What is a professional personal chef? A professional personal chef is someone who provides meal planning and preparation for individuals and families on a regular basis. After completing the client assessment interview, I customizes recipes and menus for the client, shop for fresh ingredients, and prepare multiple delicious, healthy dinners in the client’s own kitchen based on our agreed upon schedule. I will not only prepare all of the mouthwatering, wonderful food; but also label the meals and leave specific handling instructions for each dish.
What are some common traits that all personal chefs seem to share? Information gathered from personal chef interviews around the country show that personal chefs share the following traits: 1) the love of cooking and serving great food 2) the desire to service their clients’ specific needs and 3) the enjoyment and satisfaction that come from being one’s own boss.
Who typically hires a personal chef? The personal chef client is just as unique as the menus planned specifically for them. The majority of people who hire a personal chef usually do not have the time or ability to cook for themselves, but have the resources to hire someone else to take care of it for them. Some clients may be busy because of work, others special family obligations. Sometimes clients may just want to free up time so they can do things they enjoy more than cooking. Others may not have the desire to learn how to cook, but are tired of eating out all the time and living off of takeout food. An increasing number of people want to improve their diets and overall health, or they may need help planning for a special diet.
What is the difference between a personal chef and a private chef? Good question. A private chef is employed full-time by one individual or family, is often on salary, and usually lives in the clients’ home and prepares up to three meals per day. A personal chef on the other hand, focuses on weekly dinner menus, cooks for several clients (usually one per day), and provides multiple meals that are custom designed for the clients’ particular requests and dietary requirements. These meals are packaged and stored so that the clients may enjoy them at their leisure.
What is the difference between a caterer and a personal chef? Unlike a personal chef, a caterer holds a commercial catering license, works out of a commercial kitchen that is required to be inspected by the health department, and typically focuses on the execution of large parties and functions.
How is your specific company, Around Anna’s Table, LLC, setup legally? Every small business has to deal with local, state, and federal regulations. As a small business operating in the state of Georgia, I hold a municipal business license and am a Certified Professional Food Manager (which means I hold a food handler’s certification that concentrates on food safety and the practice of excellent sanitation measures). The form of ownership I choose for my personal chef business is a Limited Liability Company, or LLC. This is an unincorporated business entity that protects me from personal liability for the debts and obligations of my company.
Are you covered by a liability insurance policy while you are cooking in my home? Yes. As a Premier Member of the United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA) I am covered by a General Liability Insurance policy. The policy includes coverage for bodily injury, property damage products liability and professional liability.
How and when are you paid for your personal chef services? There are two fees related to my services: 1) the professional fee for my services and 2) the amount spent on your groceries. The fee for my professional services is paid 1-week in advance of any scheduled cooking date. The cost of food, the second part of my pricing structure, includes any groceries, beverages, and/or disposable cookware that I purchase for my clients before our scheduled cook date. This amount will vary for each cook date depending on what menus we agree upon; the original receipts for these purchases are saved for the client’s personal records. Once I complete the grocery shopping for your cook date / private dinner party, an invoice will be prepared for this grocery reimbursement amount. Just like for my professional fee, the cost of food reimbursement amount can be paid via PayPal, check, or cash. This reimbursement fee is due, at the latest, at the start of each scheduled cook date.
What does the fee for your services cover? The fee for Personal Chef Services is most affordable. Many clients say they actually feel they are saving money overall because they are no longer having food delivered nightly, eating in restaurants as often, and throwing away food they had purchased with the intention of preparing it and not getting around to it. My service fee includes compensation for my time menu planning, account servicing, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning, as well as my business and administrative costs which include cooking equipment, gas/travel expenses , office supplies, membership dues, insurance premiums, and various business and professional licenses.
Do you only have weekly clients, or can we customize a cooking timeline to fit my family’s needs? Some clients schedule my service every week, while others might find that once or twice a month is sufficient for their needs. The one thing clients can agree on is that it’s a great relief for them to not have to spend their time grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning up, and still be able to enjoy healthy, delicious food prepared especially for them!
Do you have examples and photos of food that you have made in the past? Yes. You can always visit my website, www.AroundAnnasTable.com, which houses my daily food blog and photographs. Also, I have a physical culinary portfolio that you are also welcome to see at any time.
What makes Around Anna’s Table, LLC unique to other local personal chef services? As a member of the United States Personal Chef Association (www.uspca.com) , I have invaluable resources available to me to connect with other culinary professionals, enrich my culinary knowledge, and volunteer in the Atlanta area. I hold a Certified Professional Food Manager designation which means that I have met all of the professional requirements for certification in food service safety and sanitation. As mentioned before, I do hold a professional liability insurance policy and a valid municipal business license. I am a very business-minded individual thanks to my previous work as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP™) and my studies in obtaining my Master’s in Business Administration. I am trained culinary professional through Le Cordon Bleu’s Culinary Arts Program, and was lucky enough to participate in a 3-month culinary externship in Italy. In addition, I have a food blog that I keep up with on a daily basis, photographing and writing about my culinary creations. Lastly, Around Anna’s Table, LLC is a fresh service business.
What is meant by a ‘fresh service business’? The majority of personal chefs freeze the meals that they create from clients to enjoy later in the week. I am a fresh service business meaning that I do not regularly freeze any food items for you to defrost and reheat. I myself eat this way in my home and this is how I am accustomed to cooking for clients as well. In addition, the reheating instructions I will leave for you rely solely on the stove top and oven. I do not use a microwave in my cooking practices and therefore, recommend that you reheat the prepared dishes in a conventional oven instead of a microwave.
Does Around Anna’s Table, LLC offer other culinary services besides personal chef services? Yes. In additional to my personal chef services I do offer my time conducting private dinner parties in client’s homes. I will work with you in developing a customized dinner party menu, personally shop for the food items, and I cook and serve the dinner to you and your guests in the comfort of your own home. I do offer gift certificates for my services as private chef as well.
What sort of food do you specialize in cooking? Again, the menus I put together for my clients are personalized to their family’s tastes and specifications. I enjoy cooking a variety of foods and different cuisines, so it really just depends on what type of food you prefer. In terms of my personal cooking style I do emphasize the importance of healthy eating, variation, and seasonal produce. As mentioned, I am a fresh service business and enjoy incorporating the idea of cooking ‘modern meals’ for myself and my clients.
What do you mean by ‘modern meals’? My research into current trends in the food industry, the cookbook market, and consumer habits shows that the majority of consumers today (between the ages of 25-50 and middle-to-upper class in terms of income) are: eating more fresh foods than they were five years ago, interested in experimenting with a variety of healthy ingredients, composing dinner menus that are not just the traditional combination of a meat, a starch, and a vegetable, are aware of good nutritional habits now more than ever before, are interested in curbing food waste, and are interested in spending more time eating at home with their families.
What would my weekly cook day look like? Based on the information you provided on your Client Assessment, I will prepare a weekly menu customized to your preferences that will be emailed to you for your approval. Then, on each cook day, I will grocery shop for your approved menu items, bring all of the ingredients to your home, and prepare all of your meals in the safety of your own kitchen. At the end of the cook day, I will package your meals for you per your instructions, label them, and leave complete heating instructions for your convenience. I will leave your kitchen clean and orderly, taking all of my equipment with me.
When you go grocery shopping for my dinner ingredients, can you pick up a few extra items as well? Of course. If you need for me to purchase additional items at the grocery store, above and beyond your dinner ingredients, I would be more than happy to, but please let me know at least 3-days before your scheduled cook date.
How do you determine my dinner menus each week? At the beginning of our relationship, I will conduct a detailed personal interview/client assessment with the client to determine what they like to eat and how they like to eat it, any allergies they may have, and whether or not they have any special dietary needs that need to be met. I will then design custom meals for you that satisfy those needs and desires. The weekly menus that I develop are emailed to you for approval each week before your scheduled cook day.
Can you design menus for specific diets or health problems that a client may have? Certainly. As a personal chef, I offer a full range of menu selections for your review, based on our initial client assessment and weekly approval of proposed menus. I deal with clients on an individual basis and prepare food for the client that is specifically designed to satisfy their specific needs and tastes. Each client is different and therefore, so is each menu!
What forms of payment do your accept? I accept only cash, personal checks made out to ‘Anna Scott’, and credit card/debit card payments through PayPal. You do not have to have a PayPal account to pay via PayPal, I will simply email you an invoice through PayPal and you can click on a link to use their services to pay via credit card, debit card, or bank account.
Do I need to provide cookware for you to use, or do you bring your own? I can either work with my personal pots and pans or yours, whichever you prefer. I will be bringing a portable kitchen of items with me to each cook date that will include small appliances, spices, dry goods and pots and pans.
Please contact me any time with any other questions you may have about my services!
This FAQ section encompasses information adapted from the following publications:
- The Professional Personal Chef: The Business of Doing Business as a Personal Chef. Candy Wallace. Greg Forte. 2008: John Wiley & Sons.
- How to Start a Home-Based Personal Chef Business. Denise Vivaldo. 2007: The Globe Pequot Press.