Many of us wish that we could live the life of a celebrity. There are about a million perks we would kill for — from free clothes to private planes — but one of the biggest, for me, is having someone to cook me every meal. It only took me about a minute of talking to celebrity chef, Vikki Krinsky, before I was whining that I wanted her services too. Vikki, who’s currently the personal chef for Seth MacFarlane, told me how she sneaks healthy foods and vegetables into comfort and junk food for her clients.
“I want that,” I interrupted. “And I need it, I’m pregnant!”
I hoped Vikki might quit her job with the Family Guy creator and come work for me pro-bono out of pity, but no such luck. She congratulated me, and reminded me to up my daily spinach intake. She didn’t even want to hear about my perk package — which would have involved complimentary cat snuggles and all the Netflix she could watch.
As a high demand celebrity chef, Vikki has worked for Tobey Maguire, Kathryn Heigl, and Reese Witherspoon, but she’s been consistently with MacFarlane for the past seven years. She’s at his house, office, or on set six days a week cooking breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Her schedule is constantly at the mercy of his life, and flexibility is crucial.
As a chef, Vikki is known for her extraordinary cooking combined with her vast knowledge of nutrition and exercise. She’s the go to for celebs who want to lose weight and get healthier without starving themselves. She understands her clients’ needs and insecurities surrounding food because she’s been there herself. Krinsky was a television actress as a teenager, and her experience of Hollywood’s obsession with body image left her miserable. Depressed and unhappy with the idea of having to focus mostly on her body for the rest of her career, Krinsky quit the business.
She ended up backpacking through Europe to find herself, and this led to her lifelong love of cooking. On her second day in Paris, she met the chef who inspired her cooking journey. He brought her to his kitchen and Vikki was hooked.
“I love food. I’ve always loved food,” Krinsky said. “Being in the back of somebody’s kitchen and watching how it all happens was super inspiring to me. That’s how it started.”
Vikki began staging (which is what they call interning in the restaurant world) in several restaurants around Europe, before returning to the United States. She loved cooking, but she felt a drive to combine it with an overall healthy lifestyle. So she spent some time as a personal trainer at Equinox to get experience with fitness.
“I wanted to really get into nutrition and try to break the cycle of what was happening to me,” she said, “which was trying to figure out how to be thin and how to look a certain way. I realized that I needed to have a little more control than I had at the time and just educate myself.”
From there, she stumbled into the personal chef world, and she’s been cooking for celebrities ever since. It’s a unique career, and one that Krinsky deeply loves. She gets to help people she respects — fueling their days and putting them in a good head space.
“I think that there’s a real aspect of connection that keeps me excited for my job,” Krinsky said.
Other than being able to cook (which is obviously important), trust and energy are the most crucial aspects of the gig. Krinsky is a part of her clients’ lives in an intimate way.
“The kitchen is, often times, the heart of the home,” she explained, “and it’s in the middle of a home. People congregate in there so you’re a part of whatever is happening in the house.”
Vikki has to not only anticipate her clients’ food needs, but to help shape the whole “vibe” of their lives.
“A big quality is just to be able to adapt to the family or to the client and to bring in a really positive, good energy that works for whoever it is that you’re cooking for,” she said.
It’s a difficult job at times, and can leave little time for a personal life, but it comes with perks too.
“I get to meet some really, really cool people and I get to see the world in a very luxurious way,” she said. From attending the Oscars to partying with the biggest stars in Hollywood, it’s anything but routine.
Perks aside, Vikki is happy to bring good food and nutrition into peoples’ lives. It’s something she does on a small scale with celebs but hopes to branch out soon into a television project (Previously, Vikki was a chef on a CBS show called Recipe Rehab) where she can bring her food knowledge and recipes to a bigger audience.
We asked Chef Vikki to share a couple of the tips she’s passed along to her clients:
Explore How You Connect With Food
“We have a strange relationship with willpower, I think,” Krinsky said. “We see the most results when we put our mind to something and we identify why we’re actually eating the way we’re eating. It’s attached emotionally more than we’d like to admit.” Krinsky insists that straight dieting never works because telling someone they can’t eat something will drive them nuts, and make them want it all the time. She works a lot with portion size and control. “If you’re really craving chocolate, I would say grab 85% dark chocolate or 80% dark chocolate,” she said. “Have a piece or two and a glass of water.” Once the craving subsides, you walk away.
Losing weight is about picking the right foods and portions, rather than starving oneself. “When people have to lose weight,” Krinsky said. “I will add an extra snack in the day and then they’ll say to me, “Well, I feel like I’m eating too much.” But she’s simply incorporating lots of foods that are satisfying while still being healthy. “Having a lot of different vegetables is a really good idea,” she said, “and having a lot of different nuts and different types of fat. Nut butters, almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter, are all very high in fat, but very delicious. I think having a little bit of each of those in the week is helpful because the variety is going to help sustain your cravings.”
Some healthy foods that Krinsky loves to incorporate into her cooking are seeds (like chia, flax, and hemp). Jicama which she said helps add a filling feeling and crunch in salads and snacks without adding lots of calories, and healthy seasonal vegetables. It leads her to play with different recipes and mixing things up — which is crucial to keeping clients from getting bored with healthy eating and flavors.
Combine Your Diet With Exercise
“Consistent exercise is not only good for your body, but it’s actually really good mentally,” Krinsky said. “When you are working out and putting in the time, you don’t want to eat shit. You want to fuel yourself properly because you’re putting in a lot of effort to get to the place that you want to be.” She stresses that weight loss and maintenance is all about living a full and balanced life style. It’s a combination of good mental, physical, and eating habits that will lead to lasting health.
Drink More Water
“You drink a glass of water before you eat anything,” she said. “I always tell that to people when I consult, drink more water than you think you’re drinking.” Drinking a glass of water before every meal will make you feel fuller quicker. She also recommends combining lots of water drinking with snacks. “This isn’t like I’m reinventing the wheel!” she laughed. But she recommends portioning snacks like chips or popcorn into a bowl or on a small plate with at least a couple of glasses of water. Before you get up for another portion, you have to have finished all of your water. You’ll not only be well hydrated but you’re way less likely to make more than two trips.