There’s no doubt about it, good food in the San Francisco Bay area is pricey. The average SF Bay area 5-star restaurant will run you at least $65-85/person for an appetizer, entrée and dessert (without wine or cocktails). The average Bay area private chef charges $80-$120, for a 5-course dinner prepared in your kitchen and served at your dining table. In this case, you may start with an amuse bouche, followed by an appetizer, soup, then salad, a entrée and dessert, with possibly and intermezzo in between there somewhere. This doesn’t mean you are served more food than at the restaurant where you ordered 3 courses; it means you have the opportunity to taste a wider variety of dishes, not dissimilar to chef’s tasting menus, where each dish is a small plate unto itself. In fact, more and more restaurants are moving to a small plate format, like Lazy Bear in San Francisco, which bills itself as “a modern American dinner party” and where “the meal is a parade of small plates” as Andrea Strong puts it in her April 18th article for Open for Business.
But are private chefs really a better option? We asked clients of Private Chefs of the SF Bay, a coop of 9 top Bay area chefs, why they prefer dining in to out, and this is what they told us:
- You get to entertain in the comfort of your own home.
- No driving to a restaurant, looking for parking or dealing with traffic.
- If some of your guests aren’t quite on time, there’s no host/ess telling you you have to wait at the bar (or worse, outside). Everyone can leisurely enjoy wine or cocktails while the rest of your guests arrive.
- Speaking of which, think of all the money you save, not having to pay $8-12/cocktail! You can BYOB and pair wines to your courses, or have you chef do it, without paying restaurant prices.
- No waiting weeks until a reservation finally opens up so that you can eat really great food.
- You don’t have to worry about noisy (other) diners, or not being able to hear each other speak, or dealing with diners who are on their cell phones. On the other hand, you and your guests can make as much noise as they like (or call anyone they want)!
- You can dine at your own pace and not worry that they are trying to “turn the table over”.
- You can work with the chef to design the perfect menu.
- If anyone has had too much to drink, you can allow them to stay until it is safe for them to drive home
- You get to keep the leftovers for the next day.