the TikToker Who Spends ,000 on Groceries as a Private Chef in the Hamptons

the TikToker Who Spends $2,000 on Groceries as a Private Chef in the Hamptons

Meredith Hayden of Wishbone Kitchen

Meredith Hayden of Wishbone Kitchen

Meredith Hayden

Meredith Hayden’s love of cooking runs deep.

Known as “WishBoneKitchen” on TikTok, the 26-year-old chef started posting videos of her always-fresh dishes less than two years ago and has already gained nearly one million followers. A main reason foodies are drawn to her page? Hayden often chronicles her crazy hours as a private chef in the Hamptons, New York’s high-end beach towns. Most of her videos have fun stories behind them — and so does her username.

“The inspiration behind me getting into cooking has always been my mom. She was a fabulous cook growing up. And once a week, she would make us a roast chicken for dinner, and she would always save the wishbone when she would carve the chicken,” Hayden tells PEOPLE. “And after dinner, we would do the thing where you pull the wishbone in half, and whoever gets the bigger half gets to make a wish. I just have really fond memories of being in the kitchen with my mom.”

Once she graduated college, Hayden took her affinity for cooking up a notch. She started working in marketing full-time while completing culinary school in the evenings. In 2020, Hayden landed her first private chef gig — and started posting day-in-the-life videos of all the meals she cooks.

During the off-season (fall, winter and spring) she preps for the family she works for once a week, stashing a week’s worth of meals in the fridge. But during the summer season, she lives in their Hamptons home, commuting from New York City every weekend.

Meredith Hayden of Wishbone Kitchen

Meredith Hayden of Wishbone Kitchen

Meredith Hayden

From jalapeño creamed corn to lobster cobb salad, Hayden serves up fresh summer meals all season. Since she makes breakfast, lunch and dinner on the weekends, her days are very packed.

“​​My typical schedule is I’ll take the train out on Friday, and I’ll arrive Friday at 2 p.m. And then I’ll go to the grocery store,” she says. “I try to get as many things as I can for the weekend, so I don’t have to make too many more trips. And I [always] want to get seafood fresh.”

The multi-course meals she prepares don’t come at a small cost. “On a weekend that I’m serving 8 to 10 people, I’ll spend $1,500 to $2,000,” she says. “But I also make sure to make a bunch of leftovers because they like to have the leftovers there after I leave.”

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While she only cooks dinner on Friday, her Saturdays can get pretty hectic.

“Usually Saturdays are the killer days because I’ll do breakfast, I’ll do lunch, I’ll do a happy hour snack around 3 or 4 p.m. and then I’ll do dinner and dessert,” she says.

A typical day for Hayden starts with cooking breakfast at 7 a.m. and ends around 9 p.m. after eating dinner with the family and cleaning up. “They’re very go-with-the-flow… I’ll take an hour break in the middle of the day,” she adds.

When it comes to curating menus, she runs ideas by her clients the day before she leaves for the Hamptons. “I’ll usually just pick out recipes that are fresh, and easy to make, but not too simple,” she says.

Some ingredients that are always top of the list, be it for a dinner main or light lunch, are fresh veggies. “I definitely have to factor in the fact that they have a vegetable garden in the backyard. I always kind of leave the menus very vague and flexible so that when I arrive, if I notice there’s a ton of zucchini, then I’ll add that to the menu,” she says.

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Meredith Hayden of Wishbone Kitchen

Meredith Hayden of Wishbone Kitchen

Meredith Hayden

Along with her main client, Hayden has grown her employer roster with one-off catering events, including Rebecca Minkoff’s book party last summer in the Hamptons and a Sam Edelman corporate event this year.

Her first, self-published cookbook, Wishbone Volume 1, featured holiday recipes and her latest, Wishbone Volume 2, focuses on summer meals inspired by those she puts together in the Hamptons.

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Not only does her new cookbook showcase tasty recipes like an heirloom tomato galette or simple summer salad, but it also offers entertainment tips. Hayden is constantly taking inspiration from one of her favorite A-list chefs and even calls herself the “Walmart Martha Stewart.”

“I’ve always been inspired by her journey,” she says of Stewart. “I love cooking, but I also love entertaining. I love tablescape design, and I like how she didn’t pigeonhole herself as just somebody who makes great recipes, but also somebody who can create a really memorable evening, surrounded by great recipes.”