Busy professionals may be able to stand the heat, but that doesn't mean they have any desire to get into the kitchen after the workday is through. To the contrary, there's often precious little energy or time left over to expend on preparing the evening meal. Rather than microwaving bland TV dinners or heading out to restaurants, however, these professionals are increasingly opting for pre-prepared meals to be enjoyed at home.
Pioneered by home-style fast-food chain Boston Market, the home-meal replacement industry is cooking up a storm. In addition to the grocery stores and restaurants offering packaged foods to go, some 1,000 personal chef businesses throughout North America are tasting success. Perhaps even more impressive, David MacKay at the U.S. Personal Chef Association projects the number of personal chef businesses will increase fivefold in the next five years.
"It's still in its infancy," says MacKay of his industry's prospects. "It's just begun to grow."
As have grocery store/restaurant hybrids like Eatzi's in Texas. Considering the majority of consumer food dollars are spent on meals prepared away from home, it's clear that the modern-day definition of home-cooked meals are meals meant for eating at home-but prepared by someone else. Hey, we're not complaining.