What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
My fee starts at a rate where I can comfortably assume the costs of standard pantry items such as oils and spices with 'wiggle room' for other costs which may be special ingredients I already possess or basics like onions and potatoes. Depending on what kind of Personal Chef Services you are looking for, the costs will vary. Weekly ongoing meal services will be at a different cost than an intimate birthday dinner for 6. Our first consultation will lay the groundwork for pulling together an initial quote for services. From there, costs and fees can be finalized and agreed upon.
What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
I like to have an initial phone conversation prior to setting up a personal consultation to go over my clients needs and schedule.
I confirm with my client a preliminary menu whether it's one they provide for me or one we create together. I make sure we agree upon all costs and what my fees entail before starting services. If possible, I go through the clients existing cooking equipment and appliances that allows both of us a working start to a smooth and satisfying meal service with no surprises!
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I am a member of the United States Personal Chef Association USPCA.com. I currently participate in various training and studies to further my skills as a Personal Chef. Because my work is also my greatest joy, I am constantly researching and looking at new food trends and ingredients. I have won several awards for my baked goods, jams and jellies as well as participated in local food contests.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
It has always been a dream of mine to cook for a living. However, this dream was realized by sheer necessity a few years back. In these trying times where steady work or a consistent paycheck isn't always an option, my life-long obsession turned into my career and I love it!
What types of customers have you worked with?
I cook meals for everybody! It may be 1 or 2 times a week for clients who are busy working families or couples, single professionals, folks recovering from surgery, friends hosting out of town guests, mom's who just need a break!
During the holidays, I have been asked to prepare nibbles and goodies for small or medium size get-together's in the home or office.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
I had a client with serious chronic health issues. One of her main concerns was the inability to gain weight coupled with a lack of appetite. She had the opportunity to participate in a ground-breaking study and treatment of her condition in another state. One of the criteria was that she meets a certain weight in order to be approved for the program. Her condition also limited many foods that could cause flare-ups or worse. We sat and worked out a meal plan based on her recipes as well as her dietitian's recommendations. Her meals were geared to weight gain as well as taste appeal to help with her appetite.
After 6 weeks she had gained nearly 10 pounds and a few weeks later happily walked on the plane to the clinic in Arizona where she would stay for 90 days.
Her and her family was as elated as was I. She asked for a banana crème pie for her birthday before she left - she could not tolerate gluten and many other ingredients but I made a beautiful pie she loved and admitted she ate almost half of in one sitting!
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
You will have my full focus for your meal or event from start to finish. I am always happy to answer your questions or work with you on different scenarios for your meal or event. I will remain available and focused on your needs and requirements to create your perfect Personal Chef Service!
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Consider your budget and how much you are willing to spend from the start. The services and fees offered by a Personal Chef are different than a traditional meal delivery service or take-out.
Sometimes picking out a main dish or entree and building a menu or theme around that makes planning a special meal or event easier.
If you are looking for everyday meals for ongoing service, consider the feasibility of reheating or additional steps your meal might require. A hearty stew may just need a quick reheat and a chunk on homemade bread, where delicate fish may need a separate sauce and heat treatment before joining the rest of the meal.
Because your service is personal and based solely on your needs and preferences, don't be afraid to ask "Can you..."