What You Should Know Before Hiring A Personal Chef

Theodore Chana smiling at event
Theodore Chana smiling at event - Chef Theodore Chana/Instagram

Hiring personal and private chefs can be a luxurious comfort to ease hostessing duties and elevate dining experiences, as these professionals offer expertise when it comes to preparing beautiful meals. Whether you're planning a dinner party at home or celebrating at a rented venue, there are a few things to keep in mind as you set out to find the chef right for your event. While high-profile clients often use agents to hire chefs for them, the rest of us must do the grunt work of finding potential chefs online or through recommendations. Tasting Table spoke to Chef Theodore Chana, private chef and contestant on BBC's "MasterChef: The Professionals" and "The Great British Bake Off," for intel on which questions to ask before signing any dotted lines.

Chana recommends asking for sample menus and mentioning allergies and dietary preferences early on so that chefs can provide suitable suggestions. While some clients want to be closely involved with menu creation, others simply give guidelines. "I would say that 90% of my clients choose the menus that I create, and the others have a specific dish they want incorporated into the meal." If you do want to participate, ask the chef what is in season and any recipes recommended for the time of year your event is planned. Of course, let the chef know if you're celebrating a special occasion. "At the end of the day, I am creating a menu based on location, current food prices, and quality ingredients," Chana explained.

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Looking For A Track Record Of Success

plated dish served on granite
plated dish served on granite - Chef Theodore Chana/Instagram

When discussing fees, keep in mind that quotations aren't just about food, but include the time it takes to create and revise menus, source produce, make meals, and complete follow-up tasks like cleaning and sanitizing. "It's like you're an athlete and you have to be on the ball at all times, always ready," he explained, emphasizing the standard of excellence private chefs strive for. "You're being paid for a specialty service. You have to perform."

Knowing the number of guests you plan on hosting and having a budget in mind can help steer conversations in the right direction. The number of courses served, dietary restrictions that need to be accounted for, and the location can all impact price. Chana also notes that holidays and seasonal fluctuations can affect contracts, and an event's size will dictate the manpower needed to provide quality service.

It isn't unreasonable to ask for testimonials, Chana adds. "Look for reviews online and ask for an introductory phone call or Zoom meeting before you decide to hire," he suggests. Once you've settled on an agreement, a deposit is usually required to secure your date. Should you find yourself unhappy with either the service or food provided, communicate clearly with your hired chef. "The chef can try to fix the problem and will keep your feedback in mind for the future," he exclusively explained to Tasting Table. "From when I started my career to where I am now, there is no comparison."

Read the original article on Tasting Table.