Chicago, IL

Save some time in the kitchen this Thanksgiving and buy a home-cooked meal instead of making one

Jennifer Geer

If your idea of a fun Thanksgiving does not involve slaving over a hot stove, how about hiring someone to make your meal and deliver it to you?

Preparing an entire Thanksgiving meal for a crowd is stressful. You've got multiple dishes, different cooking times, and the stress of trying to get a turkey to come out at the same time as everything else.

If you've ever tried making a whole turkey, you know that is not an easy feat.

If you really don't want to cook it yourself, you can always get your meal catered by restaurants. But there are times, like on Thanksgiving, when all you want is a homecooked meal.

Enter Shef, the platform that brings homemade food to your door.

What is Shef?

Shef is a platform that connects you with local cooks in the Chicago area offering homemade meals. If you've ever been envious of celebrities with access to their own, personal chefs, now is your chance at an affordable price.

The company was founded in 2019 by first-generation Americans Alvin Salehi and Joey Grassia.
(Photo courtesy of Shef)

How does Shef work?

  1. Head to the website at
  2. Enter your zip code to start your search. Shef is available in multiple cities across the U.S. and has just expanded its market to include Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, according to a news release.
  3. Choose your shef.
  4. Order your dishes.
  5. Pick your delivery date. You have to order in advance because the cooks need time to shop for fresh ingredients.
  6. Your food will be delivered to you refrigerated and only needing to be reheated.

What kind of food can you get in Chicago?

I entered a Chicago zip code and scrolled down to "Thanksgiving Specials" to see what shefs and dishes were available in this area.

One of the first options I found was "Shef Maggie's Menu." Shef Maggie has been rated five stars from 164 reviews and she says on the website, "for the past 10 years, I have had the privilege to be mentored and work alongside extraordinary Chicago chefs."

Maggie offers a Large Thanksgiving Dinner that feeds six to eight people for $229.99. In Maggie's full meal, you will get items such as sliced lemon-herb turkey breast, garlic almond green beans, and cranberry apple pecan stuffing. You can also buy dishes separately.

This is only one example. There were many choices among Chicago shefs. You can check out the star ratings and see how many customers have left reviews before you buy.

What if I don't want a traditional Thanksgiving dinner?

You will find plenty of American, comfort, and southern choices for a Thanksgiving meal in Chicago. However, if you want something different, there are many different cultural options as well including meals from cooks offering Mexican, Italian, Indian, Jamaican, and Pakistani cuisines.

According to a news release, "Shef's community of cooks come from a variety of backgrounds and create dishes similar to what they'd serve to their own family and friends using fresh, wholesome ingredients. Customers can order from their favorite shefs and enjoy authentic, homemade cuisine that they may not otherwise have access to in their neighborhoods."

If you're interested in cooking for Shef you can get started by applying on the website. Shef currently has over 16,000 applicants nationwide on a waitlist.

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Jennifer covers lifestyle content and local news for the Chicago area.

Chicago, IL

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