Accommodating everyone's tastes is not always easy, but that's what personal chefs strive to do. This is one of the fastest growing careers because people are so busy working and commuting that by the time they get home, they're usually too tired for cooking.
This business requires someone tactful and creative as well as talented at cooking. It may be tempting to show off with your gourmet meals that you think are fantastic, but you need to keep in mind others preferences and be prepared with helpful forms for them to fill out with their tastes. Even after careful analysis, you still need to be prepared with a strategy on how to deal with complaints. There are special diets and allergies to consider and be cautious about too. Education about diet modifications when dealing with others health issues such as diabetes is important. Have a questionnaire prepared to analyze any health problems or special diet requirements.
Most personal chefs will cook the meals in the client's home. The amount of time spent there will depend on how far in advance they're making the meals. Usually they are frozen and stored so that they're arranged for the next week or two. This makes it necessary to label the food with cooking instructions. Some people only do fresh cooking and that means you will have to cook for the same client more frequently, but your options on what to cook are more open. Some foods simply can't be frozen safely.
Your clients will expect you to be prepared so after the initial consultation, menu planning and estimate, be ready with your food and supplies. Try to be as precise as possible with your time line because you don't want to be lurking there half the night, especially if a couple planned a quiet evening together. Besides pots, pans and utensils you will need sturdy storage containers that freeze well.
Computer software can help you organize your business. Mastercook is a wonderful program that plans menus, adjusts serving sizes, manages recipes and details nutrition information for you.
Liability insurance is a must, so look into companies that will help you arrange that before starting. If you're trained in food safety and inform clients with proper instructions, you will minimize the likelihood of anyone getting sick.
You may prefer to specialize in a certain type of cuisine and that way you're more apt to attract the type of clients that you know will enjoy the food you prepare. If vegetarian food is your specialty there's a big demand for that, but perhaps you excel at Italian, Asian, Indian or French cuisine. The possibilities are endless and there are many types to choose from, but to get more specialized clients, pick one yet be flexible.
Being familiar with what children like is a bonus for families, so make sure you let them know if this is what you're good at. Offering a special menu catering just to children is not a bad idea either.
This can be a challenging business but it's also fun for those who enjoy cooking for others. If you're serious about it, consider becoming certified so others will take you serious too.
©Copyright 2007, Sandra Williams, a freelance writer, crafter and creator of the web site Work at Home Hustle which contains ideas and resources for work at home parents.