Sometimes less choice is better, so the meal delivery service we discuss in this Personal Chef To Go review is certainly simple and streamlined when you compare it to more sophisticated offerings from Magic Kitchen or BistroMD, for instance.
If cooking healthy food every day has become a chore or old age is making it just too hard, the right pre-cooked meals can be a godsend. If you care about good nutrition and keeping your independence, then read our Personal Chef To Go review before making a decision.
In This Article
Who is Personal Chef To Go
Personal Chef To Go was started in Mechanicsville, VA, by two chefs in 2003, Gene Castelluccio and Blair Grossman. Every week they will cook a selection of fresh meals that are delivered on Friday or Saturday morning. You can keep them in the fridge, ready to heat them quickly in the microwave when it’s time to eat. We think it is one of the best meal delivery services for seniors as well.
- Healthy restaurant-quality meals made with fresh ingredients.
- Dietary and personal preferences can be requested for every meal, such as no nuts, dairy, or pork.
- Meals earn good user reviews.
- No delivery charge for much of the Eastern United States.
- Less choice and variety than many other rival services.
- Cost per meal is above average at 13.80 dollars or more.
- Only main meals and no extra dishes.
- Few vegetarian or vegan meal options.
Things to Consider Before Choosing a Meal Delivery Service
Meal delivery services are an excellent choice for older people that want a heat and eat meal solution, especially when preparing healthy meals becomes harder or is just too much work. And to continue living independently, nutritious meals served regularly are paramount.
In our Personal Chef To Go review, we looked at convenience, nutritional benefit, and enjoyment to help you make the right choice. We also wanted to know if it was value for money.
Personal Chef To Go aims to rank high in all these areas, but you need to be clear about your own expectations.
- Do you enjoy planning your meals, or do you just want to be cooked for?
- Do you want side dishes, salad, or dessert delivered also?
- What dietary requirements do you have?
- Do you prefer a printed catalogue to browse through?
If you’re not content cooking the same old dishes continuously, read on to learn if and how your needs can be catered to in this Personal Chef To Go review.
Can Chef To Go Chef-cooked Meals Deliver a Delicious, Healthy, and Affordable Diet?
Delicious Food, If You’re Not Picky
The menu has some appealing entries, like Citrus Salmon, Lavender Chicken, and Beef Fajita, with Chili Cilantro Dressing. But if you’re vegetarian, your choice is limited to Mushroom & Spinach Stuffed Shells. In fact, if for whatever reason you’re not an omnivore that will eat whatever is served, then the limited variety will constrain your choices somewhat.
The ingredients used minimize calorie counts and are as natural as possible. Recipes use an appealing variety of ingredients. For example, the Roasted Chicken Breast in Sweet Marsala Sauce contains beans, mushrooms, carrot, celery, yellow onion, garlic, Marsala wine, balsamic vinegar, and several spices.
The meals are packed in special reduced oxygen containers to preserve freshness; this avoids the need for freezing and keeps the food safe to eat for at least ten days after it’s delivered to you. Each container has a single serving.
Meal preparation takes no more than lifting a corner of the seal and heating in the microwave for about three minutes. If you don’t have a microwave to hand, the Beef Fajita and the Grilled Shrimp Caesar With Low-Fat Dressing at least are ready to eat.
Healthy for Most, If Not for All
For some older people, healthy eating starts already with regular meals made from fresh ingredients. A reheated pizza or a can of peas just doesn’t cut it; this is one reason why seniors living alone, or their children, turn to prepared meal services. This Personal Chef To Go Review is for you to help take action and to prevent the need for avoidable medical attention or relocating to a care facility.
On the plus side, the pre-cooked meals are well-balanced and contain no preservatives, additives, and only reduced sodium. Each meal choice has nutrition facts posted along with the ingredient list on the website.
There’s a list of personal preferences you can register on the website to instruct the chefs to avoid or substitute ingredients you need to reduce. These include fish, gluten, pork, shellfish, beef, soy, dairy, and tree nuts. We were disappointed that more nutritional needs were not catered for, and along with the limited menu, gave little opportunity for planning one’s diet, let alone manage critical components like sugar, sodium, or cholesterol.
Affordable Perhaps, Compared With Restaurant Meals
To take advantage of the meal delivery service, you need to go online and register on the website. You then choose to have either five, eight or ten meals delivered every week. You can select the meals or have the chef choose them for you. If you don’t update your selection in subsequent weeks, your first choice will guide the chefs to continue a similar mix of meats, vegetables, and salads.
The choice of ingredients and attention to the preparation does come with a price, though. We find the average starting price of 15.60 dollars per meal for the five meal option at 78 dollars not much cheaper than you would pay for a similar meal in a restaurant, although without the service. As can be expected, buying bulk brings the cost down, with eight meals coming in at 118 dollars or 14.75 dollars each, and an order of ten will set you back 138 dollars, which makes each serving worth 13.80 dollars.
Delivery costs are included in that amount; at least if you live on the Eastern side of the U.S., check the website to confirm if your address is covered because if it isn’t, you’re up for a 45 dollar courier costs on top of the order price.
Some people may not like being locked into an ongoing plan with recurring charges — others will love the convenience of not having to worry about shopping and cooking anymore.
Look Elsewhere for More Choice
You will no doubt enjoy eating meals from Personal Chef To Go as you’re likely to find them fresh and delicious. But if you want more choice or wish to have your needs and preferences better catered for than consider looking elsewhere.
Senior Meal Programs from Magic Kitchen
When we reviewed the Magic Kitchen, we were very impressed with their large menu selection. Last time we checked, there were over 40 mains alone, not counting breakfast and snacks. Meals consist of a main course with one or two side dishes. Meal programs for diabetic, dialysis, renal, vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free, low fat, low-carb, low sodium, and low cholesterol diets are available.
But Kansas-based Magic Kitchen is particularly known for its senior meal program, to the extent that they consider this service their primary focus. Healthy diets for older people that are appetizing and special-diet friendly are their strength.
Tailor-Made Diet Plans From Bistro MD
Another top-rated pre-cooked meal delivery service is Bistro MD. While it was started as a weight control program by a medical practitioner, it has expanded to cater to a wide array of nutritional needs. While it may seem difficult, Bistro MD perhaps exceeds Magic Kitchen in their range of catering for special nutritional needs.
A good meal plan should be tailored to specific nutritional and health needs, so with Bistro MD, one will be in good hands.
For any aging person, a heart-healthy program would be advisable given the high risk of cardio-vascular failings at an advanced age. But weight management is also important for anyone lacking adequate regular exercise.
For seniors, you should take a look at Silver Cuisine which is a service by Bistro MD that focusing on providing good meal delivery services for the elderly.
Meal Services Compared
|Personal Chef To Go||Magic Kitchen||Bistro MD|
|Chef prepared meals|
No printed menu
Only single-dish mains
|Few single servings available|
100% satisfaction guarantee
Weight management programs
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
But don’t take our word for it and check out these services for yourself.
Gourmet Meals Every Day
For our Personal Chef To Go Review, we wanted to know if this service provided delicious, healthy, and affordable meals to give seniors a good diet while living independently.
Meals from Personal Chef To Go certainly are tasty, healthy, and arrive as fresh as can be in oxygen-deprived packaging and not frozen. But while some dietary preferences are catered for, overall, the limited menu choice is disappointing, especially since you need to sign up for an ongoing commitment at an above-average price.
Nevertheless, if you want to be sure to regularly get delicious fresh meals and are willing to pay for quality ingredients, then don’t be afraid to give Personal Chef To Go a try.