Trends in the Dieting Industry: A New Twist on the Personal-Chef Scene


More and more people are hiring personal chefs to tailor meals to their specific health needs. In fact, some 70,000 Americans are already getting such help, says the American Personal Chef Institute and Association (APCA), and many are doing it more affordably than you might think possible.

Take Sarah Buller, for example. A 39-year-old TV marketing executive in New York, she needed help during the complete-bed-rest final trimester of her pregnancy. Chef Donna Mintz cooking helped her get through, and even slim down after the baby arrived. “She knew what my goals and issues were, the same way a personal trainer would,” Buller says. (And its no accident, given that Mintz doubles as a trainer with her company, Basil & Barbells.)

But the real takeaway for Buller was that Mintz taught her how to shop, cook, and eat healthfully long-term. “It was a sound and practical way for me to basically get my feet wet and understand that food wasnt some scary, complicated thing,” Buller says.

Or consider Christine Robinson, co-owner of the Boston-based A Fresh Endeavor. She prepared a summers worth of gluten-free foods for an 11-year-old girl with celiac disease to take to camp. She helped another woman stick to the Canyon Ranch Spa diet after she got home from her spa getaway.

Heres how it works with most personal chefs: You fill out a questionnaire about your goals and food preferences, then meet with the chef to figure out how often youll need help—whether its weekly or monthly. She then designs menus based on your answers, preparing her creations in your home, and refrigerating or freezing your meals or baked goods until youre ready to eat them. Mintz service starts at about $15 per serving, but prices can vary widely depending on the chef and your needs. Thats less than youd likely pay for dinner at a restaurant.

To find a personal chef in your area, just go to and click on your state.Back to: Trends in the Dieting Industry