Des Moines Parent Spotlight: Andrea Love of My Dinner Delights
“Cooking with a toddler is always a disaster. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have. Give in to the chaos and make memories.”
Those are the wise words of Andrea Love, who owns My Dinner Delights, which provides personal chef services to meet any budget or need.
Andrea is passionate about helping you make mealtime easier and encourages you to reach out to see how you can work together.
Des Moines Parent connected with Andrea to learn more.
Give us a little background on yourself.
I was born and raised in Des Moines and graduated from Saydel. I went to Denver for undergrad and Buffalo for law school, then headed back to Denver to take the bar and get married. In 2015, we had a five-year-old and five month old and decided it was time to move closer to family, and I came home. We had baby #3 in 2021. My three boys are now 12, 8, and 18 months. Looking to the future, my oldest will be a senior when my youngest is in kindergarten.
Could you give us an overview of your business and what inspired it?
I started my personal chef business, Dinner Delights, in January 2017. I had been a stay-at-home mom for six years and was ready to get back to work, but I wanted something that would allow me to still be present for my kids. I have always enjoyed cooking and wanted to share my skills with others to help make their lives easier. We were just starting kid activities, and I was looking to a long future of kid activity chaos and loved how easy freezer meals were for us. I started with Freezer Meal Parties because they help busy people get a fresh meal on the table with minimal input. Then I added weekly meal prep to allow for even more customization. I now offer everything food: weekly meal prep, freezer meals, catering, dinner parties, and cooking classes.
It has been great to start slow and grow gradually. Over the last six years, I have grown enough that I am opening my own commercial kitchen this summer and adding a grab ‘n-go option to my services.
What are your favorite parts of your business?
My favorite part of being a personal chef is helping people make dinner time enjoyable again. For my weekly meal prep clients, that means them getting meals that fit within their dietary needs but are still flavorful and fun. This is especially true with someone starting a new eating plan. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boiled chicken and steamed broccoli.
For my freezer meal clients, it is trying new meals that are ready when you want them. Parties are a great way to multitask. You get to hang out with friends and feed your family at the same time. It is also an opportunity to try new recipes without having to find the recipes, shop for ingredients, and prep.
Owning Dinner Delights has been so much fun and allowed me to meet so many people around the metro area. Some of my favorite experiences have been doing cooking demos at the State Fair. That was a completely new experience last summer, and I ended up doing three at the fair and one at the World Food and Music Festival. I love chatting about food, and trying to do that and cook at the same time was definitely a juggling act.
I also love having my kids in the kitchen with me as I do recipe testing. All of my freezer meals are kid tested on my kids. They are very honest critics.
How do you juggle your parenting responsibilities with your work responsibilities?
Honestly, very little sleep. I am fortunate to be able to work around my kids’ schedules, but that means business is 24/7/360 (I do take a couple of days off). I take them to school and daycare then head out to do weekly meal prep clients or shop or prep for freezer meals. While I wait in the pickup line, I reply to messages and emails. Once they are in bed, I am doing paperwork, emailing, and preparing for the next day. While I sit at practices or games, I am taking notes on my phone for future menus or trying to coordinate my calendar with the kids and husband. It is hard and I am not a good example of balance. It is all chaos all the time. But in the end, it all gets done.
What are some of your favorite things to do with your family around the metro?
We love to try new-to-us restaurants. In 2022, we decided to focus a bit and do an ice cream tour. It was fun to put together a list of all the ice cream places around the metro area and check them off. We went to about 20 places last summer and didn’t hit all of the ones on our list. After all our taste tests, our favorite is still Dairy Zone. It is close to home and always hits the spot. We are continuing this year. We started the 2023 tour at Goldies in Prairie City. We are looking forward to hitting more places on our list and searching out local ice cream when we travel.
What’s your ideal parent night or day out?
We are very fortunate to have Grandma close by to babysit the boys. When we have a rare night out between work and kid activities, we like to go to a new-to-us dinner and a show. We have had season tickets to the Storytellers Project for a few years. That keeps our nights out on a bit of a schedule. I’d like to say we are more adventurous, but when I have a night off, I just want to sit down and not cook.
What’s your number one parenting tip?
Let it go. Now that I am on kid number three and there is quite a bit of age difference, I can already see some of the stuff I was concerned about with my oldest as a baby was completely not worth it. I am definitely more relaxed with my youngest (but still neurotic about the most random things). No matter what you do, they will eat dirt/dog food/weird stuff off the ground at the park. It is not a reflection of your parenting. Kids are just gross … I mean, they are inquisitive and want to learn about the world around them.