A personal chef for $96/week in Birmingham? It’s true. I tried it. Learn more about Eryka Perry’s Not Just Catering

Chef and owner Eryka Perry of Not Just Catering will wow you right away with her positive attitude and gameplan to kickstart your healthy lifestyle! Photo submitted

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Chef and owner Eryka Perry of Not Just Catering will wow you right away with her positive attitude and gameplan to kickstart your healthy lifestyle! Photo submitted
Chef and owner Eryka Perry of Not Just Catering will wow you right away with her positive attitude and gameplan to kickstart your healthy lifestyle! (Photo by Jae the El Photography)

For $96/week, you can have your very own personal chef. Yes, you’re reading that right. For a little less than $100 (plus the cost of groceries) the folks over at Not Just Catering will cook in your home and leave your fridge stocked with three fresh, healthy meals. They’ll even clean up. Want to know more about the company making personal chef experience affordable? Read on!  

When Eryka Perry started Not Just Catering five years ago, she knew—hence the name—she wanted her culinary business to encompass more than just cooking food for people. She wanted it to be a lifestyle business, something that her customers could take with them after finishing one of her meals.

Some of Not Just Catering's work deliciously colorful food art. (Photo courtesy of Jae the El Photography)
Collard green ravioli with pecan browned butter and cornbread croutons from Not Just Catering.(Photo courtesy of Jae the El Photography)

With Not Just Catering’s expert health coaching, private chef program and menu consultation service, Perry has done just that.

“Our goal is to really bring people back to the table, and show them what a healthy lifestyle looks like. We focus our meal planning and cooking around colorful, healthy foods and the importance of getting out and moving more, it’s a full spectrum experience.”

Eryka Perry, Founder of Not Just Catering 
Perry plating a dish at a culinary event. (Photo by Jae the El photography)
Perry plating a dish at a culinary event. (Photo by Jae the El photography)

Not Just Catering serves the Birmingham metro area, focusing on certain areas of town each day to efficiently serve their growing clientele. Some of Not Just Catering’s services include:

  • In-home personal chef services
  • Wedding concierge service
  • Health coaching
  • Lunch and learns
  • Cooking classes
  • Event planning

How the In-Home Personal Chef Service Works

The menus, tailor-made for each customer weekly, are curated by an in-depth questionnaire of likes, dislikes and health goals. From the questionnaire, Perry and her team then make a weekly meal plan for each customer. They arrive on a pre-planned day, with fresh, seasonal groceries in tow, and get right to work. You don’t even need to be there! They’ll leave everything packaged and ready to serve in the fridge if you’re still at work.  

I had to try this service, of course.  Here’s what happened:

Here’s the thing. Nobody paid me to try out the Not Just Catering services. I did that on my own after talking with Perry about her business. As a busy mom of two with a long commute, Perry’s traveling chef service seemed like the answer to many a dinnertime prayer. After all, it’s tough getting dinner on the table after traveling the entirety of 280 in rush hour traffic from downtown to Chelsea. Crock Pots can only do so much.

I was very down to fork over the $96 plus the cost of groceries if it meant serving my family something other than frozen lasagna. I filled out the five-minute questionnaire and got a response and a meal plan the next day.

Vegetable medley complete with brussel sprouts and purple carrots. Y'all. SO GOOD!  (Photo by Jae the El Photography)
ourbon braised short ribs with fried sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts topped with green tomato butter. Y’all. SO GOOD! (Photo by Jae the El Photography)

Coincidentally, I came down with the flu a couple of days before Perry was set to cook at my house, so she had to do all food prepping elsewhere. (Bc, germs.) She arrived with a smile on her face and sack full of home-cooked meals ready for my crew. She also included a little bottle of her homemade flu remedy that I’m convinced allowed me to live to see another day. It’s the little things!

The food was packaged family style and was absolutely amazing. Even the picky kiddos enjoyed the food, which is a downright miracle in itself.

Lump crabcakes with seaweed and cilantro salad with fresh avocado. Photo by Jae the El photography
Lump crabcakes with seaweed and cilantro salad with fresh avocado and rice crisp. (Photo by Jae the El Photography)

This is what we had:

  • Jambalaya
  • Stuffed peppers on a bed of seasonal greens and veggies
  • Chicken spaghetti with zoodles

10/10— we will be using Not Just Catering on the regular moving forward!

Dessert. (Photo by Jae the El Photography)

About Eryka Perry at Not Just Catering

Perry went to school to be in the medical field but found herself with a culinary arts degree after a twist of fate landed her a scholarship in the culinary program.

“I kept noticing that there was a connection in my interests to the science and nutrition I was studying in school to the cooking at culinary school I was doing on the weekend,” she said. “So I opted to combine the two.”

A few years later she started Not Just Catering, dabbling in personal chef work and health coaching along the way.

Eryka Perry at a Not Just Catering event. Photo submitted
Eryka Perry at a Not Just Catering event. (Photo by Jae the El Photography)

Now in its fifth year, the company has seven employees comprised of local health coaches, private chefs and menu consultants. The team works out of Forge, the coworking space in The Pizitz in downtown Birmingham. She says working out of Forge has allowed her and her team the space they need to plan ahead and really focus in on the business side of their work when needed.

“It’s such a blessing that we are able to have a place to spread out and focus on the planning side of things,” said Perry. “The place has great energy—I can knock out a serious to-do list when I need to at Forge!”

Gift cards are available if you’d like to give the gift of a home cooked meal or three. I highly recommend this as a gift for a new mom or someone needing a little extra TLC and a few good meals.

Not Just Catering Gift Card- the PERFECT new mom gift!
Not Just Catering Gift Card- the PERFECT new mom gift!

Interested in knowing more about Not Just Catering or signing up for their traveling chef services? Visit their website here.

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