Mark St. Clair’s Chefs for Seniors Provides Nutritious Meals and Good Company
As the owner of the Chefs for Seniors franchise in Volusia and Flagler counties, Mark St. Clair prepares meals for seniors. But while programs like Meals on Wheels deliver meals to homes, St. Clair delivers the chef.
St. Clair buys the groceries, takes them to his customers’ homes and prepares four different meals, a total of 14 to 16 servings, in their kitchens.
“It’s a pretty unique service,” said St. Clair, 60. “I was actually looking for a business plan online to start a personal chef business and Chefs for Seniors kept talking. They are amazing people. I set up a business plan for them and after several months , I got the franchise. “
St. Clair opened his business in June. He has several clients in the Palm Coast and Ormond Beach areas. It begins with a free consultation in people’s homes, discussing dietary needs, health restrictions and tastes and planning a menu.
“We’re focusing on their big meal for the day,” said St. Clair. “The concept is to keep them healthy. Nutritious, quality food actually helps older people stay in their homes longer.
St. Clair, which has a ServeSafe certification, charges $ 149 on top of the cost of groceries for its typical service that provides meals for two for about a week or meals for one for about two weeks.
He brings groceries and his own equipment and spends about two and a half hours at home. He packages and labels meals with heating instructions and stores them in his client’s freezer and refrigerator.
It offers a $ 20 discount for each of the first two services if a customer commits to two services because often adjustments are made after the first service according to their tastes.
St. Clair said some of his customers are 55 and some 95. Some like to chat while cooking, some don’t. For some, socialization is as important as the meals themselves, he said. People use the service for different reasons.
“Some people, like a man whose wife has died, just never cooked,” said St. Clair. “Some just can’t get out.”
Barrett Allman and his son, Nathan Allman, started Chefs for Seniors in 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin. The company now has 60 franchises nationwide, in addition to St. Clair’s.
St. Clair doesn’t have any professional training as a chef, but said that was the job he was supposed to do.
“My mom was a wonderful cook, and that sparked my love for cooking,” he said. “I love to cook and I love helping people. I don’t feel like I’m working.”
St. Clair plans to hire two more chefs as his business grows.
“They don’t need to be trained leaders,” he said. “They just need to love cooking, appreciating old people, and being kind.”