|Chefs Garrett Doherty and
Shane Robinson of Kraken Congee
In one of our first days in culinary class, each student was asked to introduce him/herself and state a goal for going to cooking school. Several peers stated that they wanted to open restaurants, cater, or become private chefs. The first two I understood, but the last one required a bit more preparation and understanding.
My exposure to private cheffing was limited mostly to my time trying to sell Pampered Chef
cookware (great stuff, not my line of work). I would show up at people’s homes, cook them meals, and boogie, hopefully with some cookware sold. It might seem obvious, but I’ll say it anyway: I didn’t have the experience to be a private chef.
Fortunately, my peers in school took a more educated and informed approach.
To be an effective personal or private chef, it could certainly be argued that an individual should have some professional cooking experience, whether that is line cooking or catering cooking.
First, it exposes a cook to different cooking methods and flavor combinations. Each restaurant has its own style of cooking and culture, and every kitchen I’ve worked in and for every chef I’ve worked for has taught me new tricks and tips. From Tom Douglas Restaurants
catering, I learned just how organized one must be when catering for big events. From Robin Leventhal
, I learned about how to draw out the intrinsic flavors of even the humble radish.
Second, it teaches good cooking techniques (if at a good restaurant) and methods. From Renata Bocayuva
, I learned to fearlessly take on a recipe and to trust my instincts with flavors and methods as the recipe develops. I also learned how to work cleanly and efficiently.
Finally, it provides a pedigree for the cook when striking out as an entrepreneur. Having had the opportunity to learn from different chefs and to be able to list their businesses on my resume has opened up jobs and given me an expertise in specific food categories. This coming year, I’ve been asked to share about clean label product development for a WSU Food Ingredient Technology
I don’t plan to strike out as a private chef anytime soon, but I’ve had some friends who have. I hope to get them on the new podcast soon!
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