ABOUT


What is The Culinistas?

We facilitate and enhance private chef services. We make healthy eating around the dinner table easy for you.


Why you?

We are experts in private chef services & culinary innovation. We've been vetting private chefs for over a decade and are proficient in providing home-cooked, delicious meals.


IN-HOME SERVICE


How does the service work?

  • Review our weekly menu options via website or email
  • Select menu and request the service
  • Match with chef based on personal preferences
  • Process payment
  • Text chef to finalize service needs
  • Chef shops for groceries, preps dishes in client's home and leaves kitchen spotless
  • Both chef and client provide feedback to ensure a stellar experience on both ends
  • Repeat

What does the service include?

The service includes 6 dishes that can be mixed and matched for 3-4 meals throughout the week.


Will my chef serve my food?

The in-home visits do not include meal time service. If you'd like a dinner party, please email us.


How often should I use the service?

This depends on your lifestyle and health goals. We recommend 1-2 times per week.


Are your dishes good for me?

Absolutely. We focus on balanced, healthy meals made with the freshest ingredients. This is not a diet; we focus on moderation and well-balanced meals.


How do I modify the service?

Prior to chef introductions, you can modify your service by emailing us.  The Culinistas will handle any scheduling or menu changes.

After chef introductions, you can modify your service by emailing your chef directly. Your chef will handle any scheduling or menu changes up to 48 hours before the intended service. Any modification requests within the 48 hour window will be made on a best efforts basis.


What size should I order?

We know that everyone eats differently. Our portions are based on household size, but you should adjust your selection based on household appetities (big eaters / small eaters) and frequency (how many times a day you'll be relying on the service).

Typically, our portions serve:
Small: 1-2 person household
Medium: 3-4 person household
Large: 5-6 person household

If we get it wrong the first visit, you can always change the size to reflect your desired portions.


How do I cancel the service?

You can cancel the service at any time by emailing us. All cancellations must be made 48 hours before the intended service to prevent being charged the service fee.
Our cancel and change policy is in place to respect our chef’s time and we hope that you understand.


What is the cutoff time to schedule a service?

Menu selections for the following week are due every Thursday by 12PM.


Can you accommodate larger families?

Yes, our goal is to make it easier for you and your family to enjoy dinner together. Our large offering accommodates families up to 6 people. If your family is larger than 6 people, please reach out and we will do our best to accommodate you.


What time will my chef arrive?

Our chefs start as early as 9AM and as late as 3PM. Chefs are available 7 days a week.


How long does the service take?

The service takes up to 5 hours, from start to finish. This includes the shop, prep, cook and clean.


What if my chef is late?

Your chef will personally shop for groceries before they arrive and you may receive an email from us letting you know if there's a change to your chefs arrival time due to traffic or a long line at the market. If your chef is going to be more than 30 minutes late, we'll address immediately and propose an alternative solution.


How should I prepare for the service?

Please review our Best Practices before your first visit. For additional questions, feel free to reach out.


What if I am not home during the service?

No problem. Many clients request chef services during working hours. While not required, we recommended greeting your chef for their first visit and introducing him/her to your home and kitchen. If that's not possible, detailed instructions via text & email work just as well.


Should I tip my chef?

Please do not tip your chef. We want your cooking visits to be seamless and The Culinistas will handle all payments.


What areas do you service?

Currently, our service is only available in Manhattan and Brooklyn.


Do I need specific kitchen tools or pantry items?

Please review our Best Practices for details on kitchen equipment.


Do I need my own containers?

We're always happy to use your containers. If you don't have them, please specify when submitting a request and your chef will pick them up. Please review our Best Practices for more details on containers.


CHEFS


Who will be cooking my food?

All of our chefs are trained and have an active interest, passion and talent in culinary arts. They are hospitalitarians with expertise and flourish in the home kitchen.


Do you vet your chefs?

Our interview process is extremely thorough. This includes a personal interview, in-person kitchen interview and background check. We have been interviewing chefs for over a decade and will never send you a chef who hasn't cooked in our very own test kitchen.


Can I meet my chef first?

We won't send a chef to your home before the day of service, but trust us, we've met him/her in person and tested his/her food, and we're confidient you won't be disappointed. As a best practice, we recommend that you are home during the first visit to greet your chef and introduce him/her to your home and kitchen.


Is my home safe?

We are committed to creating a community that households trust. Your home is protected up to $1,000,000 when you hire a chef via The Culinistas and we have implemented a strict vetting process to ensure we are placing safe chefs in your home.


Can I keep or change my chef?

We thoroughly review your preferences before matching you with a chef. If you are happy with our selection, we will prioritize that chef for you on a going forward basis. You can also prioritize a particular chef when requesting the service. If you'd like to change your chef, please detail this information in the special instructions.


Are your chefs insured?

Yes. All of our chefs are protected under our insurance policy. Please continue to engage with our chefs through The Culinistas for your ease and safety.


DINNER PARTIES / EVENTS


Can I request a chef for a dinner party or event?

Our chefs are eager for consistent work so we are focused on perfecting our weekly offering. That being said, we will eventually solve for all private chef service needs, so express your desires. Please email and we will try our best to fulfill your culinary request.


Do you service over the holidays?

Our offices are closed on federal holidays and chef availability may be limited during those times.


COSTS


How much does the weekly service cost?

The weekly service fee is $250. Additional costs include groceries (dependent on size), a travel reimbursement & tax.

Estimate cost for small household: $365-$385
Estimate cost for medium household: $385-$415
Estimate cost for large household: $415-$435

Households larger than 6 people need more time with their chef so we will need to assess the request on a case by case basis. Please reach out and we'll do our best to find a solution. 


How much will the groceries cost?

Estimate cost for small household: $80-$100
Estimate cost for medium household: $100-$130
Estimate cost for large household: $130-$150


How will I be billed?

We will authorize the transaction when the service is confirmed. The charge includes the service fee, estimated groceries, travel reimbursement and tax. We will finalize the charge once the service is complete. The final charge includes the service fee, actual groceries, travel reimbursement and tax.


What about the spice set?

There is a first time fee for our spice set, which will be sent to households prior to the first visit. The spice set costs $49.


How do I change my payment information?

You can update your payment information by emailing us. 


FOOD


How does menu selection work?

Every Wednesday morning around 7AM you'll receive The Culinistas menu, inclusive of 20 vibrant and delicious dishes. We invite you to select 6 dishes and include any special instructions, due the following Thursday by 12PM.


Where do you source your ingredients?

We shop local at our favorite grocers and fresh farmer markets. Our chefs are hand selecting the freshest and most delicious ingredients for you. We also provide you with a spice set that we have hand-selected with Burlap & Barrel, a boutique vendor who procures spices from single source farms around the globe.
Please contact us for a list of our favorite grocers in your neighborhood.


Are your ingredients local and/or organic?

We always source the freshest and most nutrient-dense items, striving to use organic and non-GMO produce whenever possible.


Can you accommodate food allergies?

We recommend you use your best judgment when considering dietary restrictions. You can also accomodate dietary restrictions by excluding ingredients from our dishes.
Transparency is important to us. To help you make as informed a decision as possible, every dish includes a breakdown of its ingredients.


Do you offer gluten-free, dairy-free, or nut-free options?

We leave it to our customers to review ingredients and determine which recipes best meet their dietary needs. Many of our dishes naturally fall into those categories since we promote heathful and balanced eating.
When dishes are free of common allergens, they are labeled as such.
If you see a dish you like, but an ingredient you avoid, include this detail in the special instructions and we'll try our best to accommodate your needs.


What dishes / cuisines do you offer?

Our dishes are healthy, fresh, balanced & vibrant. We believe everything should be eaten in moderation, with a focus on veggie-forward dishes.


What's in my spice set?

We are so excited to introduce our clients to our spice set. The 9 spices come from single source farms around the globe. We partnered with Burlap & Barrel to create a set that provides a depth of flavors.

Urfa: Our urfa chili is sourced directy from Urfa, Turkey, where hot peppers of the isot cultivar have been grown and cured for millennia. The peppers ripen fully on the plant and then sun-dried to yield an earthy, malty, raisiny flavor with incredible depth and complexity.

Sumac: Our sumac is sourced directly from farmers on the Turkey/Syria border where it starts as a tart berry. It is later chopped and cured in salt to develop a bright, sour and salty flavor.

Yellow Cardamom: Our yellow cardamom is sourced from a biodynamic, single estate farm in the mountains in the high altitude cloud forests of Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. The yellow variety ripens on the vine and develops a subtle, complex flavor that is floral and sweet with notes of ginger and mint.

Allspice: Our allspice berry is grown on small plots in the cloud forests of Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, where they're hand picked from beautiful evergreens during an October/November harvest season. It is one of the few classic spices indigenous to the new world. Its flavor combines sugar and spice and has a smoky warmth reminiscent of toasted almonds and baked fruit.

Za'atar: The truest za’atar comes from a za’atar plant, but on the verge of extinction in 1977, the Israeli government passed a law making it a protected species. This za'atar blend is made by a Palestinian women's cooperative in the West Bank, using wild herbs and other local ingredients like olive oil and dead sea salt.

Cayenne: This pepper is indigenous to Central and South America, having been used for thousands of years as food and medicine. It is one of the treasures brought back to Europe by Christopher Columbus.

Onion Powder: Our onion powder accents any dish with an extra kick of sweet and earthy undertones.

Timut: These peppercorns come from Nepal. They are closely related to citrus fruits, yielding a grapefruit aroma, and give a slight tongue-tingling feeling similar to those hailing from Sichuan.

Wild Cumin: Our cumin is harvested by a network of foragers in the high mountains of the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan's remote northeast with no commercial cultivation or supply chain infrastructure. It is a rare and special version of a kitchen staple.


How long will my dishes stay fresh?

Our dishes are developed to last 3-4 days in your refrigerator.


How should I reheat my dishes?

Reheating and dinner prep should never take more than 15 minutes. Please review our Reheating Guide for more details. Many of our dishes are delicious room temp as well.


Where can I find nutritional information?

All of our dishes are healthy and fresh. We're focused on a well-balanced diet, with an emphasis on natural and fresh ingredients. We don't believe in counting calories or omitting foods from your diet. All is fair game in moderation.


How often do your menus change?

We rotate dishes on our menus weekly. We'll bring back favorites frequently and always introduce seasonal ingredients.


How does the food stay fresh?

Our dishes are developed to stay fresh, marinate over time or otherwise stand up to refrigeration. This is a top priority during recipe development.


How do you develop your recipes?

Our test kitchen is innovating 7 days a week, focusing on flavor, nutrition and seasonality. If you have any requests, we'd love to hear from you. 


What should I do if one of the dishes is damaged or missing?

This is definitely not acceptable and we apologize for the inconvenience. Please contact us so we can make this right ASAP.


How are the dishes presented?

We aim to package each of your dishes fully composed so your refrigerator is not overwhelmed with containers.


GENERAL


Do you offer gift cards?

At the moment, we do not offer physical gift cards. Please contact us if you'd like to gift someone our service and we'll do our best to accommodate your needs.


How do I redeem a promotion?

At the moment, we are not offering promotions.


Do you have a referral program?

At the moment, we do not have a referral program.


I had a problem with my service, who do I contact?

If we didn't live up to your expectations, please let us know immediately.