An acquaintance recently asked where my restaurant was located. Someone else asked if I would cater an event. Another asked if I’d be selling meals at the farmer’s market. Many people are unfamiliar with the concept of a personal chef, what a personal chef service provides and how it works. Luckily, I’m well versed in this subject, so let me explain…
Simply put, as a personal chef I am a professional cook who is hired by several clients to prepare meals in the client’s home kitchen, based on their nutritional and dietary preferences. Aspects of my service include discussing with the client their needs and expectations for the service, selecting a menu, shopping for the ingredients, preparing the meals, storing and labelling the meals, providing warming instructions as needed, and cleaning the work area of the kitchen before leaving the clients home. I provide personalized service to one client/family per day, usually on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, leaving them with 20 servings of delicious meals to enjoy as their busy schedule dictates.
The personal chef profession began to evolve in the 1990’s, when folks who wanted to cook professionally began looking for options beyond the stainless steel of the restaurant – options that would allow them to be the boss of their own work hours and to avoid the late nights and weekends traditially required of a line cook. While a personal chef is usually self-employed, wearing all the hats and bearing all of the craziness of managing their own business, the resulting reward is a personal connection with clients and the community which isn’t usually available to restaurant or executive chefs in larger organizations. Today there are over 10,000 professional personal chefs working across the United States, belonging primarily to two professional personal chef organizations – the American Personal & Private Chef Association (I am a member) and the United States Personal Chef Association. Whether trained in restaurants, at home or in trade school, professional personal chefs are required to be insured and servsafe certified, and to abide by a code of ethics particular to this profession. Some personal chefs cater to specific diets – gluten free, vegetarian, diabetic – while others focus on providing stellar service to specific types of clients such as seniors or families with young children.
So, while I don’t cater large events or sell meals-to-go at the farmer’s market, and I can’t welcome you to my restaurant, I can spend my day in your kitchen, creating delicious dishes chosen by you and prepared just the way you like them. As a personal chef, this is my goal: To make dinner something to look forward to and to savor, one client at a time.