How I Got Whole Foods to Cook Dinner for Us

by Erika Torres

Everyone knows that Eric and I are huge Whole Foods fans, ever since we started diligently trying to eat clean and healthier a few years ago. So when I saw on Twitter about a month ago, that Whole Foods was tweeting: “If you could wave a magic wand, what would you like to see us do for you?” I, of course, responded that I’d like them to come to my house and make dinner. Duh. Imagine my surprise when a few days later, I received an email from my local Whole Foods offering to have their chef come cook dinner for Eric and me! It was like the adult version of Aladdin, where I was Aladdin, the Genie was Whole Foods, and Twitter was my lamp–I guess that makes Eric Abu? Since he was just along for the ride 😉 We met Candace and Chef Nick at our local Whole Foods in Tustin on a Saturday afternoon to shop for our ingredients for that night’s dinner, and was surprised when they presented us with a three-course menu prepared especially for us!

whole foods menu

I found out later that Chef Nick built the menu specifically around that week’s store specials, to show us how easy it is to actually have a great meal on a budget!

We learned a lot of great tips on saving money at Whole Foods, and I was honestly shocked at how you could feed a family of four on about $125-150 a week! Come back Wednesday for a post with everything I learned about saving money at Whole Foods, and a giveaway.

Candace and Nick even surprised us with a week’s worth of groceries based on the Whole Deal’s menu plan. whole foods menu plan The bill for a whole week’s worth of groceries to make these came out to $157. However, when you take out the pantry supplies, which you most likely have on hand anyway, like rice, mayo, vinegar, soy sauce, etc., the total comes out to about $125 for a family of four. Since Eric eats for two, and I always take leftovers for lunch, this essentially fed us for a whole week, except for breakfast. I was very impressed. Back when Eric and I were pretty broke, we ate crap, I couponed like crazy, and we stuck to a $350 food budget a month. It was hard. As soon as we had a little more wiggle room in our budget, the first thing we did is put money toward eating clean, whole foods.  Now our monthly food budget averages about $500.

Once we were finished shopping, we all headed back to our house, where the wine started flowing and Chef Nick started heating up the kitchen.

The food was amazing! I wish Chef Nick could come live with us and just cook for us all the time. (Sorry ladies, he’s taken!)

whole foods chef nick

Did you count three wine bottles on the table?

In addition to the three-course meal, Whole Foods gave us two wine pairings for each course, for a total of six wines (since you get a 20% discount on six bottles!)

Well, six bottles for four people? Heck yeah, we’re up for the challenge!

whole foods wines

The total for the six bottles was $52.94, after the 20% discount, the total came out to $42.35 or about $7 a bottle for some really great-tasting wines.

The Pallas Tempranillo and the Electra Moscato (so sweet! a fabulous dessert wine!) were our faves.

Ultimately, we had a fabulous time.

Although I wasn’t feeling so fabulous Sunday morning…oh well, the things you do for your blog, right?

I was not paid by Whole Foods for this post, but I did receive the meal and a week’s worth of groceries for free. However, Eric and I have been regular Whole Foods shoppers for a few years and opinions are entirely our own. 

Aladdin Photo Credit


val @ balancingval July 18, 2014 - 11:59 pm

totally worth it!

mike and i are whole foods addicts which is CRAZY since whole foods hawaii prices have our heads spinning sometimes. however, all it takes is some careful planning (i.e – lots of time on pinterest and using ingredients for more than one meal) and its pretty similar or less than a regular grocery store . . . at least here anyway.

i also like to think that food is my passion (it’s kind of my life haha) so i am totally ok with spending a little extra on quality in this department.

catherine July 12, 2014 - 7:45 pm

What an amazing experience. I was just telling my sister in law I would love to have a professional chef come to my house to cook for me/friends.

Marie @ Gen Y Finances July 9, 2014 - 1:20 am

Wow! It looks delicious. I will try them too. Thanks for posting.

shannontatlock@gmail.com July 8, 2014 - 10:55 am

Thanks for sharing! This is awesome!!!!

PS, you’re gorgeous. 😉

Deacon @ Well Kept Wallet July 8, 2014 - 9:39 am

That is amazing! I need to be more active on Twitter so that we can get dinner cooked for us. We don’t shop at whole foods since it is not close to us, so maybe we will have to see if Sprouts has a Twitter account.

marilolym@gmail.com July 8, 2014 - 9:36 am

wow coolest thing i’ve ever heard WF do!

Alicia July 8, 2014 - 7:55 am

What an awesome surprise! I wish I had something like that. And it looks delicious, by the way. When I’m stinking rich I want a personal chef every once and awhile so I can get these great ideas 🙂

Retired by 40 July 8, 2014 - 4:49 am

Wow! That sounds like an awesome time! We have a $300 everything (you would buy at walmart) budget, and I don’t know that I could stomach spending $125 every week on groceries. But, we could definitely stand to eat cleaner. We make healthy choices, but eating cleanly…not so much. Good to know that Whole Foods specials can definitely bring down the prices!

NZ Muse July 7, 2014 - 6:53 pm

Dude that is awesome!!! Colour me envious.

We spend about $130 a week for two (big eaters but on a budget) and most people my age I know for sure spend way more (like, $80-100 per person). I know some of my Indian friends who still live at home with their family spend about what we do per week for the WHOLE household but do tons of cooking from scratch and also don’t have such enormous appetites. Food here costs an arm and leg.

budgetformore@gmail.com July 7, 2014 - 4:20 pm

We just got a Whole Foods and I have been meaning to check it out. The meal looks phenomenal. What an awesome treat from Whole Foods!!

Amy @ Army Amy July 7, 2014 - 3:33 pm

Send him over to my house to cook for me! Haha! I really have no excuse since I’m cooking for 1 these days, but it just seems so luxurious to have someone else do the cooking. What a treat!

emily@thethreebiterule.com July 7, 2014 - 2:08 pm

wow! so cool! I love seeing the weekly menu, and that they suggest fruit with each dinner/dessert! My family did that growing up and I seem to have abandoned it but should get back to it.

Tonya@Budget and the Beach July 7, 2014 - 12:59 pm

Holy crap I’m so totally jealous! Remind me to start tweets from WF more closely! And Trader Joe’s too! 🙂 Nice job!

Lindsay July 7, 2014 - 9:07 am

That meal looks amazing! My husband and I only buy beer at WF. They have a great selection of craft beers. Oh and we also get the gouda dip and occasionally visit their bar for beer, wine, and snacks. Can’t go wrong with $1 wine/beer tastings and $2.99 glasses of wine.

Cece @Pink Sunshine July 7, 2014 - 8:10 am

If you tweet it then it happens? That is sooooo cool. Our grocery budget is $350 for two and I think we barely stay at or under it. It’s so hard. Can’t wait to hear your tips about saving money on groceries. I need them. We don’t normally go to whole foods but I always hear wonderful things about them.


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