Becoming a private home chef is both personally and professionally rewarding. Preparing delicious, healthy meals is what you love to do, so earning money for serving your creations to others is the best of both worlds!
However, there are some procedures to follow in every kitchen — whether at home or in the finest restaurant. If you are a personal home chef just getting your brand off the ground, following these best practices can help you make extraordinary food and achieve success in your career.
Here are some tips that can help make your life as a home chef more beneficial:
Using fresh and delicious ingredients is essential when building your brand as a private chef. Many home chefs are motivated by the locavore movement, and network with local producers and farmers to provide a unique farm-to-table experience.
Whatever’s on your original menu, remember: fresh is best. If you have access to local farms or farmers markets, you can source fresh ingredients that ripen naturally and have been minimally processed.
Depending on your menu and the season, consider these details:
- Choose and use your greens right away. Lettuce, celery, and kale should be crisp and vibrant green.
- Select firm potatoes, onions, and garlic without sprouts. Always store potatoes away from onions.
- Fruits like citrus and berries should be firm, with a pleasantly mild smell. Store citrus in the fridge.
- Select firm, unwrinkled produce when selecting vegetables such as cucumbers and zucchini.
- There is something to be said for so-called “ugly” fruit. Although misshapen, ugly fruit can still be fresh and nutritious. If your recipe does not depend on external presentation (think apples for pie or tomatoes for a salsa), consider buying fresh ugly fruit at a discount to save some money.
Separate produce, raw meats, and fish, as you do your prep work. Carefully and thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables — microbes are invisible, so scrubbing off every little bit of dirt counts. Be sure to follow safety guidelines for baseline internal temperatures of cooked foods. If cooking off-site, be sure to invest in equipment or bags that keep food at the correct temperature. Above all, remember to wrap and refrigerate unused foods within an hour to avoid inevitable bacterial growth.
Use the right equipment
As a home chef, you will be cooking in the homes or businesses of your clients, or perhaps in your own home if delivering pre-prepped meals. Invest in high-quality cookware that you can rely on in every situation. Properly sharpened and maintained knives are essential, and you should do your research before acquiring these tools, in regards to continual upkeep. If you follow some private chef expert YouTube channels, you will discover over time, the types of cookware and flatware that might work best for you.
Travel only with what you need and be sure to account for your equipment before leaving a client site. Never share your knives or tools, always travel with working food thermometers and timers, and we recommend purchasing personal liability insurance.
The first step towards effective digital marketing is to launch a website that includes pictures of your food creations, favorite personal dishes, how-to videos, and a blog that speaks to your audience. Your website is a tool to display your unique brand of cooking and your availability to attend or participate in food events, with a clear contact page to reach out and book you.
To build or maintain your website, you don’t necessarily have to hire a professional, but you may want to work with a friend or intern who can help you build a site that visually represents your brand. Remember that a picture is worth a thousand words — and people will want to see what you are cooking, how you do it, and what goes into your craft.
Remember, you are providing more than just a service
When you are a budding private chef, every review matters. Remember: each satisfied client can bring you many more clients. Be sure to arrive early and eager, and be prepared to cook as arranged by contract. It is also important to remain flexible and be prepared for any unforeseen issues. For example, it’s a good idea to bring extra fuel for chafing dishes. Also consider bringing more herbs and spices than you plan to use, as every client has a different palate.
Most importantly, remember that you are not just providing a service. You are also marketing on the fly. The right meal can turn any gathering or event into a success, and attendees into future clients. Furthermore, a skilled private chef understands the impact of great food and will help create a memorable experience for everyone involved.