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Some People Are Still Hiring Private In-House Chefs During Coronavirus

Plus, Greenpoint Vietnamese restaurant Di An Di is now delivering spicy crawfish dinners — and more intel

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A chef uses a knife to cut carrots, with a pan in the foreground. Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Some rich New Yorkers are hiring private in-house chefs during coronavirus

In a city besieged by food access issues and grocery delivery delays, some rich New Yorkers have just decided to say fuck it and hire private in-house chefs. A new report from the Post details a trend in which wealthy New Yorkers are hiring out-of-business caterers and recently unemployed chefs to do their grocery shopping and home cooking.

Private companies have popped up across New York City connecting prospective clients with private home chefs. At new start-up WoodSpoon, where meals can cost as much as $40 each, clients can shop from a list of 60 “home personalized chefs,” with information on their specialties and work history. Likewise, private cooking company the Culinistas has reported new demand for its chefs, who charge as much as $250 before groceries and come with experience from restaurants like Carbone. “When people thought that this lockdown was going to be a few weeks, they were OK with takeout or cooking,” Culinistas co-founder Tiana Tenet says. “Now that they’re realizing that this could go on for a few months, they’re looking to outside help.”

The obvious question is, of course, health: Some of the chefs are cooking in their own kitchens and dropping off prepared meals, but others, like the ones at Culinistas, are shopping for groceries ahead of time and cooking inside clients’ homes. Tenet says that clients are in other rooms or leave the home while the chef is there, and all staffers are required to wear masks and gloves, with Tenet calling it “much more sanitary and safer.”

And these people are far from the only New Yorkers willing to risk their health for luxe food. Earlier in the pandemic, both delivery people and customers waiting for takeout crowded outside of Carbone in hopes of getting $69 veal parm.

In other news:

— Greenpoint Vietnamese restaurant Di An Di is offering a limited number of crawfish dinners starting this week. The delivery meal comes with two pounds of crawfish, four shrimp, and a piece of kielbasa cooked with potatoes, mushroom, onion, and corn, all tossed in a lemongrass and garlic butter sauce. Takeout or delivery can be ordered through this website, though the crawfish dinners sell out early.

— Fast-casual Chinese restaurant Junzi Kitchen is hosting its fourth Distance Dining event this evening. This week’s menu, themed Chinese-Japanese, can be ordered through Eventbrite for $28 per person. Diners can follow along on the restaurant’s Instagram page as chef Lucas Sin leads instruction on plating.

— Fany Gerson’s popular Mexican-style bakery La Newyorkina is launching a delivery-only brother restaurant called El Newyorkino. The menu, which is posted to the restaurant’s website every Wednesday, includes savory snacks and DIY paleta-, ice cream sandwich-, and concha-making kits.

— Greenpoint bar Ponyboy is selling bottled cocktails with labels illustrated by local artists. Bottles cost $50 and come with a choice of five cocktails. Check the bar’s Instagram page for daily pick-up hours and availability.

— Veteran journalist Stephen Henderson has documented his experience cooking in charitable kitchens around the globe in a new book called The 24-Hour Soup Kitchen. Proceeds from the book will be donated to the Food Bank for New York City, a spokesperson for the author says.

— Popular Dumbo ice cream spot Oddfellows is taking orders for its wine and ice cream care packages until 2 p.m. this afternoon. The ice cream shop said in announcement that the sales will be donated to the Oddfellows Employee Relief Fund.

— Mister Softee ice cream trucks have voted to suspend sales in some parts of the city, but roughly 10 trucks in Brooklyn are still hitting the streets each day.

— Us choosing which black bean to eat last: