Magazine article Aging Today

Chefs for Seniors Cooks Up Nourishing Food-And Caring Conversation

Magazine article Aging Today

Chefs for Seniors Cooks Up Nourishing Food-And Caring Conversation

Article excerpt

Though the idea that Millennials are an entitled, narcissistic generation is bandied about in the media on a regular basis, this label clearly does not apply to Nathan Allman, age 22. In 2013, as a junior at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Nathan entered a business plan in the University's G. Steven Burrill Business Plan Competition and was a top finisher. That same year, he and his dad, Barrett Allman, who has 25 years of experience as a professional chef, co-founded that business, calling it Chefs for Seniors (

Chefs for Seniors is a service that hires a staff of chefs to plan nutritious meals, shop for them and cook them in the client's home. Their service market concentrates on older adults living independently in their own homes, who often are unable to cook for themselves.

As quickly as the two Allmans began the company they started to turn a profit, as there is little overhead: from their years of owning restaurants, they have a never-ending inventory of cooking equipment-and an impressive backlog of experience (Nathan began buttering toast in his parents' restaurants at age 7, manned the grill as he grew older and kept on cooking, he says).

The Business Basics

Chefs for Seniors employs six chefs and pays them about $15 an hour. "For chefs, this is a great alternative to [other] food service [settings], where they [might] work until midnight or 1 a.m., and it's exhausting," says Nathan. "They can work normal daytime hours, have more flexibility in their schedules and feel like they're giving back to the community."

All the chefs are culinary school graduates, with extensive experience in the restaurant industry, where they're trained to work quickly and efficiently. They're also licensed with the state health department to handle food, and they undergo extensive background checks. Most importantly, says Nathan, their chefs must share "our mission to help seniors stay in their homes."

Their chefs also grocery shop, so the business is "vertically integrated through the chefs," Nathan says. With expansion, Chefs for Seniors may end up hiring other employees for this task, but for now, it's a one-person process from shopping to clean-up.

Menus are custom-designed according to clients' dietary needs and preferences, always with an eye toward optimum nutritional value, in keeping with what older adults require. Chefs can accommodate a low-sodium or diabetic diet or other special requests. Clients' needs vary: some want 21 meals prepared for the week, others just five or six dinners. Often, Chefs for Seniors is called in to help people recovering from surgery, who only need the service short term. The service works with dietitians through hospitals and clinics on meal plans for patients, and is likely hiring an in-house dietitian in the future.

The company charges a $15 flat-rate fee for grocery shopping, plus about $25 and $40 per week for groceries for a single person, or $40 to $60 for a couple. It costs $34 an hour for chefs' in-home cooking time, which is generally about one and a half to two hours per visit, and which yields 10 to 12 meals-split between dinners and lunches. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.