Private Chef Pivots to High-End Meal Kits After "Large Drop-Off" of Work in the Field

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Jason McKinney has launched food delivery company Truffle Shuffle: "Some clients discovered they love being in their kitchens."

Hollywood's elite are baking bread and nurturing herb gardens. One result: Private chefs have lost work, says The Help Company's Claudia Kahn. "The chef category has seen a large drop-off," she says. "It's not just concern about people in the home; some clients discovered they love being in their kitchens."

Private chefs have pivoted to dropping off prepared dishes or meal kits. After the cancellation of private-chef gigs in L.A. and San Francisco, chef Jason McKinney launched meal-kit service Truffle Shuffle, which he runs with his wife, sommelier Sarah McKinney, and fellow chef Tyler Vorce. The company, which ships nationally ($85 to $150), hosts online cooking classes to demonstrate recipes. Participants have included Teri Hatcher and NFL legend Ronnie Lott. For each class entry sold, Truffle Shuffle prepares and donates a meal for a frontline healthcare worker.

"It started in March when we had 20 pounds of truffles worth about $20,000 and nowhere to sell them," McKinney recalls. Five months later, Truffle Shuffle is shipping 700 two-person meal experiences each week and has hired 11 out-of-work chefs. 

This story first appeared in the Aug. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.