L.A. Chef Will Cook For Rent

Over the past year or so, we've seen the economy drive people to offer all kinds of services in exchange for free or reduced rent. But would you be willing to rent a room in your house in exchange for your own personal chef?

That's the promising-sounding offer being made by one L.A.-area chef, and though a live-in chef sounds tempting, I couldn't help but wonder if the deal would still have legs once all the numbers were crunched.


The ad promises 4 nights of "great/healthy" dinners each week, with the Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef picking up the tab for the groceries. A quick look at the numbers...

  • Average food spend per person per week in L.A. is $121.42
  • Assume that 40 percent of that goes to 7 nights of dinners, that's $48.57
  • Prorate that amount over just 4 dinners, and it's $27.75
  • Assume the chef shares the rental with 2 roommates, buying them a total of $55.50 in groceries each week, or $222.00 each month (although she doesn't specify in the ad how many people are covered by her offer, or if her costs go up incrementally with each roommate).
  • Assume her time is worth the area average of $19.61 per hour, and she spends 1.5 hours cooking each night for 16 nights per month, for a total time expenditure of $470.64
  • Total time / hard costs incurred by chef: $692.64

Considering that most of the Hollywood-area roommate ads on Craigslist start around the $800 range, it's not exactly an even trade - but if you're a hopeless cook who's tired of eating jarred spaghetti every night, it might be an ideal situation.

Though it might give you pause (or not) that the ad is in the Personals >> Women Seeking Men category rather than in the Roommates section.

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