approval. She comes to your home and prepares the meals at whatever interval you work out -- for us she comes every other week and makes 6 meals, three for the fridge and three for the freezer. That way we have almost half our dinners taken care of. We started using Ellen when I was 6 months pregnant and my husband tore his Achilles tendon so we were a pretty low-functioning pair. But we continue to use her because with two kids and two working parents, getting a meal on the table every day is no easy task! Ellen's email is chez_ellen at Good luck! Stephanie

Nov 2001

Re: Meals for L.A. Friend
In reply to LA-area meal delivery service, I have a good suggestion. Check out the following website: