A Few Quick Tips to Help You Hire a Personal Chef Who's Best for You!
In our last article, we showed you the difference between a personal and private chef and discussed why hiring a personal chef might be the best thing for you and your family. In this article, we'll give you some tips and simple instructions on what to expect when you hire a personal chef and how to find the one that's best for you.
As stated in the previous post, your personal chef will not come to your home everyday, but will prepare several meals at once and freeze or refrigerate them so that you can re-heat them at your convenience.
Most of the time, your chef will do all of the cooking at your house on a pre-arranged day. She will purchase all of the groceries, and cook using her own knives, utensils, pots and pans, and even clean-up when she's done. Some chefs may prepare the food elsewhere and deliver it to you. You'll have to discuss this with your chef to find out her policy.
Beginning Your Search for a Professional Chef
As with all searches these days, the best place to start is the internet. Fortunately, there are two national professional organizations of personal chefs and both of them maintain websites with excellent search features.
The first organization is the American Personal and Private Chef Associations (APPCA) and their website is located at www.personalchefsearch.com. There you'll find tips, frequently asked questions, and you can search for chefs by city, state, zip code, and even area code.
The second organization, the United States Personal Chef Association, maintains the personal chef search website at www.hireachef.com. This site boasts all of the features of the APPCA's site, plus an informational hiring guide.
Using both of these online resources, you should be able to quickly find some prospective candidates for the job. The next step is narrowing down the search to find the personal chef that's best for you.
Key Points to Consider When You Hire a Personal Chef
Insurance â€“ Since your personal chef will be cooking at your home, she should be covered with the appropriate liability insurance in case you, your family, or property are damaged as a result of her being there.
Safe Food Handler Certification â€“ Though the qualifications may vary depending on where you live, make sure that your chef has the safe food handling certifications required by your local government. Call your city's or county's public health office to determine what those safe-handling guidelines are.
Make sure you know who will be doing the cooking for you and your family. For slightly larger organizations, the business owner and chef you talk to on the phone may not be the person who shows up at your doorstep. Also, will she be the same person from week to week, or will you constantly be dealing with someone knew?
Menu Variety and Dietary Restrictions -- Make sure that their culinary style matches your tastes. Also, how often are the same meals repeated? Though your chef may advertise that she can customize a low fat, low salt, or gluten free diet, ask how many meals she has that actually meet those qualifications. The last thing you want is to go through the expense of hiring a personal chef who just prepares the same 4 meals over and over with no variety.
Culinary Education and Experience -- How much experience does your prospective candidate have? Where did she get her culinary education? Maybe she learned her cooking skills in her mother's kitchen or maybe she attended one of the best culinary schools in the country?
References â€“ People shy away from this, but don't hesitate to ask forâ€”and checkâ€”references. When you do talk with past clients, be sure to ask the questions that could uncover some hidden problems, such as, "What question should I be asking you that I haven't? What should I know about [chef candidate] that she might not want me to know?
Price, Long Term Contracts, and Other Hidden Costs â€“ If you're outside of her immediate service area, will she add on an additional cost to cover travel expenses? Or, will she require you to make an out of the way trip across town each week to pick up your meals from her kitchen?
Also, make sure you're not tied down to any long term contracts and take the time to find out what she charges for extra portions. Perhaps you'll have out-of-town company for a week or a child coming home from college, you won't want to be surprised with any exorbitant charges for adding additional portions.
That's it! Armed with this information, you can now confidently begin your search and hire a personal chef that can make your life more convenient, healthier, and your dinners more enjoyable. Bon appetit!