“Oh you’re a Chef! Where do you work?”
This question is usually the first I get upon meeting foodies. I always get a little bit of a confused look when I reply that I am a Chef for Hire and travel the world working were my clients need me. Being a Private Chef and Consultant is one of the most interesting and challenging paths my career has taken. I highly recommend it to those who are looking to travel and are tired of the kitchen lifestyle. Now, don’t think that it isn’t tough work, you will still have those crazy hours and deadlines. But you are at liberty to pick and choose which assignments you take. It all depends on your target clients and what you want to do.
It takes a while to get a client base built, but once you start going it snowballs and each assignment is different. Let’s discuss my top 2 favorites. Right!
Private Event Catering
These are always rewarding and fun. A few weeks (or sometimes a few days depending on the pinch) before the date is usually a sit-down with the client to find out exactly what they want for the event. A lot of times clients are unsure of what they actually want so it is incredibly important to get to know them and the theme of the event so you are able to custom design a menu that suits their palate and financial budget. Once the menu is finalized, proposals and quotations approved, preparations begins. Calling part-time/on-call staff, sourcing equipment rentals, food orders, etc. all need to be dealt with as soon as possible to minimize last minute issues. A few days before the event prep work begins on all food stuffs. Morning of everything is prepared, labeled, and packed with HACCP consideration. We arrive to the event minimum 2 hours early to set up.
The event is very similar to line service, and usually goes by quickly with a lot of ooohs and aawwwss from the client and their guests. After the last dish comes back, kitchen has been cleaned and all items packed up within 30 minutes. A quick thanks from the host and we are out the door.
Yacht Chef Catering
Now, lets take it up a notch. Client needs a 2 week catering on their 55m yacht. Who doesn’t want to tour the Bahamas or the French Riviera? These are amazing experiences but are extremely high intensity. Your Galley is usually very tight, your working and cleaning on your own, and provisioning can be difficult. This truly tests your creativity. Some owners give free range on what they want with few guideline. Others place requests each day. Steady hands for bucking seas and a quick explorer mentality when hitting the local markets is a must. You’ll be the first one awake to prep breakfast for the guests and for your crew and surprise twists of extra guests or parties happen often, but don’t worry, you are always prepared with quick canapes or extra entrees. This is why the most important aspect of these assignments is to know your client. If you are lucky enough to work with a good crew for great clients these assignments can be one of the most enjoyable memorable experiences.
These are just 2 examples of what you can do as a Chef for Hire. The only thing limiting you is your own desires and aspirations. I love my work and highly suggest anyone with an entrepreneurial mindset should become a Chef for Hire!
About Vanessa Bayma (www.chefbayma.com)
My passion for cooking was born under my Sicilian grandmother’s feet as a child and carried on throughout my professional career. Starting at age 13 at a mom-and-pop’s pizzeria, to working through college at a law firm and a catering company, I always found myself surrounded by the motivational and supportive mentors a young professional deserves.
I have gained numerous outstanding achievements in my Chef career, such as refereeing in the popular TV show “Kitchen Killadi” and Two Silver Medals at the Golden Torque ME, to name a few. I am board certified with the London City and Guilds and an active senior member of the Emirates Culinary Guild.