New York City personal chefs discuss their services
Who we talked to
Mark Tafoya, owner
New York City
Lise Battaglia, owner
Healing Meals Personal Cooking & Celebrations
Jersey City, N.J.
What services do you offer?
Mark Tafoya: "I offer personal chef services that vary from regular weekly meals to dinner parties, special events and cooking classes."
Marian Gotbetter: "I do personalized chef services that provides weekly or biweekly meals. I do customized meal planning."
Lise Battaglia: "I'm a personal chef. I'm focused on creating meals that help people defeat illness."
How do you charge for your services, and what's the cost?
Tafoya: "It's customized. So it all varies by a lot of factors, like where they are, how many people and how many meals they want."
Gotbetter: "Usually it starts from $350 per service plus groceries. That's usually for four to five entrees at two to four servings each, plus additional sides."
Battaglia: "My prices start at $75 an hour. But I can do a lot within that time."
What's your experience in the industry?
Tafoya: "I've been doing it for six years. I attended the Culinary Business Academy."
Gotbetter: "I used to be in the photography industry and I always loved to cook. I'm self-taught. I've been doing it five years."
Battaglia: "I've been a chef for 20 years. I started out as a graduate student in art history in Italy. The food found me. I'm a special diet forum moderator for the American Personal Chef Association."
Do you have a dish you prepare that's the most popular with your clients?
Tafoya: "One of the hallmarks of my services is variety. I promise my clients I won't repeat a dish in six months unless they request it."
Gotbetter: "I do some mean chilies and really nice vegetarian dishes."
Battaglia: "People really like my red lentil kale soup."
What sets you apart from your competition?
Tafoya: "I'd say my experience traveling. I bring that into my cooking."
Gotbetter: "I think I'm very flexible to what people ask me to do. I think I have a wide range of things I do."
Battaglia: "I know a lot about food and the ways it can make people's lives better."
What's one spice or ingredient you couldn't live without and why?
Tafoya: "Garlic is an important one. It's used by just about every ethnic cuisine."
Gotbetter: "Garlic. It's just such a basic in so many different cuisines."
Battaglia: "I want to say sumac. It works similarly to salt without the negative effects. It's always a surprise."