Although I like to cook and bake, there are times I wish the HouseKeeping Fairy would drop dinner down on the table (oh and clean up after too?). In my doctor’s office a few weeks ago, I thumbed through a CT Mom guidebook to see services in my area. I spotted an ad for a personal chef – TLC Home Cooking – and thought “What a great idea!” After a few emails, Judy Buonocore and I met to discuss how her services benefit moms and families!

First, a personal chef is not a caterer, but someone who provides meal preparation services in your home on a scheduled basis. Judy left 25 years in corporate America to follow her passion for cooking into her new business, TLC Home Cooking, launched in March 2011. She loves to cater to families, knowing a selection of ready-made home-cooked meals can be a lifesaver for parents on the go!

Clients fill out a food questionnaire so she understands their likes, dislikes, health concerns and dietary needs. Then she customizes a 2-week menu plan. Two weeks of meals includes 5 entrees and 2 sides enough for 10 dinners. She uses a database of hundreds of recipes tested by the US Personal Chef Association to be great for freezer storage. Because she grocery shops the same morning she cooks, the food is made with the freshest ingredients!

Then, Judy arrives at your home once every two weeks and spends about 3-4 hours prepping and cooking the meals. She stores each meal in containers you keep as long as you work with her (there is a container fee). When she leaves, three meals are in your fridge, and seven are in your freezer for later! Her cooking style is comfort food / healthy family fare, but she’s able to work with your favorite cuisines too!

Judy came to our house last week with boxes of chefs tools, pots and pans, and prepared a delicious Slow-Cooked Short Rib dinner with garlic mashed potatoes and green salad! How lovely it was to sit down to a home-cooked meal I didn’t have to plan and prep! When she left, she cleaned up the kitchen so well, I would never have known she’d been there except for the delicious smell of short ribs in the air!

Even our 2-year-old had some mashed potatoes, short ribs, and the olives out of the salad (he likes to stick them on his fingers!). So this dish (Judy’s signature favorite!) was a hit in my family for sure!

I can imagine how helpful it is to have someone create 10 nights of dinner, especially as we add a new baby to the mix! Hiring a personal chef is perfect for expectant or new moms, moms who work or have kids with lots of activities, or for people who don’t enjoy cooking. Or, people with special dietary considerations would benefit from a personal chef service, because you can fully customize your meals and discuss with Judy your restrictions and preferences!

If you’re looking for a personal chef in Connecticut, you should check out Judy Buonocore – she’s easy to work with, her food was delicious, and her service was professional and top-notch! She also can do dinner parties and cooking classes! She’s currently offering Mother’s Day and New Mom packages, and I think giving a gift of personal chef services is a great idea!! (Pretty please, hubby?)!

WIN IT: If you’ve been wondering how a personal chef might fit your life, why not enter to win a dinner from Judy at TLC Home Cooking? Winner receives: One meal for up to 6 people cooked at their home at a date and time agreed upon by TLC and the recipient.   It does not include serving the meal. TLC will supply several menu choices to select from based on answers to a food questionnaire. The service includes 1 entrée and your choice of 2 sides or 1 side and a dessert. Entrants must live in Central or South East Connecticut, my service territory. ARV $200.

Enter in the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GIVEAWAY RULES: Open to residents of Central / South East Connecticut only! Must be 18+ to enter/win. Winner will be notified via email directly and have 48 hours to reply to claim their prize. Fulfillment handled by TLC Home Cooking. Giveaway ends on April 24, 2012.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a one-dinner service to assist in writing this review. All opinions are my own and 100% honest.

Leave a Comment

  • Stephanie Klemm April 24, 2012, 5:04 pm

    What a cool giveaway! Please remove my entries…I’m not local :(

  • Cheryl April 20, 2012, 9:41 am

    I would love to have prepared meals as an easy and quick week night dinner. I think it would be great for when we have parties also.

  • CareyPence April 17, 2012, 9:38 pm

    Oh let me count the ways that it could help! :-) It would be fantastic and I really enjoy cooking but I’m in a rut and a personal chef would pull me right out. :-)

    • Jamie April 19, 2012, 5:33 am

      It would help take away stress of planning, prepping, and cooking. Giving us more family time we would enjoy!

  • Brett April 17, 2012, 6:41 am

    how would it NOT help? i would LOVE to have some already made meals for the crazy days.

  • Andrea Zak April 14, 2012, 4:06 pm

    A home cooked meal by a personal chef would be a huge blessing for my family! Since my youngest daughter has a severe disability (Rett Syndrome)… my husband and I are ALWAYS exhausted and we end up not eating the healthiest foods because some days its just too overwhelming and there’s no time. There are many nights I don’t even have dinner because by the time I am done taking care of everyone else…I am too tired to make something for myself. So yes….having a personal chef would be fantastic!

  • Jennifer Mirock April 14, 2012, 3:40 pm

    This would be a dream come true! With 3 little ones at home I don’t get to cook nearly as often as I would like!

  • Trista Hummel April 14, 2012, 2:55 pm

    This is a really neat idea! I have to say it would be nice to have someone to do the cooking on workdays! Especially when you are a new mom! :-)

  • amanda roach April 13, 2012, 7:38 am

    i love to cook, but this would be fun.

  • Crunchy Beach Mama April 11, 2012, 8:39 pm

    How FAB is this? She won’t fly to SC for me?

    Soooo awesome! What a fun biz for her :)

  • Jen N April 11, 2012, 4:47 pm

    Having a personal chef would be AMAZING! I don’t mind cleaning/organizing, but I hate to cook- I like to eat though :) I leave the house in the morning at 5:45am and don’t get back until around wish- the last thing I want to do is cook, so unfortunately I end up eating something that I am not satisfied with at all :(

  • Meaghan April 11, 2012, 4:12 pm

    Having a chef would be amazing – even if just once. My husband and I talk about having one all the time. He is a super picky eater and has to have things cooked a certain way or he wont eat it (like that’s not frustrating). Plus having a 2.5 yr old and an 9 month old makes the days pretty crazy and cooking is usually not something I am in the mood for at the end of the day. A personal chef would allow me to eat well and make sure my family always has a good meal.