Why I Love Having a Personal Chef

It’s Sunday and we’re a little nervous. We have no idea what we have in the pantry or fridge. This morning we woke up to 1 egg, no oatmeal and some fruit in the pantry. Mr. King put together a little breakfast from it, but it was hardly par for the course.

Wow…Sundays we really feel just how much we love having a personal chef. What? A personal chef? Yes. The luxuries of having a personal chef aren’t reserved for the wealthy and famous. Our normal family of 4 is taking full advantage of staying healthy with a personal chef in Bali.

Sunday is her day off and we usually scrap together a small breakfast and then go out to eat or order in for the rest of the day. We haven’t forgotten how to cook, we just choose not to.

This is exactly how lax you get when you have an incredible personal chef.

This is our second chef. The first one we hired cooked delicious food, but it was only Indonesian food and we were quickly bored with the same flavors over and over. She also didn’t understand our health concerns over non-organic, MSG and chemical additives to food.

We wanted a chef that ‘got’ us and how we wanted to eat.

In the short time that we’ve been here, we’ve singled out some of our favorite restaurants that served organic, raw, mainly vegetarian food and thought “Wouldn’t it be great just to get a cook from one of these restaurants?” So we started asking managers, cooks and servers if they knew anyone that worked here in the past that was looking for a job. It took one week before we had any luck, and luck’s name was Purnama.We quickly hired her hoping that the food was naturally flavorful and healthy.

Luck would have it that she is amazing. She has worked at one of the top health food restaurants in Bali for the past 7 years and can make anything on their menu, from hummus to homemade ravioli and delicious spinach and rice gnocchi. The first week, we set a menu for ourselves and each dish was mouthwatering and uber-healthy. Now, she just makes meals for us and we have no idea what we’ll be eating, but it’s always good.

Fresh Spinach and Rice Gnocchi

Fresh Spinach and Rice Gnocchi

Our personal chef is responsible for handling all the menu planning, grocery shopping, cooking, and kitchen cleanup. All we have to do is come home, eat and then she cleans up. Most people think that hiring a personal chef is reserved for the wealthy or celebrities, but living abroad gives us the ability to hire a full time chef.

Advantages of having a personal chef

There are so many advantages that our family gains from having a personal cook.

Our chef saves us money

It’s been two weeks since our cook has been with us and our total grocery bill has been $80 for 2 weeks of 3 meals/day for 6 days/week for the four of us. As mentioned above, Purnama knows just how much of everything to buy so there is little to no waste. She also knows where to go for the best, freshest produce and has great contacts with the local organic growers.

Eggplant and Almond Enchiladas with a salad

Eggplant and Almond Enchiladas with a salad

We are also less tempted to eat out knowing that we have a fully flavorful and delicious meal waiting for us at home. Each meal we eat out normally costs us $22 for the four of us, which is so very reasonable, but it adds up if you eat out once per day or more. Eating out also requires a lot of time: time to get to the restaurant, order, wait for your food, eat and then pay and go home. Especially with little kids, I don’t want to spend my time waiting. We rarely eat out during the week, knowing that we can make up for it on Sunday. On Sunday we try new restaurants and indulge in them since it’s a treat for us. It makes the experience all the more special. I would venture to guess that we’d be eating out at least once every 2 days minimum, which equates to $90-120/week. Plus, we’d be responsible for cooking the rest of our meals and buying our food. That savings more than pays for all our groceries and our cooks salary.

Convenience & Productivity

Part of my definition of success is to get others to do what I don’t want to do or don’t know how to do. It’s the ultimate convenience. I outsource things in my business, like graphics, some web design and marketing activities. Those are activities that I would rather not be doing with my time. I have done the same with my lifestyle. I don’t want to spend hours per day shopping, preparing, cooking and cleaning when someone else can do it for me at such a reasonable cost. The time this affords me is spent on my current best use: playing with my children, working, reading, getting a massage or sleeping. It’s a luxury few can afford in more western nations, but the cost in Indonesia is very reasonable.

I’ve found that without the mental bustle of everyday domestic duties, I’ve been able to focus on my business, yoga, children and my husband. My business has already reaped a 15% increase in sales with the little bit of focus I’ve been able to put towards it in these 4 weeks. My mind is calmer when I go to a regular yoga class and participate in meditation. I can join a 2 hour yoga class without stressing about getting back to feed my family. It’s already being taken care of. And, best of all, my children receive a more present mother that is able to focus on them without thinking of her to-do list (at least most of the time). I won’t get into how great it’s been for our marital relationship ; )

Every meal is fresh and there is no food waste

Having worked in a busy restaurant where the focus is on fresh, organic food, our chef buys fresh ingredients everyday and knows exactly how much to make. We rarely have leftovers. When we have friends over for dinner, we just tell her to make extra plates and sure enough, there is plenty of food yet no leftovers. In seven years working at a restaurant, she has mastered portion control and just how much of an ingredient is needed to make the dishes. Therefore, we have no leftovers sitting in the fridge for days on end spoiling. Less food waste also means that our food budget is low.

The colors in the salad are just mesmerizing!

The colors in the salad are just mesmerizing!

Entertaining if fun again

Having friends over for dinner or lunch is a no stress affair. We just tell our cook how many more people there will be and she adjusts the amount of food she is making. We are able to enjoy our friends with undivided attention since our chef is doing the cooking, cleaning and serving. It makes entertaining relaxing again.

Most important of all…It’s our health insurance

I’m a firm believer that most chronic disease starts with the way we treat our bodies. Our diet has a profound impact on how well our bodies function. I believe know that diet can cure most disease. The typical standard American diet (nicknamed SAD for a reason) is based on processed food-like substances instead of whole organic foods. In a busy lifestyle, people want convenience and processed foods are quick, cheap and easy. They may be nutrient deficient, but when you’re on the go, that isn’t something most people think about.

Having a personal chef that knows how we want to eat allows us to remain healthy by eating proper, fresh foods for every meal of the day. When we are out doing stuff, instead of grabbing something on the go, we know that a fresh meal is being prepared for us at home. We’ve never eaten so much GREEN stuff before and we love it. It makes are bodies feel great!

Miss I enjoys a fresh veggie curry

Miss I enjoys a fresh veggie curry

How much does it cost?

We are very grateful for our personal cook. She makes our stay here in Bali all that much more enjoyable and relaxing. Most personal cooks in Bali make $130-175 per month. We pay a little more, not because we have to, but we want to. Our personal chef allowed us to set her salary and we felt that the quality of food, the convenience and the health benefit was worth more to us.

She’s happy. We’re thrilled. Life is Good. Life is Oh-So-Freakin’-Good.

Could you do it?

What if someone gifted you a year of having a personal chef….what would you do? Could you imagine having this convenience?  What would you do with your time? What changes would you make in your diet?

Leave a comment and let me know.

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31 Responses to “Why I Love Having a Personal Chef”

  1. Erin July 22, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    You know I would! I think it’s the best way to stay healthy and if we were in one spot long enough we’d do it. You have been blessed with the best, a family like yours deserves it. Hoping to pop in for a fresh/great meal one day 😀

  2. Jana Reed July 22, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    WOW!!! I am soooo jealous! I like to cook but having someone that can cook the way that you like/need to eat is incredible. Can’t even imagine how much something like that would cost here in the States. Now if I could just find a personal dishwasher……….

    Sabina, you inspire me! Keep up the good work!!


  3. Allison July 22, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    Having visited my my family (PearceOnEarth.com) in Bali earlier this year, and experiencing the convenience and tastiness of a quality personal chef, I can say that is the biggest draw for me to the idea of living there. (aside from being close to my grandbabies, of course). I love my first word conveniences, but could give a few of them up for the convenience and health benefits of a personal chef. Of course, the minute I moved to Bali, me nomadic family would likely be decided it was time to experience a new place….

    I would like to figure out how to afford a personal chef, at least twosome degree, even here in the US. I know I’d be happier and healthier for it.

    Hoping I get an opportunity to enjoy another meal with you before the year is over….

  4. Dee July 22, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    When we lived in Indonesia back in the 80’s we had a Cook. It was wonderful. She taught me a lot about eating vegetarian. I’m still vegetarian to this day! Her name, Rapi – means ‘Tidy’. Your chef’s name, Purnama, means ‘Full Moon’.

    Enjoy your time in Bali!!
    It truly is Paradise

  5. Tracy July 22, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    Colin has been talking for ages about the need for us to have someone to cook for us in Penang. I never really thought it was worth it … until I saw the photos of the food your chef prepares. Your arguments are also convincing but it’s the photos that really sell it! Yum!

    • S King July 22, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

      I cannot even express how incredibly AWESOME it is. The food is stuff I would never even dream up: Eggplant and Almond Enchiladas? Really delicious.

      • Sarah November 13, 2013 at 5:53 am #

        Hi, we are heading to Bali for a holiday in December and would love to have a cook for our family of five while we are there – do you have any idea how I might find someone?

  6. Emily July 22, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

    The food looks absolutely wonderful and so healthy. And for such a reasonable cost. Totally worth it, I agree! You are truly living a blessed life.

  7. Living Outside of the Box July 22, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    Ummm….I WANT that cook! Just the green curry alone (not to mention the other photos) make me want to jump on a plane right now. :::sigh::: Instead we’ll “have” to go to Germany first and see if we can find something that isn’t sausage 😉 Haha! Southeast Asia by November…yippppeeee!!

    And yes, I think I would easily gain 3-4 hours a day if I did not have to worry about cooking. That is a LOT of time!

  8. Rebeca July 22, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

    Sounds, and looks, amazing! I do love cooking, but cooking three meals a day for my family gets tiring. Like you, I’m passionate about wholesome, organic, nourishing foods, which means I pretty much make everything from scratch. I would be happy even to have someone take one or two meals a day. It would make a huge difference! Can’t wait to get to Bali!

  9. Carol Kaatz July 23, 2012 at 1:14 am #

    I am so envious! I totally agree that diet and nutrition are key and how wonderful to have such a highly skilled chef preparing meals personally for your family…a dream come true! Seems like there are all pros and no cons to this decision! Wish I could join you for dinner!

  10. Lisa Wood July 23, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    OH wow am i jealous! Not only do you live in the gorgeous area of Bali, in a house with a pool but you hae a chef as well 🙂
    And one that knows the importance of cooking fresh healthy food? Oh how I dream!
    My ideal lifestyle would be to have a personal cook and someone to clean up after us.
    The meals look amazing and sound so nice – our boys cant have any MSG, food colouring, preservatives and are mostly gluten free – so yep I would love your chef!
    Perfect way to live.

  11. Tracey - Life Changing Year July 23, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    Those enchiladas look amazing!! I just realized you hire your chef and feed the family for the month on our food budget for 10 days!! So jealous right now!!

  12. Catherine Forest July 24, 2012 at 1:23 am #

    Wow! Another point for Bali! We are trying to decide between Thailand and Bali for our next adventure, and this sure is a great point for Bali. I imagine that a chef like yours must be hard to find though… What a gem you found!

    • K King July 25, 2012 at 10:41 am #

      Maybe we got lucky, but we just went around to a couple of our favorite healthy restaurants and asked if they knew anyone who wanted to be our personal chef. Within a week we had one!

  13. Rose Godfrey July 25, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    that is an incredible array of food, and it sure seems like an economical choice from this side of the world.

  14. Amy @WorldschoolAdventures July 27, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    Yup, I would totally LOVE to have a personal chef. Your meals look fantastic!

  15. Ashley of Ashley Abroad October 18, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    Wow, she looks like an incredible cook! Ah I’m so jealous, when can I move to Bali!!!

  16. Jo December 18, 2012 at 6:43 am #

    Ok – I’d like your house and your chef when you leave! if you ever leave. We spent a month in Bali this year and made a promise to come back for an extended stay soon.

  17. Lexi Patrice March 8, 2013 at 12:20 am #

    Hi! Can you please share Purnama’s contact info? I will be in Bali July-August and would LOVE to secure her services! Thank you in advance!

    • S King March 8, 2013 at 5:41 am #

      Um? ….no. Did you miss the part of the post where I said she was “MY” personal chef? She works full time for our family.

      Thanks for asking though. There are plenty of cooks that will take short term assignments.

  18. Jacqueline Holmes March 15, 2013 at 12:56 am #

    Hi Sabrina
    Me again ‘J’ I’m reading thru all of your blogs that I have missed, in preparation for our move. You are a godsend , so helpful and informative. What are your online business’s I want to go online and check them out.

  19. Jennifer April 17, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    Thank you for this! I am in the process of starting a very special personal chef service in the states. You SOLD the service, in what you know are the benefits of having someone do the work for you! Granted, Bali is MUCH cheaper than the US, but when it comes to maintaining health, increasing the time spent with family, and eliminating waste- plus a ton of other things, I think people are ready to give up crazy expensive shopping trips and faulty meal planning, plus the extra cost of fuel and feeding the kids while you are in town…it adds up to personal chefs making a ton more sense as part of our culture and society. I am so happy you wrote this, because you said everything I want to tell people about why it is so great!

  20. Nichole May 25, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

    Thank you for sharing all of this!! I am in the same situation as Jennifer, starting my own personal chef business in the US and abroad. This was uber inspiring and I cannot wait to get things under way. I plan to travel from state to state, country to country, filling plates with healthy and beautiful creations…..Feeding and healing the world as I embark on my own journey!!
    Jennifer….we should chat:)

  21. Sheralyn May 30, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    Oooo…. this is a genius idea and I never would have known where to start if I wanted to treat myself to a personal chef! Yum! I see us spending some time in Bali in the future, and I’ll definitely keep this idea in mind for when we are there!

  22. Lulu Warinto August 7, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    $125 a month?
    Yeah poverty makes you real hungry.
    Cheap skates……

    • S King August 7, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

      Perhaps a monthly salary of $100-300 per month is poverty in your country, but this is a great salary in this local economy. I appreciate you expressing your views and ask you to refrain from judgement when you can only see one perspective, that which is yours. To think that you assume we would ‘take advantage’ of people and not pay them a fare wage is more of a reflection of your own thoughts than it is on me.

      Do you really think that I would exploit poverty in my home? Quite the opposite. The Kings are a family with abundance and we exude, share and encourage it.

      • Jojo August 28, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

        Ignore this ‘lulu’ person – he/she is Indonesian, and unfortunately not a very smart one. $125/month is a good salary there and I’m sure your chef really appreciates it, especially compared to what she’d get from local indonesian. Not badmouthing or anything, but that is the fact. Why complain about some foreigner feeding your baby if you yourself can’t do the job?

    • Erin August 8, 2013 at 1:03 am #

      Have to agree with Sabina, this is an excellent salary considering most of them earn $3 per day. If they are educated you may double it to $6 per day. You might need to read a little more before you make assumptions. Imagine if you did pay them a Western salary what problems that would bring!

      • Erin August 8, 2013 at 1:05 am #

        P.S. If you read it, it says $130 – $175 and she pays more – so not even sure where $125 comes into it?!


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