Personal or Private Chef

Hello Ozbargainers,

I am looking for recommendations on how others out there have managed to solve the 'couple in mid 30's, full time professional workers (8am-6pm) who don't have time or can't make time to cook meals at home' conundrum.

I've given the precooked meals a solid go more than once (youfoodz, musclemeals, lite n'easy etc.) and I just cannot maintain it as I find the variety of tasty food is very limited.

Does anyone have experience with using a private/personal chef/cook for 3-4 nights per week? Does such a service exist in Sydney that's 'affordable' (under $300 per week)?

Thanking you in advance for your contribution.


      • +3

        You sound like my mum who doesn't believe in dishwashers. I wonder whether you share the same view on washing machines? I bet 20-30 years ago, people thought "washing" was a lifelong skill and should be enjoyable.

        I personally enjoy cooking and have no problem doing it, but I acknowledge that there are people out there who would rather outsource that to someone else and focus on whatever else they think is more important.

      • +3

        Maybe I should have explained it in more detail Maz. Our on duty hours "at work" are 8-6 (aka the time we are in the office). Doesn't include waking up at 6.30, getting ready for work, leaving house at 7:15 to arrive in office just before 8, leaving the office at 6-6:15pm to then get home around 7pm. Add an extra 1-1.5 hrs to cook and you're having your last meal of the day 2 or so hrs before bedtime. After we've washed up, there's not a great deal of personal time left over. Where's the joy in the weekdays if it's just wake up, go to work, come home, cook, eat, clean up, watch one episode of TV, shower, sleep. Rinse and repeat 5 days a week. Living for the weekend makes for a stressful life in my opinion. I'm just trying to buy some of my time back by outsourcing a task that doesn't bring me joy.

        • -1

          Welcome to the world that most people I know live in. You're not an exception to any of this. I know people who do commutes from Wollongong, Central Coast, Newcastle for jobs in Sydney and still do everything else.
          I'm in the office from 7am (when its not COVID lockdown), not leaving until after 5 or by 6pm + transit. (for a decade and a half at least)
          Cooking \ Cleaning \ Admin (pay bills, checking finances and the like) some TV and then bed.

          Who says there has to be any joy in any of this? Where is the joy in working for most people spending their whole week doing that just to be able to pay bills and have a roof over their heads?

          • +1

            @91rs: He's willing to pay money to not cook and have some of his personal time back though. You're welcome to do so too if you wish?

          • +1

            @91rs: And these people that you know, how happy are they with the amount of free time they have in their life?

            Is it a badge of honour to show how little free time you have during weekdays?

            Time is the most valuable resource!

        • +4

          Where's the joy in the weekdays if it's just wake up, go to work, come home, cook, eat, clean up, watch one episode of TV, shower, sleep. Rinse and repeat 5 days a week. Living for the weekend makes for a stressful life in my opinion. I'm just trying to buy some of my time back by outsourcing a task that doesn't bring me joy.

          Don't think you quite get that outsourcing the cooking is not going to solve your problems…

        • +1

          Where's the joy in the weekdays if it's just wake up, go to work, come home, cook, eat, clean up, watch one episode of TV, shower, sleep

          Get a job with a shorter commute and shorter hours.

  • Advertise on Facebook for a live in AuPair, with the only duty being to cook! With the $300 per week offer you will get heaps of interest!

    • +1

      That's actually a pretty good idea, I'll see if my partner would be considerate of that. Although the whole live in aupair is a whole nother topic on its own..

  • +4

    I'm with the others posting here thinking why everyone is giving the OP a hard time. If you don't like cooking, then spend your time doing something else. If you have spare cash, then work out your cash/time opportunity cost. Cooking costs time or it costs money. Take your pick.

    There are certainly caterers around who do this. You haven't mentioned which part of Sydney you're in, but the ones I've heard of will have people pick up from their house or delivery locally, so it's for locals only unless you're willing to travel all the way across town to do a pick up.

  • +2

    Check out the company ‘I Hate cooking’ and see if they service your area 😊

  • There is plenty of variety with food delivery services, including healthy options. For 3-4 nights per week, could eat quite well with these.

  • +8

    I know a few asian friends who use daily home catering. Not quite like personal chef, but similar to 2-3 dishes of asian takeaway/delivery sent to your place every weeknights ($60 ~ $100/week). These are a couple of Indonesian food caterers that he recommended me awhile ago:

    • Thanks mate I'll have a look.
      I know of a friend of mine that told me that what I'm looking for already exists amongst the Chinese community by connecting people though WeChat. I'm not Chinese so I cant navigate the Mandarin/Cantonese language (or WeChat) so that option is not feasible for me.

      • +1

        MedanCiak is a restaurant business and has 2 outlets (in Surry Hills and Sydney CBD). Kristina catering is a professional catering service. They both can speak English and you don't need to be able to navigate Mandarin/Cantonese/Indonesian language to deal with them.

      • As 1ch1go said, these two groups look like proper businesses. They should be able to speak English and communicate via whatsapp/facebook - that friend who sent this to me can't speak Chinese and does not use WeChat.

        Probably these daily catering things are quite common among most asian countries? Though they probably only advertised them within their close circles / social media.

      • You probably need to seek out some local foodie groups for a certain cuisine to find the 'home kitchen setup' caterers. For example, here in Perth there's a group on FB 'Malaysian Food Lovers Perth' which many home cooks will advertise on. You should be able to get ready cooked meals for $6-$12 per person depending on how simple you want to go. For roast veggies, get those pre-prepared foil trays from your supermarket and put that in the oven. If you want things to be even quicker, get one of them 'turbo broiler' ovens which don't really need preheating.

      • +2

        Just because someone wants to pay for a service

        It's not much he's offering. 3-4 days (i.e. 4) of cooking for <$300.

        A dinner prep might take 3 hours or more. Assuming it's 3 hours, then 4 days x 3 hours = 12 hours for $300 = $25 per hour. If the meal prep takes longer, then the wage per hour decreases. Which days? Set days on contract or whenever he "feels" like it? No job security for the on-call cook. What about travel costs? For what? $25 per hour. $20 per hour for a part-time or full-time gig is a better "job deal".

        • I mean definitely, I said something similar in a comment further up. It's simply not financially worth it for whoever is doing the job so OP is very unlikely to find someone to do this.

          However that isn't the point of my comment, I'm saying people should stop bagging on OP just because they're wealthy and can afford to even think about hiring a private chef.

          The fact people think OP's motive is that they literally do not know how to boil a pot of water and cook in general and not just because OP wants to spend their time doing other things after a day of work than cooking. There's a reason why home services are so common and popular, because people actually want to use them and would rather pay than have to do something they don't enjoy - for OP this seems to be cooking and that's completely fair enough.

          • +1

            @Ajax45: Gotcha. Agreed. He's unlikely to find a decent cook to offer a meal that he would "value" at that price point.

          • @Ajax45: The problem is they AREN'T wealthy, $300 a week is not much for a chef when it means they won't be able to take meaningful work during the prime evening time. If you can afford it go for it, however $300 a week says they can't afford this luxury. What they can afford for that is delivery or some of the generic catering services (where you won't get the range of choice). So really they need to make a decision to go with something they can afford but won't ultimately be everything they want or suck it up and cook.

            The only other viable option is look for someone that needs accommodation in exchange for cooking duties. Really though that is a pretty big commitment but an option, but again you won't be getting a chef for that, just someone with some hopefully decent cooking skills.

        • +1

          3hrs for dinner prep each night? How many flipping courses are you making?
          Should be less than 30mins, eat for HR, chuck in dishwasher.

          • @EtherealArchelon:

            Should be less than 30mins

            What meal?

            • @concept: Maybe Chef was the wrong adjective. I'm not seeking a fully qualified chef to cook for 2 hrs a day, 4 days per week (I'm aware that no one qualified would actually take up my offer). In my mind I pictured an older (50+) person who want's to earn a bit of extra cash by providing their desire to cook and culinary skills in exchange for approx $300 for 4 days. Picture a European/Arab/Asian mother who's kids have finally moved out of their family home and there's only their spouse left to appreciate their cooking, I'm willing to pay her to do what she's previously done for the past 25-30 years for free!
              Assumption: person in above scenario enjoys cooking

              That's just one scenario that came to mind, not stating that I'm excluding others.

              • +9

                @Surfer Dude:

                Picture a European/Arab/Asian mother

                Ethnic mothers cook for their kids because it's a labour of love. They like seeing their kids eat and enjoying a meal. It takes them the entire day to prepare a meal or meals that they'd feel proud to present to their families.

                You're basically seeking to exploit someone in a financially insecure situation who might be desperate enough take up on your "offer". No ethnic child in their right mind would offer their mother to you. Offer the mother-cook a fair trade, otherwise just use Uber Eats like everyone else.

              • @EtherealArchelon: And you know these time guidelines are realistichow?

                You've tried them and have first hand experience, have you?

                And this hasn't even factored in the time/money spent to source the items.

                Jamie Oliver (professional chef) vs. ordinary person. Can you chop onions as quickly as Anthony Bourdain without amputating a finger?

                • @concept: There are plenty of meals out there that will take less than 1hr to make and if you cook enough then you have plenty to eat for the next few meals or to freeze so you don't need to spend another hr the next day. It's really not that hard. OP should have partnered better because I do all that in my relationship and actually enjoy it. I sure as hell don't slave every night for an hour though!

                  • +1

                    @lainey13: Yep, for sure, there are. My "cooking" means assembling canned stuff and pre-prepped items, which is very basic and quick! But what the OP is looking for is a "personal chef/cook." He's offering peanuts in exchange for a personalised service. I have a hunch that he's going to feel "entitled" to menu choices due to his (very cheap) outlay. He hasn't specified if it's just the cooking and cleaning processes he's paying for, or the groceries (shopping process and items) as well.

  • +4

    Move back in with parents, doesn't have to be your parents necessarily, just pick one with your taste in food.

    • +2

      Can I move in with Italians on Monday, Persians on Tuesday, Slavs on Wednesday and Thai on Thursday?
      Might cost more than $300 in fuel though ;)

  • +1

    Pm me, I can cook for you.

  • +1

    Me too. I can cook for you. 7 days/nights a week.

    Perfectly toasted artisanal bread with 'a la carte' menu of spreads and condiments. What would you like?

  • +3

    You are too busy self-educating to advance your careers and only willing to pay 300 bucks a week to outsource your most hated chore. That's a bit rich.

    On the minimum, lets say you are earning about 100-150 bucks an hour each. For the couple, 500k pre-tax and 300k post-tax. If you are earning less than this, start learning to cook like other poor people, and stop being a pompous ass.

    In that 300k post tax income, I'd it's fair to invest that 50k (1/6 of post tax income) for housekeeping/ cooking. So it works out to be about 1k a week. 4 nights at your house 3 hours each (2 hour cooking, 1 hour cleaning) i.e. 12 hrs a week (exclusive of travel and overheads). 1k/12 = 80$ an hour. This person would be earning less than you (on contractor basis even, no employee upkeep from you). That's a lot fairer I reckon.

    • -6

      I'm sorry, but no. $80 per hour is way more than some head chefs make (I'm not talking Michelin star restaurants) but certainly more than your local RSL's head chef.
      Your timing is way off BTW, I'd estimate that cooking dinner and tomorrow's lunch would be completed in about 2hrs (including clean-up).. So that's $37.5/h cash in hand for what some people can do with their eyes closed.

      I'm not saying I don't know how to cook, I'm choosing to outsource this one menial task that I don't see value in. Happy to clean, do gardening work, work on my own vehicles etc just don't want to have to cook.

      Besides this is OzBargain where we are all on $180k+ salaries with high yield investment vehicles aren't we? What's the point of asking for advice on a deals site for a private chef @$300 p/w (which I'd consider to be a deal) if I'm going to get told to bugger off and learn to cook?

      • I'd estimate that cooking dinner and tomorrow's lunch would be completed in about 2hrs (including clean-up)

        What meal would this be?

        • Grilled chicken with roast vegetables. Prep time 15 mins, cook time 45 mins, wash up 10-20 mins.

          Steaks with steamed vegetables & air fried chips: prept time 15 mins, cook time 30 mins, wash up 10-20 mins.

          That's two that come to mind. Whatever they make can be taken to work the next day, just needs to be made to serve 4 people (dinner & lunch next day).

          • +2

            @Surfer Dude: So this is factoring in that you've supplied your cook with the ingredients so that he/she doesn't have to spend time grocery shopping. I'm also factoring in that said veggies are pre-cut and pre-washed items (higher price point), unless you're happy to eat unwashed, un-peeled, and un-cut veggies with pesticide and bug faeces residue.

          • +2

            @Surfer Dude: This isn't consistent with your previous comment about "Can I move in with Italians on Monday, Persians on Tuesday, Slavs on Wednesday and Thai on Thursday?". It'll take more than 2hrs per day to come up with an interesting menu consisting of different cuisines everyday for weeks on end AND make it good too.

            • @star-ggg: That comment above was a joke about moving in with different parents and having the variety that comes with it. Modern Australian cuisine and experimenting with whatever specialty the cook is good at is fine with me. I wouldn't force the person to cook me good specific meals if they're not good at it..

      • +13

        How do you consider 300pw a deal. How much are you charging your employer for an hour of your time? Such a person needs to travel back and forth from your house, in the afternoon i.e. away from their own family time. They'd run the risk of you telling them their cooking sucks. For the extraordinary payment of 300 bucks pw, I'd assume you'd like something tasty with good mix of menu and be nutritional. Otherwise, offers from other ozbargainers cooking you rice and pasta all week seem appropriate .

        Make no doubt this is a catering service and personalised to just you and your partner. RSL head chef cook the same menu every (profanity) night. They do their jobs and go home, all other business aspects are handled by other people. They are employed the full 8-10 hours not just wasting time driving for 1-2 hours of work.

        We have employed home chef for our family party (this "chef" is not even chef, just a participant on My kitchen rules) and let me tell you it was far far more than 80 bucks an hour.

        This is not Hong Kong or Singapore where professional income far outstrip low-skill service worker. In order for this to work, you just need YOUR income to far outstrip the median income. If you are not on that income level, you are basically looking for some people you can rip-off and not paying the market price.

        P.S. I'm putting too much thought into this, this post is probably a troll post.

        • I'm not asking a Chef to quit their job and come work exclusively for me on a part time basis. Why would you assume that?

          My request is after business hours so if the chef's work requires them to work outside of the 9-5 business hours then this is not for them. Simple!

          • +6

            @Surfer Dude: I didn't assume that. I said you're not offering a fair market price for the service you require. Are you employing the chef as an employee or contracting his service for your requirement.

            If it's contracting he has to pay various catering licences, public indemnity insurance, workcover, administrative overhead etc 300pw doesn't quite cut it.
            For example, he could be mishandling the chicken and give you food poisoning. He has to have insurance when you sue the shit out of him. If you polish your floor and he falls and break his hip, he has to have workcover to get him thru the tough time.

            If you employ him, you need to meet various obligations as an employer to an employee on top of the 300 pw you're proposing. Spoilers: those extra cost aren't cheap.

            For 300 pw, you are looking for someone who doesn't know the rules to exploit. It would likely to work in this desperate time. It doesn't change the fact that it's an exploitation.

      • +5

        I'm sorry, but no. $80 per hour is way more than some head chefs make (I'm not talking Michelin star restaurants) but certainly more than your local RSL's head chef.

        it may be more than their hourly rate, but that is for a full time job, not a part time gig that takes a chunk out of their evening time and makes it unviable for them to have a fulltime evening chef job. I very much doubt an RSL Chef is going to trade his weekly job for your $300 a week part time job. That is the key problem you have here.

        i.e. your $300 a week is NOT a deal, it is bottom of the barrel only a desperate or retired chef would take till he could find something else sort of deal.

          • +8

            @Surfer Dude:

            If the chef/cook sees $300 cash in hand as a deal

            They won't. They may accept that price point if they're desperate enough. You're seeking to exploit someone.

            At that price point, you won't be evoking any "motherly love", so don't expect an enjoyable meal.

  • Check the Bill Simmons podcasts, Bill recently got a personal chef. It definitely wasn’t a public chef.

  • +1

    Very recently my partner and I faced the same situation. What we do is that to cook on Sunday for 6 meals - rice and curries (breakfast and lunch for the first three days of the week). On Wednesday night, cook for 4 meals (again breakfast and lunch for next two days). Since about 3-5 types of curries are prepared, we don't have to eat the same thing throughout the week. Dinner is prepared daily, something light and easy to make, such as wraps.

  • +1

    I’m not in to cooking either - I loath it. It is the chore of chores for me and I get no satisfaction from a meal that I had to prepare and cook no matter how delicious the outcome in theory could be.

    I have observed though (potentially incorrectly - not a big sample size) that those mates of mine that do frequently cook nice meals for their partners would appear to get more frequent rewards of another variety as a result of their Kitchen craftsmanship.

    • -2

      Being able to cook does make a guy look more attractive.

      That said, OP is a troll.

    • I have observed though (potentially incorrectly - not a big sample size) that those mates of mine that do frequently cook nice meals for their partners would appear to get more frequent rewards of another variety as a result of their Kitchen craftsmanship.

      Probably not 'as a result of their Kitchen craftmanship' but as a result of holding up their end of the whole 'partners' bargain by doing some work around the house.

  • +1

    You are not genuinely asking for advice you are trolling or satisfying your content with your current job to others. 8am - 6pm is even below the new norm these days of working hours. I am a consultant and I’m lucky to be home by 7pm and still there’s plenty of time to make dinner.

  • +2

    I did a local variant of muscle meals for a year due to being time poor and without adequate cooking facilities. I agree that they get pretty bland and repetitive.

    I found the some higher end butchers do really nice ready made meals like roasts, pizzas and hometsyle pies for a fairly reasonable price. Might be worth checking out your local area.

    Inb4 the demands for my licence, I crunched the numbers and I was saving more money doing it.

  • I’m sorry, but entitled much?
    $300/wk… I presume that’s just to cook for 3-4 dinners a week? That’s $75-$100 per meal for 2.
    My take out meals for 2 often average around $30-$40 for dinner, even less.
    And if you take 4 hours to prep for meals, damn it must be some fancy stuff you are cooking!

  • Big cook up on the weekend and freeze meals for the week or just get takeaway on the way home.

  • +1

    You're incredibly time poor if you can't cook your own meals between two people.

    Turn the TV off and make an effort.

    • I can, I don't get joy out of it, so want to outsource it to someone who will get joy and will accept the money I'm offering.

  • +1

    I didn't check for more examples but here's one I found on Youtube:
    "I Get Paid To Meal Prep For A Family Of 7"

    Not sure if above is of any help to OP or anyone else but just an idea that people are doing something similar as to what OP is requesting.
    As someone mentioned above, Airtasker would be the place I'd go to ask if anyone offers this service.

  • Look on fb marketplace and buy meals and pickup hot on the way home. Pre cook rice and your done!
    I’m fortunate to be close to an Asian suburb which have a lot of home cooked meals that I buy, go home, slap on some rice and eat

  • -1

    Learn how to slow cook (and pick up a recipe book for inspiration). Set in the morning before you go to work and dinner is ready when you return. You get to choose what you want to eat too.

  • For $300 a week you may as well buy takeout like the half of Australia.

    It's not about learning to cook, it's all about being efficient with time.

    I can cook a tasty meal in 30-45mins and have enough leftover for lunch at work for the next day or two.

    I guess we all have different priorities. I'd recommend experiment with cooking and you'll see it's quite fun, can be fast, tasty and you can control your own nutrition.

  • +2

    Any "home kitchen" making meals for commercial profit would be as unhealthy as any takeaway. To increase profits, you have to increase your customer base. The only consistent method to make a meal cheap and popular to the most ppl is to add plenty of salt, fat and sugar. The other way is to invest time squeezing umami out of whole ingredients (eg making customs stock from scratch) which isn't going to be cheap.

  • +3

    In your case, try a different takeaway every night.

    We work more hours then you, same issue. Our Sundays are generally spent meal prepping, we bought an extra freezer and we each batch cook a couple of bulk meals, portion them up and freeze them.

    Last week I did Lasagne, made 8 serves, took about an hour. My wife did a Thai Curry, made about 10 serves. Do that every weekend and soon you have a freezer full of home cooked meals, some fast cooking carbs (rice/pasta etc) and some steamed veggie packets and you are away. Super easy !

    • So you only have Saturday free for leisure activities?

      I'm curious, if you're at the same stage as me, why have you not sought to outsource some of the time sapping menial tasks so you're free to pursue other activities on weekdays and weekends?

      Four days off a month is barely enough to see friends & family let alone doing all the other chores life throws at you. When do you find time for just being with your partner with no other obligations & distractions?

      • +7

        I'm pretty much in the same situation as you and I can answer this.

        So you only have Saturday free for leisure activities?

        I think you need to have a think about your life and whether you enjoy what you are doing for work. If you feel that your work is negative to the point where you "need" leisure time, I think it's time to find a new job.

        I realised this when I got out of uni, got into a job where I worked full time, and found that I never had any time to do the things that I enjoyed, switched careers, found a job that I enjoy and I feel that I'm now happier and I genuinely have fun at work and never find that I'm strapped for leisure time outside of work despite working the same number of hours.

        I'm curious, if you're at the same stage as me, why have you not sought to outsource some of the time sapping menial tasks so you're free to pursue other activities on weekdays and weekends?

        What other activities do you wish to pursue?

        I agree that you can outsource things, but at some point, the time that you spend trying to outsource things becomes more stressful and time-consuming than just doing them yourself. There's also the argument that learning to do new things can be fun.

        For example, I service my own cars. Can I get someone else to do it? Sure. Does that make economical sense? Sure. But I generally enjoy doing it and find that it's a good way of having some time to myself.

        When do you find time for just being with your partner with no other obligations & distractions?

        Again, if you're asking this question, I find that you're probably doing life wrong. Outsourcing things is not going to solve your problem. You can outsource the cooking, but it won't solve the fundamental issues you're currently facing. The reason why you're getting dunked on here is not because you want to outsource the cooking, it's that you show a lack of perspective about what your fundamental problems are and how you're going to solve them.

        Anyway, that's just my two cents. You can outsource the cooking, it might make you happy for a while, but you'll continue to face the same problems until you address the underlying cause.

      • We have a couple of kids, a 4 bedroom house to maintain and all the rest of life to do as well. Lifes busy in this phase but a good busy.

        It doesn't take long, just a couple of hours on a Sunday, and cooking yourself healthy food is relaxing and good to do. Put on a podcast and prep, before you know it you have a freezer full of quality food that you like… personally we are early risers so we've often got this done by 9.30am on a Sunday morning with the rest of the day free.

  • +1

    I work 8-7pm and still able to whip something half-decent for dinner and go to the gym (before covid restrictions closed them). Maybe you should sleep less?

    • I assume you go to the gym for health. It would be healthier to sleep properly. Alarm clocks are far newer than our bodies.

      • Gym is a routine for me to the point that I don't go thinking purely about the health benefits. I've always been told about the ideal 8 hour sleep being the most beneficial for long term health but since university I've always slept about 6 hours a night. To me it's more than enough but who knows this will change with age.

        • +2

          Our society is chronically underslept, this is adding to the mental health problems, decrease in productivity, etc. Do what works for you, however, it is 99% likely that you should sleep as much as you need naturally without alarm clocks. That said, try not to advise other people to do the same because this perception that a full nights sleep is lazy is really hurting us. Work smarter not harder. Older people tend to need less, not more. This causes problems when you have management who sleep less, have less family responsibilities, exercise less, focus less on relationships and live closer to work yet expect their younger employees to work 12 hours a day.

  • +1

    Asian - for $300 a week
    plus Can cook more Aussie pub meals like lamb roast or steak nights

    Lots of vegetables, steamed dim sims, steam rice, curry dishes, steamed fish with scallion, air fry chicken, simple wonton noodle soups, spring rolls, breast chicken and veg, satay, Garlic bread, pepper steak and mushrooms, slow cooked pork, beef, and lamb, thai prawn fried rice, Garlic Scallops.

    Yep, I could do it for $300 a week !

    • If you're serious PM me pls. Your profile shows you're in TAS though..

  • My Mrs would do it for $300 a week, just enjoys cooking. In Adelaide though.

  • +1

    Buy a 2KG of Maggi Gravey Mix, you can use it as a beef stock to add more flavour !

    Also, it so simple and delioucs and easy to make as a gravey sauce.

  • Use frozen seafood, frozen duck, frozen pork, frozen steak, frozen veg

    as its much cheaper than fresh

    if you're not in a hurry and have 1 hour

  • +2

    This pops up on my FB feed if you like viet food. They are owned by I Love Pho/La Sen Restaurants

  • +3

    Where do you live ? First night would be hot dog night ..second night would be sausage roll night and third night would be egg and bacon night

  • +6

    I am actually baffled at how many people i know who have this problem.

    I would suggest you do what my household does, when its a busy week, literally hop in the car and drive to 4-5 different restaurants and get takeout enough for 3-4 days. Invest into a quality microwave(makes a worlds difference) and extra bins for the weekly collection and you're set. If you're extra lazy, you can do Ubereats and just get maybe $80 worth of food and pay the $5 delivery.

    Also, to be extra economical, we sometimes make extra carbs or easy to make/freeze side dishes once a month. For example, I love having Beef Noodles on a cold night, so i would make sure to make extra portion of noodles which is literally just boiling water, and I always have a side of roast beef which I literally just go to the local butcher and ask for something I can throw in the oven without seasoning/prep. Essentially, I can turn a one portion $15 beef noodle dish into enough for 2 and 1/2 by maybe 20 mins of work a week and an extra $3-$4.

    Really not hard once you get into it, I rarely ever cook or have to clean anymore and my weekly food bill on a busy week is usually less than $200 for 2 people and that's having every meal being rather varied. The only thing i'm conscious about is all the single used plastics and garbage i'm throwing.

  • +11

    Ignore the negative comments from people who may not have exposure to such services, but the answer to your question is Gumtree, Facebook and AirTasker.

    An average person who knows decent cooking can visit your place for 2-2.5 hrs, 4-5 times a week and at the rate of $25/hr, weekly budget of $300 should be enough. $25/hr isn't a bad wage especially for someone who i) has spare time, or ii) has no full-time job or doesn't want it, or iii) visits several places like yours in a day to cook.

    While above is possible, I am not sure if there are many hardworking people who do this as they end up wasting a lot of their time in travelling to different homes, buying stuff (if it's their responsibility), etc. However, the alternative business model, which is much more efficient and cheaper, is totally possible - i.e. they cook at their own place (fixed menu every day) and you can pick up every night (or they supply if they have enough # of customers in an area). This is not an uncommon model at all - typically housewives run this business from home and more family members join as it expands. I didn't need this service here in Aus, but in the UK we had tried some such homemade fresh food suppliers who mainly supplied Indian food and occasionally tried those that supplied Vietnamese food too. Due to lack of reviews, one had to try some options and then stick to one or two best ones. A lot of young professionals, students, young couples, etc would collect food from their places every evening (we had to pre-order in the morning after seeing that day's menu). I didn't explore options for English food per se and I doubt if they existed but for some other cuisines, there were many suppliers who were typically in the suburbs with high population of the respective immigrant communities. I won't be surprised if something similar exists here but at worst, such options could be far from your place e.g. Cabramatta or Parramatta regions if you talk about Sydney. Gumtree and Facebook groups are good places to start your search - try with different keywords. With the current speed of life (particularly with stressful jobs), your problem isn't uncommon at all. All the best!

    • +1

      Thank you for your understanding mate. I'll take your suggestions into consideration.

  • +4

    I relate in some ways. My wife and I are in our late 20's and have spent a huge amount of time and effort in our careers. I work similar hours and often the last thing you want to do when you get home is more chores.

    As people have said. You either invest in the money or you just have to make your workflow more efficient

    Here's some tips, some of which people have already stated

    1. Batch cook, this only works for specific types of food that can store/freeze well
    2. Get a great dishwasher. We invested in a top of the line Bosch dishwasher which can take huge abuse. We just put everything in without needing to rinse, means we can load everything in literally 1-2 minutes. This has been a game changer in many ways.
    3. Think of cooking as a skill you develop. If you have a growth mindset, it'll help you get over the tedium of it and make you faster at it.

    For not having to cook alternatives
    1. Caterers: as someone said, there are some Asian caterers who will cook meals for the entire week for a reasonably low price (<$300) but whether its to your standards and health; that's another question. I would try caterers as a first port of call
    2. House keepers / au pairs: $2-300 a day and upwards.

    Finally as an aside, invest in a cleaner who comes in once a week/fortnight to clean your house if you haven't already. We've done this and it has been a game changer. The load it takes off you, might make you want to cook again.

    • +2

      Thanks for your reply. We have considered the live in AuPair as someone suggested it yesterday but we're not sure that we're ready to share our house with someone else. Might consider it if we move to a house that's two storey and the AuPair has accommodation downstairs and doesn't come into our sleeping quarters uninvited, but a 2 storey house is overkill for a childless couple.

      Funnily enough the cleaning is not an issue for us, it's actually therapeutic/relaxing in a way.

  • +2

    there are lots of people in gumtree / facebook who cook fresh meals in my suburb, reasonable price. worth a try i guess by searching in ur area

  • +5

    As a person who was in the exact same scenario until 12mo ago (double high income, working long hours leaving at 6am and returning at 6pm+, commuting, etc) I still can't quite fathom how you're unable to feed yourselves? Everyone is busy! We have a little baby now, and that makes it even more important to be prepared with chopped vegies from the previous night, cook a double batch of food, etc

    TBH sounds like you just need to learn to look after yourself - do you also make the same excuse for doing laundry, cleaning the house, etc? You'd be better off hiring someone to do that kind of menial work, and do the cooking yourselves.

    And explore other options with your food! Noone needs to cook a 3course meal every night. We just got good at understanding what meals could be made quickly and easily. I'm drawing a bit of a blank of all of the ones we make regularly
    - barramundi, green beans, and coconut + rice. Throw it all in the pan, and let it cook.
    - morrocan chicken in the pressure cooker - chicken, veg, tomato, spices, water. Turn on the cooker, and let it cook
    - Guinness beef and vegies - same as above but brown some beef first, add a 500ml can of guiness, turn on the cooker, and let it cook
    - home made beef burgers - mush ingredients together (or just use straight mince), form a patty, then stick under the grill.
    - any kind of gnocchi - mushrooms, garlic, butter, maybe some basil. Again, doesn't require a lot of time and effort. You can buy pre-sliced veg
    - anything soup

    I don't quite understand how cooking together isn't an option. It's a good way to do some mindless work while having a glass of wine and chat about your day. One person preps vegies, the other one cooks them.

    • +1

      Thanks Jelly. Repetitive/routine cooking has always been a displeasing activity for us. Weekend or special occasion cooking is not a problem, but the Monday to Thursday dinner cooking is not enjoyable. I want to give this a crack so I can at least say I've tried it; no one that I know has utilised a service like the one I'm seeking so I want to try it for three months or so then reassess. It will have implications for both of us going forward if/when we decide to have children, cant imagine that it'd be much fun for the parent having to look after a newborn 24/7 and have dinner sorted by the time their spouse comes home especially if you already don't enjoy everyday cooking

      • +1

        Yeah i get that not everyone likes cooking. I'm fairly 50:50 on it, i don't much care for the process, but i do enjoy eating haha

        I've never known anyone who uses this kind of service in Australia. Overseas (India, UAE) it's super common but it relies on their being a lower class of people available to fill that gap. Otherwise it's really cost prohibitive

        • Well it takes probably aroudn 1 hour of your time and effort- if you're working full time and you can do it why not…similar to why ppl have nannies, cleaners etc

  • +2

    Dunno if you're near a Costco but they often have bulk pre-made foods you could use for part of the week. Short expiry is all you have to keep in mind.
    Pizzas, Enchiladas, various asian meals with meat and veggies read to drop in a pan and cook. Many already in foil containers you can cook them in and then dispose so you don't have to deal with more mess than necessary
    If it's enough to buy a few of these kind of pre-made meals for the week, look on fb and gumtree for people locally making Asian, Indian and other meals you can also plan to pickup during the week for another couple meals then that's enough to get you to the weekend?

  • If not a troll post and OP really is that lazy or prioritising other things to cook up a meal across 2 people, then at least do some of the struggling people are favour and "hire" one of the chefs or kitchen hands now out of a job.

    • +3

      Feel free to recommend where I can seek out these struggling chefs or kitchen hands short of advertising on Seek. I'm genuinely asking.

      Not to sound cynical, but if what I'm offering will only tie them over in the interim until their usual place of work re-opens, then once they go back to their usual job I'm once again left with the same problem.

    • +3

      ppl hire out lots of things, cleaning, pet grooming, hair cutting,

      so why not cooking? It's not always being lazy bud

      • +1

        Because OP originally framed it as the not enough time conundrum, which people are obviously going to call BS and laugh at him about.

        That really does come off as a worse #firstworldproblem rather than just straight up saying what he said in a later comment about not wanting to be stressed about food, living an easier life, blah blah blah. Sounding "rich" is better than sounding dumb (which playing it off as a time issue every other person faces will do).

        • it's a first world problem but so is using toilet paper, grooming your pet, finding someone to clean

          i agree though OP could have sounded it better by saying something like He would want some days where he can pay for a home cooked meal instead lol

          • @funnysht: Finding someone to clean isn't a first world problem. Servants/ maids (cleaners, drivers, cooks etc) are far more common in countries with relatively lower cost of living, including in Singapore, HK, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, UAE, and so on.

            • -1

              @virhlpool: "Servants/ maids (cleaners, drivers, cooks etc)"

              All things i'd be steering well clear of if I were a white guy in today's woke society where at some stage you're gonna be crucified for some kind of implied injustice or "ism" in the future. Especially when it involves having other people do things for you.

    • +3

      Op is in their 30s and can afford to pay for people to do housework. That doesn’t sound like someone that is lazy but rather someone that is successful in what they do.

      • Call it priorities, call it well off, call it whatever you want in the end.
        Like any deal posted here people are free to have free an opinion of they think it is "value" or not. If you think it's success, then good on ya …

        Plenty of comments already about what the OP could do themselves, but if not, then yeah just saying it's a good time to help someone out.

  • +2

    Hey OP…lot of hate but ignore….ppl don't understand sometimes you value your personal time more to relax after work and enjoy than spending time cooking- some days of the week anyway
    ppl hire out nannies, cleaners, pet groomers, moving, diy stuff. etc

    it all depends on what type of cuisine- there are a lot of indian private cooks who can cook and bring you the food for relatively cheap- im not too sure where you find them prob on gumtree or airtasker- i would trust airtasker more than gumtree.