Personal Chef Service

FAQs

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Here are some of the questions clients ask when booking their special occasions. If you have a question that is not listed here, please feel free to connect with us using our Contact Page. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have about our services.

What is a personal Chef?

A personal chef is a chef who is hired by different clients and prepares meals in the clients' home kitchens, based on their needs and preferences. The personal chef will create a customized meal plan, shop for all groceries, prepare the meal, and clean up the kitchen after cooking. The chef typically leaves a week's worth of prepared meals packaged in containers for the client to store in the refrigerator or freezer to enjoy later. Personal chefs also focus on preparing dinner parties and other special events, like birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers, bachelorette parties and weddings--which means they are responsible for shopping, coordinating service and bar staffing, preparing the meal, serving the guests and delegating cleaning up afterward. The menu is often pre-planned, discussed with the client, then prepared in their home.

What are personal meals?

Personal meals are meals are meals that are prepared and packaged in containers for clients to store in the refrigerator or freezer to enjoy at a later time. The chef customizes a meal plan for the week based on dietary goals and then shops, prepares the meals, on one scheduled day of the week (in the client's home or office kitchen), stores the meals and cleans up afterwards.

Where will the meals be prepared?

Meals are prepared in your home kitchen for private dinner parties, private cooking lessons (individually or as a social gathering) or weekly personal meal service. We also offer plated dinner service for you and your sweetheart/s or simply as a treat for yourself to jump-start a new change in diet and try out a few ideas.

Please note that a consultation and visit to your kitchen is advised to assess if the service can be done from your kitchen. Situations where there is not enough work space, utensils or cookware are considered when the assessment is made and alternative options are given. We can also consult with you in how and where to shop in order to replace unhealthy items in your pantry, freezer and fridge so that you can fully exercise what you’ve learned in demonstrations and classes taken.

What are long and short term placements?

When you hire a personal chef for an extended period of time (30+ days) such as daily/nightly home service or extended travel, that is a long term placement. When you hire a chef for a shorter period of time (21 days or less), such as a vacation rental stay in a new city or short hospital stay, that is a short-term placement. The cost for these placements are negotiated by the chef and usually includes the chef's travel expenses, room and board (if needed), time or labor and food costs. It is typical for the kitchen space in which the chef will be working to have all the necessary equipment, cookware and dining wares needed to prepare the meals required. Service can include 3 meals a day plus a few snacks--or can vary to include breakfast and dinner only--depending on the clients needs.

Can you make Soul Food Healthy?

One of the most common misconceptions about Soul Food is that all Soul Food is unhealthy. The truth is that Soul Food arose out of the necessity for the people of the African Diaspora to prepare new foods from a new land. Seeds from the rich, soil of the East were brought to the Americas to grow fruits and vegetables and people of the African Diaspora cultivated the land developing a very close and instinctive relationship to the foods that were here before their arrival. This combination of knowledge of the various types of produce made for a very sustainable cuisine that was entirely organic.

That said, the diet of those of that time was one that was well rounded and not inclusive of much meat at all. The influence of both indigenous American and Euro cultures changed the basic framework and incorporated foods such as meat, corn, wheat and dairy yielding an integration. Dishes from African American cuisine that were beloved because of their relation to religious holidays somehow made an impression and have been represented as an entire cuisine. However, those rich and fatty dishes traditionally were eaten just before fasting periods and on special occasions--not an everyday occurrence. Keena’s Kitchen grants you a look, well...a taste, into the everyday diets of Soul Food lovers all over the globe.

The trick is not to ‘make” soul food healthy, but to return to it's basic preparation; before the introduction of hormones, pesticides and other toxins into our food sources. Foods grown during that era were typically fresh and animal meats were sustainable; reared without growth aides or harmful antibiotics. There was also an absence of "fast food" and packaged processed foods. At Keena's Kitchen, we seek to revive these more traditional approaches get back to basics!

Is Keena’s California Soul Cuisine™ Fresh?

Yes! Foods that we prepare are obtained at farmers markets, specialty food stores such as Berkeley Bowl, Market Hall, The Food Mill and sometimes direct from local community gardens. Meats are obtained from some of the same organic sources such as Petaluma Poultry, Prather Ranch and Liberty Duck. Because of the ever challenging state of beef and so many un-targetable and inhumane practices, you will not see many beef dishes on our menus--when you do, you'll know that it is special and sourced with great care. Chef Ikeena grew up eating a lot of wild game, and so Keena’s California Soul Cuisine™ is a direct reflection of that influence. We also acquire some of the most luxurious spices in the world (both locally and from over seas) during our travels. So indeed, the food is very fresh and always made from scratch!

Can you work with my limited diet?

Because each person’s body is different and we all require attention and sensitivity to those differences, Keena’s Kitchen will only take on clients that can commit to a free consultation to discuss dietary needs. We have worked with people diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and a myriad of allergies/sensitivities to certain foods.

As we believe in the promotion of healing our communities through sharing food, we are sensitive to those who struggle with ailments triggered by foods and take a great amount of care in preparing meals that are smart and chosen on the basis of what a client’s body will process well. We even, in some instances, partner with holistic practitioners to make sure the best outcome is achieved when cooking for those whose diets can be a challenge.

Can you make low sodium and low sugar dishes tasty?

Our aim is to offer an alternative to the average diet. Our collective palate is changing and as we awake to the idea of eating better we re-train our minds as what “tasty” is and can be. Will there be loads of sugar and salty snack foods processed until there is no nutritional value left in them at all? The answer is, a resounding NO. What there will be, are vegetables that taste exactly how they should taste…fresh and amazingly like themselves. Unique combinations of fruits and greens as well as some vegetables that get a bad rap, like Brussels sprouts, beet root (beets) and Okra. You’ll have your choice of these prepared with love and interesting styles that carry traditional Pan African undertones…and you’ll love them!

How far in advance do I need to call you to book an event?

Please book large scale gatherings and special events (30 persons or more) 3-4 months in advance as we are usually booked throughout the year. We ask that you give yet more time (about 6 months) in advance during the height of the busy season—early November through late January.

For smaller events (25 persons or less) and bookings for “dinner for two”, small family dinners or nutrition based personal meals, please give at least three weeks in advance to prepare customized menus and work with your dietary restrictions if needed.

How long does meal preparation take?

Meal preparation can take anywhere from 4 hours to 7 hours depending on the type of service a client has booked. The method used for all preparations is the “slow food” method, returning the tradition of bringing the garden to the plate. This means that great consideration and care is given to each meal and the entire process, inclusive of time and energy, as a part of a client’s dining experience.

Sourcing fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs, preparing spice combinations and special sauces and travel to all of the farms, markets and shops to put these together are a task of several hours. We honor the whole process and prepare those ingredients from scratch with great respect.

What's the best way to get in touch with the Chef?

Office hours for Keena’s Kitchen are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00am to 6:00pm; serving hours for client events are Tuesday through Sunday, 9am to 9pm. Service outside these hours are considered with advance arrangement and incur additional costs. Clients can call us at (510) 842-6849 or message us direct through our contact page on this website. Client’s can also e-mail us with questions at personalchef@keenaskitchen.org .